Nutrition: Raw or roasted?

Crank up the oven—it’s roasting time.

Washington Athletic Club

With the popularity of foods like cold pressed juices, salads, and smoothie bowls, it’s easy to assume that vegetables in the raw are at their most nutritious. While levels of water-soluble vitamins like vitamin C and some B vitamins are lowered by heating, this is not always the case! For example, levels of heart-healthy lycopene (found in tomatoes) and the antioxidant carotenoid (found in carrots) increase when cooked.

Do you ever experience stomach discomfort after eating a kale salad or raw broccoli from the crudité platter? High-roughage veggies can be hard for some people to digest. Cooking breaks down tough fibers and makes it easier for your body to absorb the vegetable’s nutrients. What’s more, roasting veggies to crispy, caramelized perfection makes meeting your three cups per day recommendation a lot more palatable.

So, the bottom line is, feel free to switch it up! In addition to crisp fresh salads, add deliciously cooked veggies to your diet. The recipe below will help!


  • 2 cups crucifers (broccoli, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts)
  • 1 cups root vegetables (sweet potatoes, carrots, or beets)
  • 1 cup winter squash (butternut or acorn)
  • 1 cup onion
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


Heat the oven to 425°F.

Meanwhile, prep the vegetables: Peel the vegetables if desired, then cut into uniform pieces so they cook evenly.

Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl. Add the oil, salt, and pepper and toss to combine. Add more oil if the vegetables still look dry or don’t seem evenly coated. Spread the vegetables out on a rimmed baking sheet. Make sure they are in a single layer with a little space in between.

Cook for 15 minutes, stir, and cook for another 10–15 minutes or until see crispy, charred bits appear and the veggies are easily pierced with a fork.


—Updated March 2020; originally posted November 7, 2018

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