I have no idea what’s come over me, but I am suddenly obsessed with radishes. Honestly, until a couple months ago I thought radishes were kind of gross: too earthy, too “dirt”-flavored, too pungent. So how did I go from despising to fantasizing practically overnight? That mystery will surely remain unsolved, but let’s focus on the positive: I’ve just added a new vegetable to my repertoire and my culinary world has grown a touch bigger.
The cool thing about discovering a new kind of produce is that you’re usually not sure how to approach it, leaving your imagination open to new ideas and experimentation. Today when I went to the market to buy more radishes, I was looking at the extremely long daikons and imagined that with their unusual length and firm texture, they would actually make pretty great noodles. Turns out I was right. Putting my funky julienne slicer to work, I created “pasta” out of a root vegetable and ditched my plans for the buckwheat soba. For anyone trying to cut back on the grains in their diet, daikon radish is a true savior.
Radishes are a fabulous food for anyone looking to cleanse and detoxify. They are incredibly effective at breaking up phlegm in the body, especially those resulting from over-consumption of heavy animal products. Radishes contain a lot of water as well, so they are filling but very low in calories, making them ideal for people trying to control their weight.
In Chinese medicine radishes are used to promote digestion, break down mucous, soothe headaches and heal laryngitis. It is said that regular consumption will help prevent viral infections such as the common cold and influenza.
Radishes are a root vegetable. Most varieties grow very quickly and can be enjoyed in the spring and autumn months of the year. There are several types of radishes available at most grocery stores during their harvest seasons. Even the exotic-looking daikon (also known as the Japanese radish) is probably in the produce section, and one of those veggies you’ve always walked past because you had absolutely no idea what to do with it.
This salad is entirely simple, fresh, and raw. Three types of radish, some herbs, a basic dressing and some arame. I chose to add this sea vegetable in because of its incredible nutrient-density, beautiful colouring, and pleasant flavour. If you’re not sure about sea vegetables try this one out – arame is one of the most mild-tasting ocean edibles so it’s a good icebreaker.
Something you may not know about radishes is that you can eat the green tops. They do not store for very long, so eat them the day of purchasing or harvesting. Wash them as you would regular leaf lettuce, and shred them to add in salads. They have a pleasant bitterness that unsurprisingly tastes delicious with the root portion itself.
Triple Radish Noodle Salad
3 cups daikon radish “noodles” (or shredded daikon radishes)
10 mixed small radishes & their tops (I chose French Breakfast and Red Globe)
4 grams (.14 oz) arame
½ cup chives
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
¼ cup almonds (soaked overnight or lightly toasted)
1 Tbsp. brown rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. cold-pressed sesame oil
1 tsp. honey or agave
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. ginger powder
pinch of cayenne (if desired)
1. Cover the arame with water and let soak while you prepare the rest of the salad (15-20 minutes).
2. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a large bowl.
3. Peel the daikon radish. Using a mandolin slicer, a julienne slicer, a spiralizer, a grater, or your excellent knife skills, cut long thin strips of radish and add them to the bowl of dressing.
4. Wash and top the other radishes reserving the greens. Slice radishes as you desire. Add them to the bowl. Toss to coat.
5. Wash radish tops and herbs. Slice thinly and add to the bowl.
6. Chop soaked almonds, or lightly toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant. Add to the bowl. Serve immediately.
Sarah Britton is a holistic nutritionist, vegetarian chef, and the creator of the award-winning blog My New Roots. Sarah is currently a chef at three organic restaurants in Copenhagen, Denmark, where she has earned praise for her creative and adventurous recipes. A Certified Nutritional Practitioner, she is also the founder of New Roots Holistic Nutrition, where she educates others to be an active participant in their own health and healing.