The first time I had a radish was an accident.
I was in my grandparents kitchen in Teaneck, New Jersey. I was young. Maybe 3 or 4 years old. I think I was alone, but I don’t remember. In fact, I don’t really remember this story myself, but it’s been told to me many times by my parents. Anyway, I saw what I thought was a pink apple on the table. I grabbed it, took a bite, and was severely disappointed.
Radishes are a bit of an acquired taste. They’re bitter and spicy and perfect for the transition from summer into autumn. Enough crunch and pizzazz to keep your attention in a sea of earthy, sweet, autumn squashes. In fact, I prefer to eat them in a mix of cooked and raw foods, as in this recipe. The radishes help keep the meal light, but still warming. Good for digestion while also mirroring the seasonal shift: warm, sunny days with a little bit of bite.
This recipe was inspired by several weeks of gorgeous, colorful, enormous radishes showing up in my CSA along with mountains of greens and herbs. You could make this without the herbs, but I think they add a little something special to the meal and help to balance some of the bitter of the radishes.
Any radishes will do, but if you can find some watermelon radishes, get them. They are delicious and gorgeous. Appearances count!
Watermelon Radish Quinoa Salad
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup water
1 medium/large watermelon radish, sliced and quartered thinly
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 spring onions, chopped
1 small zucchini, quartered
2 cups broccoli, floreted
a few big handfuls of kale, torn into bite-size pieces
salt/pepper to taste
a handful or 2 of pistachios
1 cup fresh herbs: mint, parsley, cilantro, and/or basil, chopped finely
Cook your quinoa until nice and fluffy. When done, set aside to cool, uncovered.
In the meantime, heat coconut oil in a medium saucepan. Add in the zucchini and spring onions. When the zucchini is beginning to soften (around 3-5 minutes), add in the broccoli and a little salt. When the broccoli is bright green and still firm, add in the kale. Cook until kale is slightly wilted. Add more salt if need be. Remove from heat to cool when done.
Separate quinoa and herbs into two bowls. Mix well before adding in the tomatoes, radishes, and pistachios. Mix some more before adding in the greens.