I come from a radish-loving family. My mother would eat them raw, slice them for sandwiches and add them to salads similar to this gorgeous Taste of Scandinavia Salad. She would buy the only kind available to us, red radishes. When I moved to Honolulu, I discovered that not all radishes are red and round and learned to love carrot-shaped creamy white (or black) Asian daikon radishes. I ate them grated with tempura, pickled in a bento box, sautéed with greens in toasted sesame oil, and mixed with red radishes like in this Tangy Wasabi Coleslaw.
Radishes range in flavor from mild to peppery and pungent. Although in the US most people are only familiar with the red variety, radishes can also be pink, white, purple or black. Some are small and round and others, like the daikon are long and cylindrical. Whatever your preference, radishes are an excellent crunchy accompaniment to many dishes, but that’s just the start. They are absolutely delicious when cooked or pickled too.
If you like radishes but haven’t explored their full potential, these suggestions are a good place to start. I’ve included ideas and recipes that use both raw radishes like this Hazelnut Pear Salad with Radishes and this Red Leaf Salad with Plums and Roasted Green Onion Dressing, as well as cooked radishes like this Pan-Seared Radishes with Miso Sauce, one of my personal favorites. The saltiness of the miso really complements the earthy flavor of the radish. Keep in mind that cooking takes the bite out of the radish, creating a slightly mellow flavor.
Sauté with greens like Swiss chard, collards, kale or spinach in toasted sesame oil. Add salt and pepper or tamari, ginger and garlic. Top with toasted sesame seeds.
Roast in a hot oven with olive oil or butter and your favorite seasonings, or make this outstanding Roasted Radishes with Lemony Herb Butter recipe.
Make salsa or relish from radishes and other fruits, veggies and herbs like green onions or chives, pineapple or grapefruit, jalapeno peppers, lime juice, etc. Serve with fish or grilled meats like in this Halibut with Radish Relish recipe.
Use them as dippers for hummus or bean dip.
Add chopped radishes to cottage cheese with chopped fresh herbs, steamed asparagus tips, chopped tomatoes and a dash of extra virgin olive oil.
Peanutty Udon Noodle and Tofu Salad combines peanut butter with garlic, tamari, honey and rice vinegar for a really flavorful meal.
Make a radish sandwich with avocado, hummus, sliced radishes and baby greens. Or try a radish and cream cheese sandwich.
Chop and add to tabouli or any whole grain salad like this Bulgur with Radishes, Spinach and Pine Nuts. Chopped radishes are also great with cooked legumes.
Add to tuna, egg, pasta or chicken salad.
Sugar Snap Peas with Radishes combines the sweetness of the peas with the crisp, spicy flavor of the radishes. Serve it with lamb, fish or ham.
Chop and add to salsa recipes as a topper for grilled meats, fish, tofu or tempeh.
Grate and add a drop of tamari soy sauce, a splash of rice vinegar, and a dash of toasted sesame oil. (Or take a shortcut and simply toss with a favorite vinaigrette dressing.) Then serve as a side dish.
In case you’re wondering, horseradish is a member of the mustard family and a cousin to the common radish, but it’s really not the same thing. It’s a woody, knobby root that is often grated and mixed with vinegar and other ingredients, then eaten as a condiment.
What’s your favorite way to eat radishes? I’d love to know.