Let’s talk radishes! I love these wonderful root vegetables. While they come in all different shapes and colors, this time of year I’m particularly fond of the red radishes that are showing up in CSA shares, farmers markets, and grocery stores.
Now I realize not everyone loves radishes as much as I do, but there are lots of reasons to give them another try! Here are just a few:
- Low in calories, high in nutrients: With less than 20 calories in a cup, radishes pack a powerful punch and are a fantastic way to add nutrients, fiber, and flavor to your meals.
- A natural digestive aid: Eastern and Ayurvedic healing practices believe radishes have powerful cleansing effects that reduce toxins and improve digestion.
- Protective benefits from diseases such as cancer: As a member of the cruciferous vegetable family (along with broccoli and cabbage), radishes are packed with fiber, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals that help protect us by reducing cancer-causing free-radicals in your body.
- Keep you hydrated and cool: Packed with water, phosphorus, zinc, and lots of vitamin C radishes can help keep your body well hydrated. Eastern cultures also believe their pungent flavor makes radishes a naturally cooling food that helps reduce body heat during the hot summer months!
But if you’re not a fan of eating plain, raw radishes, I’ve got the perfect summer radish salad for you. Now while I can’t guarantee your kids are going to get excited about this dish, when I served it to my mom and ex-wife last summer (both reluctant radish eaters) they both became immediate converts. So pick up a couple bunches of this oft-maligned veggie and give them a try. You may just fall in love with a new vegetable!
- 4 cups radishes, thinly sliced (about 4 dozen radishes)
- ½ pound feta cheese, crumbled or cut into small cubes
- ½ cup black olives, sliced
- 1 cup green onions, chopped (use both the white and green parts)
- ¼ cup white wine vinaigrette or your favorite homemade oil and vinegar dressing
- mint and / or cilantro
- Combine radishes, feta, olives, and scallions.
- Stir in vinaigrette and let marinate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
This salad is REALLY flexible. If you don't like black olives, feel free to substitute some artichoke hearts, or some other vegetable you enjoy. Not a fan of feta, try goat cheese or another cheese you like and have on hand!
Kitchen Tips and Resources:
- A high quality set of cutting knives can make a huge difference, especially when you’re cooking REAL food. My local knife shop advised me to invest in the higher quality Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature brand (much higher quality than the J.A. Henckels International brand) and time has proven them right. (To make sure you know which Henckels knives are better, here’s a tip — look for the “twins” on the knives vs. the single guy sporting the trident.) While you can buy these knives online, if you’ve got a local knife/cutlery store, support them instead. I love my local cutlery store and bring my knives in every six months or so to get them maintained with a nice, sharp edge!
- A great, non-slip cutting board is an invaluable kitchen asset when cutting up the vegetables. I upgraded to these Epicurean non-slip boards last summer, and I’ve been really pleased with them.
- A set of stacking serving bowls is a must for any kitchen and perfect for serving all different kinds of salads. I purchased a great set from Crate & Barrel several years ago. Although they don’t sell them any longer, they’ve got some great options here!