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a guide to what to do with radishes; healthy budget-friendly gem of a vegetable - image showing hundreds of french radishes

What to Do with Radishes

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Elevate Your Cooking on a Budget: What to Do with Radishes

Vibrant and crisp root vegetables – radishes often get overlooked in the grocery store and our kitchens. But these gems are not solely for topping salad! I think radishes have quite a few uses and I love having them on hand when they are in season.

What’s Up with Radishes?

Radishes are members of the Brassicaceae family, which includes cabbage and broccoli. They come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, from small round red spheres to long white daikon radishes. Radishes range from mildly sweet to peppery and spicy.

Seasonality of Radishes

Radishes thrive in cooler weather, making them a spring and fall crop in many regions. Depending on your climate, you can plant radishes as early as late winter or as late as early fall.

Types of Radishes

  1. Red: Crisp and peppery, perfect for salads and garnishes.
  2. French Breakfast: Mild with a hint of sweetness, great for snacking and appetizers.
  3. Watermelon: Vibrant pink center, ideal for adding color and crunch to salads.
  4. Daikon: Mild and versatile, suitable for pickling, stir-frying, and soups.
  5. Black Spanish: Bold and spicy, perfect for roasting or grilling as a side dish.
  6. Easter Egg: Colorful mix, adds visual appeal to salads and crudité platters.
  7. White Icicle: Mild and crunchy, great for slicing into salads or pickling.

Growing Radishes – Budget Friendly, Easy Crop

Growing radishes is incredibly easy and rewarding, making them perfect for beginner gardeners. My daughters help me plant them at the end of winter. Sow the seeds directly into well-drained soil, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Keep the soil consistently moist, and within a few weeks, you’ll be rewarded with crisp, flavorful crunchy gems ready for harvest. The seeds sprout within 2-3 days and take 3-4 weeks to mature. They can be planted in pots as they take up minimal space. Best of all, if you take 5 minutes a week for a few weeks to plant a few seeds at a time, you’ll have a great supply for months to come.

Nutritional Benefits

Despite their small size, radishes pack a nutritional punch. They are low in calories but high in fiber, vitamins C and K, and antioxidants. They also contain compounds that may help support digestion and promote heart health.

Incorporating Radishes into Meals

Radishes keep for a long time in the refrigerator. To keep them fresh remove their tops (use the tops in the below aioli). You’ll be surprised at how often you reach for a radish once you know where to use them!

Salads, Grain Bowls, and Soups

  • Salad: Add thinly sliced to salads for a pop of color and peppery flavor.
  • Grain Bowl Addition: Add thinly sliced, bite-sized pieces to grain bowls for an extra texture and fresh flavor. Watermelon radishes are a beautiful addition to grain bowls—especially the ones with vibrant green spring vegetables.
  • Radish Soup: Simmer with onions, garlic, broth, and herbs, then blend until smooth for a creamy and comforting soup.

Sides & Toppers

  1. Roasted: Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roast until tender and caramelized for a delicious side dish.
  2. Stir-fried Daikon: Julienne daikon and stir-fry with garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil for a flavorful side dish.
  3. Grilled: Quarter or slice and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then grill until lightly charred for a smoky and savory side dish.
  4. Slaw: Shred radishes and cabbage, then toss with a tangy vinaigrette for a crunchy and colorful slaw.
  5. Spring Omelette: Saute asparagus and mushrooms and make an omelet with goat cheese; top with fresh radish slices.
  6. Pickled: Use quick pickled radishes for an easy and tangy topping for tacos, tostadas, nachos, and sandwiches.
  7. Radish Herb Butter: Mix finely chopped or shredded radishes into softened butter with fresh herbs for a flavorful spread. Radish herb butter adds a burst of flavor to various dishes. Spread it on bread, use it to top grilled meats or vegetables, toss it with pasta, or melt it over roasted potatoes for a delicious twist.

Snacks & Dips

  • Raw: Enjoy sliced, halved, or quartered with a sprinkle of salt as a refreshing and crunchy snack. Or add to any crudites platter. Dips like hummus, ranch, or even olive oil pair well.
  • Buttered Toast: A classic pairing — slather a piece of sourdough bread with butter and then top with radishes and sea salt. Elegant, simple, and a great budget-friendly appetizer.
  • Avocado Toast: Top whole-grain toast with mashed avocado, sliced radishes, and a sprinkle of sea salt for a satisfying breakfast or snack.
  • Dip: Blend roasted radishes with Greek yogurt, garlic, and herbs for a flavorful dip.
  • Radish Top Aioli: Blend roasted garlic and radish tops with an egg yolk and drizzle in a neutral oil until you have a mayonnaise-type consistency. Serve this on sandwiches or as a dip.
  • Salsa: Combine diced radishes with tomatoes, onions, Mexican oregano, lime juice, and jalapenos for a fresh and zesty salsa.
  • Spring Rolls: Fill rice paper wrappers with sliced radishes, cucumber, carrots, and herbs, then roll tightly for a refreshing and crunchy appetizer or light meal. Serve with a dipping sauce for extra flavor.

Radishes – A Useful Ingredient to Keep on Hand

Whether you’re adding them to salads, pickling them for a tangy kick, or roasting them for a caramelized sweetness, radishes are sure to add depth and dimension to your meals. So next time you’re at the market, grab a bunch and get creative in the kitchen!

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