Header image: CHOW
Radishes are a thing of beauty, for sure. With their vivid pink hue and chubby, squat dimensions, they’re quite a joy to look at, and rather photogenic, too—my social media feeds currently seem to be clogged with radish glory shots, in all their rustic, dirt-flecked splendor. You’d think they might have overtaken kale as the vegetable de rigeur.
But as much as we love to coo over their looks, radishes tend to be one of those more obscure items when it comes to actually enjoying them on the plate. It seems that they’re mostly thought of as a salad or taco add-on, and a dispensable one at that.
Yes, radishes do make a nice, crunchy addition to salads and so on, but they can also sing with sweetness in the sauté pan or pickle up into something tart and refreshing. So stop staring at those cute little baubles and put them to good use. You might actually discover that there’s more to radishes than just their looks.
1. Radish and Wax Bean Salad with Crème Fraîche Dressing
Chunky yet funky, this seasonal combination packs in coarsely chopped radishes and beans while topping it all off with the cultured tang of crème fraîche and the herbal aroma of tarragon. Get our Radish and Wax Bean Salad with Crème Fraîche Dressing recipe.
2. Shaved Celery, Celery Root, and Radish Salad
It may look gentle, but this combo has a fierce twist to it. The spiciness of the radishes, along with the bold flavors of anchovy, caper, and parmesan, prove that light salads can pack a punch. Get our Shaved Celery, Celery Root, and Radish Salad recipe.
3. Radish and Butter Sandwich
The French were on to something with this one: this pairing pits the bite of the radishes against the smooth and creamy richness of salted butter, proving that some of the chicest pleasures are also the simplest. Get the recipe here.
4. Bread-and-Butter Radishes
Thinly sliced radishes also make for a fine pickle, swapping out their natural spiciness for a bit of sweet and sour succulence. These delicate pink rounds can easily slip into a burger, sandwich, or salad. Get our Bread-and-Butter Radishes recipe.
5. Pickled Radish and Sweet Butter Tea Sandwiches
Don’t call them dainty: these tea sandwiches may make for elegant finger food, but on the inside they have plenty of crunch and tangy panache. Watercress and pickled radishes make for a brisk combination here that belies their crustless, white bread covering. Get our Picked Radish and Sweet Butter Tea Sandwiches recipe.
6. Spring Fattoush Salad
Fattoush is the Levant’s way of turning leftovers into gold. It calls for tossing chunks of day old bread (in this case, chickpea flatbread) with sumac, mixed greens, and vegetables, which then soak in the sour flavors of the dressing. Radishes are an essential addition to this mix, adding to its textural charms. Get the recipe here.
7. Radish Raita
Raita isn’t just for the cucumbers. Radishes can add their earthy flair to the cooling Indian condiment, too, mingling here with herbs and lime in a creamy yogurt base. Get the recipe here.
8. Spring Carrot, Radish and Quinoa Salad with Herbed Avocado
A protein-packing grain like quinoa can turn a spring salad into a main. This one has everything you need for for a healthy and light lunch or supper. Get the recipe here.
9. Beet, Squash, and Radish Moroccan Stew
Radishes are more than just salad fare, and stews like this one turn any preconceived radish notions on their head. When fully cooked, radishes show their sweetest and most sultry colors, just like their other root vegetable brethren. Get our Beet, Squash, and Radish Moroccan Stew recipe.
10. Roasted Radish and Herbed Ricotta Omelet
Sunday mornings were made for dishes like these. Here, radishes are roasted until just barely tender, before being tucked into a fluffy, ricotta-filled omelette. Get the recipe here.
11. Pan-Seared Radishes with Miso Butter
For ultimate proof that radishes can get hot and feisty, look no further than this recipe that sears them until golden brown, then coats them in a glaze of rich miso butter. As an added bonus, this recipe also calls for sauteing their leafy tops, giving you a dose of green along with your roots. Get our Pan-Seared Radishes with Miso Butter recipe.
Miki Kawasaki is a New York City–based food writer and graduate of Boston University's program in Gastronomy. Few things excite her more than a well-crafted sandwich or expertly spiced curry. If you ever run into her at a dinner party, make sure to hit her up for a few pieces of oddball culinary trivia.