Raw versus cooked green leafy vegetables

Hello, first thank you for the dedication and information you have taken time to share with all of us strangers :)

I am confused that on the Vegan Food Pyramid page the suggestion for dark leafy green kale is cooked 1 cup, but raw 2 cups. I was raised to believe all raw food was greater in nutrients than any cooked comparison, so why then is it suggested you eat more of the raw for the nutritional value we need and less cooked? It seems backwards to me.

Please answer asap this is driving me bonkers!

Much thanks, Many blessings,
Patti M. :)

*****

Sassy Sez: Hi Patti! Great name! :)

Cooked kale with tahini sauceWhile some vegetables might be more nutritious raw, other vegetables do better with cooking to help break down the tough fibers to ease the load on your digestion and make the nutrients more bio-available. Dark green leafies fall into this category.

That's why eating 2 cups of raw dark green leafies like kale, Swiss chard, mustard/collard greens, etc. would be equivalent to eating 1 cup cooked because as they cook the greens wilt and you are left with the same amount of veggies, but they are easier to eat and digest, and the nutrients are more available.

It can be difficult to know which veggies are better eaten raw and which are better and more nutritious when cooked. Honestly, I just follow my instinct. Have you ever tried to eat kale in its raw state? Or broccoli? While you certainly CAN, and some people do and enjoy them in this manner, I find them to be bitter, dry, and just plain yucky. NOT appetizing in any way, shape, or form, so I cook them.

Now, this doesn't mean you have to cook the living daylights out of them. Through trial and error you will find the amount of cook time that is best for your taste buds because, frankly, if you don't like the taste you won't eat them!

I prefer to cook my greens using the pan steaming method, which means I place a small amount of veggie broth (1/8 - 1/4 cup or so) in a large pan, add chopped greens, and cover with a lid. Check in 5 minutes, and again 5 minutes later until desired tenderness is reached. Feel free to add more veggie broth as needed. Then remove from the pan with tongs, plate, and flavor your greens.

Hope this helps, and I'm here with any questions you might have. xo

Comments for Raw versus cooked green leafy vegetables

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kale in smoothies
by: Janna

I have found that kale is the one thing I simply cannot eat in salad form, even with the best dressing and other ingredients. It's just too tough. But it works well in a green smoothie, and that's a great way to eat it raw but make it actually digestible.

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Perfect!
by: Sassy

Thanks, Janna. I concur -- smoothies are a good way to get some greens inside of you! :)
xo

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Raw kale
by: Anonymous

Hi all
I actually enjoy raw kale in salad with a cashew creme sauce or a tiny bit warm with grain tossed in, glazed walnuts, some tiny bits warmed beets and balsamic vinagrette.
Definately have to be in the mood for it though. Usually use kale in smoothies and steam with "no chicken" chicken broth.
Love swiss chard and make tofu, rice and veggie roll ups with it. The rainbow looks prettiest for this!

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raw kale
by: Monique

Raw kale salad is delicious with an avocado dressing....mash an avocado,add the juice of a lemon and a bit of olive oil and sea salt.
Mix kale and plenty of thin slices of onion in a big bowl and massage the avocado dressing into the kale and onions...let it rest for a while and enjoy! will keep in the refrigerator for a few days....

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raw broccoli
by: Janna

While I can't stand raw kale because it's too tough and hard to chew and unappetizing, I absolutely LOVE raw broccoli. I like to buy a big bag of broccoli florets and snack on them all day...alone or with peanut butter or hummus is fantastic. A nice break from baby carrots.

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Yucky kale?
by: Jennie

If your kale is bitter and yucky, it's probably not fresh. Try growing your own - if you pick the small inner leaves and eat it right away, it is tender and sweet. And worth growing your own. If you google "massaged Kale salad" you'll find a great recipe. If you use small fresh leaves you don't even have to massage it - just chop & add other ingredients.

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wilting kale
by: Cheryl

If you let raw kale rest, or wilt, in vinegar dressing, its become far less tough. I wonder, does this also help break down the nutrients and aid in digestion?

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Another reason 2 vs 1
by: Anonymous

Another thing to consider as to why 2 cups raw vs 1 cup cooked is that like any leafy vegetable. Once cooked the volume shrinks incredibly.. particularly true of spinach, curly kale etc. Go ahead try it yourself if you haven't already noticed but hasn't everyone had a huge pot with spinach shrink down to nearly nothing. Well you started with a BUNCH and its still there just without all the air in between ;-)
:-David

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Kale
by: Anonymous

Does one cup raw lake, after cooked, still, for example, provide 90 mg of calcium?

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Raw kale!
by: Anonymous

Should read raw kale.

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Raw vs cooked
by: Jose

Well, my suggestion is: one problem to absorb nutrients we have is, Not chewing properly because bad habits, so for that I recomend any Nutribullet, magicbullet, ninja blender perhaps?,
For flavor you can have raw cocoa+banana. Or strawberry+banana, or a kiwi if you want it green....lets just say you blend it with fruit and nuts that you like , it doesn't take the same time for cooking. I am prediabetic and don't wanna eat sugars or too much fruit, but if you wanna eat your greens, try smoothies, combine berries and nuts to them, you can use vanella stract, cinnamon podwer, or any fruit, besides steamd where you can add hard cheese such parmesan or any low cal cheese on it. Try my suggestion! Enjoy .

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raw kale is good!
by: Steve

I enjoy raw kale in my salads with plenty of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Especially if you let it sit for a short while so the kale softens.

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swiss chard
by: Ms. Veggie ;)

I don't mind kale raw but its Swiss chard I've tried several times small bites and I can't stand it. Swiss chard makes my teeth feel on edge and my tongue disgusted. I can usually eat just about anything but can't seem to figure out how to enjoy Swiss chard. Any ideas on eating and enjoying?
Can a person eat too much dark raw greens? What is a good amount for the day?

Thank you !
Ms. Veggie

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