A true winter’s delight, this roasted radish salad served up with earthy and nutty purple cauliflower sure is a salad everyone would enjoy. The perfect accompaniment to any main fare!
- Why You’ll Love this Roasted Radish Salad
- Why is Radish Bitter?
- How To Reduce the Bitterness in Radishes?
- Are Radish Leaves Edible?
- Recipe Overview
- Variations and Substitutions
- How to Make Balsamic Glaze Vinaigrette
- How to Assemble the Salad
- Great Mains for This Salad
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why You’ll Love this Roasted Radish Salad
One of the best things about winter is the availability of seasonal produce. Coloured cauliflower starts to appear in abundance, and what could be more gorgeous than vibrant purple cauliflower. Best of all, when roasted, the colours do stick, and you don’t lose any of the violet hues.
The next best thing we have come to love is roasted radish. Who would have thought that roasting radishes could alter them into such sweet vegetables? Even better is how easy they are to roast. There really is nothing to it.
Serve it up on a bed of watercress leaves and sprinkle some flutters of quinoa puffs for the perfect finish. This is a really great salad to serve up to suit a myriad of different main dishes.
Why is Radish Bitter?
Radishes belong to the mustard family, so they have the same bite and bitterness that you either love or hate. It has an enzyme that, when chewed, creates the peppery, nasal clearing tastes.
Growing conditions can alter the level of bitterness in a radish. The longer they grow, the more bitter they become, which means that the large red radishes are usually more bitter than the smaller versions.
Hot weather also contributes to the spiciness of the red radish. They develop an increasing pungency when it is too hot. Although it prefers cool weather, it does need a warm climate to grow, so it’s all about finding the right balance.
How To Reduce the Bitterness in Radishes?
The best way to reduce the spiciness and bitterness in red radishes is to soak them in an ice bath for about an hour in the fridge. While it won’t take it away completely, and to be honest, you don’t want to; it will certainly take the edge off.
Slicing, grating or scoring the red radish will make the process more successful as opposed to submerging them whole. The added bonus of soaking them is if the radishes are beginning to soften, the moisture will revive them a little.
The cooking process reduces the bitterness of the radish. Perhaps the compounds are broken down and are less potent. Therefore, you can blanch the radish in hot water for a couple of minutes, steam for about 5-10 minutes, or roast them in the oven.
Radish’s 2 best friends are sugar and acid. Adding the correct pairings can help reduce or mask the bitterness of the radish if eaten raw in a salad. Nothing like a dollop of honey or a squeeze of some lemon to make the radish palatable.
Are Radish Leaves Edible?
Yes absolutely! Red radish leaves shouldn’t be discarded as you can eat them raw or cooked.
As red radishes are root vegetables, the leaves tend to quite dirty so before eating, be sure to give them a good wash.
The red radish leaves can then be sliced thinly and tossed through as the greens in a salad or it can even be sautéed like any other green leafy vegetable. A little vegetable oil and garlic will do.
Flavour/Texture: This roasted radish salad is a wonderful wintery roasted vegetable recipe that isn’t too heavy and stodgy like potatoes or pumpkins. The radishes are reduced to a lovely softness while the florets also lose their hard crunch.
The watercress lightens the salad while the puffed quinoa adds softness.
The cauliflower and radish offer earthy, nutty sweetness; the watercress is a little peppery, while the simple vinaigrette gives the salad the much-needed tartness.
Ease: The prep is super easy as all you’re doing is cutting up some florets and radishes and mixing some salad dressing. Chuck vegetables in the oven and assemble. Nothing to it!
Time: This recipe takes 40 minutes and 30 minutes is oven time. While the radish takes the longest, you can do a lot of the other prep while it’s in there to save on some time.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this roasted radish salad:
Red radishes: Get nice large, vibrant red radishes for this recipe. If you can only find smaller ones, get more and don’t cut them into quarters as they would be too small. You can even roast them whole if you wish.
Olive oil: You will need olive oil to coat the vegetables and make the salad dressing. You can use your normal olive oil for cooking, coating and a good one for dressing.
Purple cauliflower: Just a small cauliflower will suffice as a side dish unless you know for a fact it will be devoured! During the winter months, even our local supermarket stocks them, so there is no need to go scouring for them in obscure places.
Be sure to also try our Purple Cauliflower Salad with Lemon Mustard Tahini.
Watercress: Watercress don’t last very long, so, if possible, get them the day before or, even better, on the day, so the leaves are nice and fresh. Wilted watercress is hard to revive, and it won’t be so good for this salad or for or Watercress Salad with Apple and Pear.
Puffed quinoa: They last a long time, so don’t feel like they go to waste if you had to buy a packet and only need a tbsp. They are fantastic for adding to all sorts of salads as they don’t have an obtrusive flavour, and they give off these lovely delicate pops of crunch when you eat them.
Variations and Substitutions
No purple cauliflower: If purple cauliflower is not in season, a typical head of cauliflower will, of course, be ok to use in this recipe. Should orange cauliflower also be in season, feel free to use that instead.
Different types of radishes: You can use any coloured radishes or even a rainbow of red, white and purple to mix it up a bit. If you can find French breakfast radishes, they would look great too.
Watercress substitute: Some great watercress alternatives include rocket leaves or arugula, spinach leaves or nasturtium leaves.
Puffed quinoa alternative: If you don’t wish to use puffed quinoa, you can substitute it with puffed rice or any other puffed grain. What you’re after is some light pops of crunch but a delicate one at that.
Additional ideas: You can add some additional crunch by adding some pine nuts or if you wish to increase the pungency, garlic roasted through the red radish would also be amazing. Oh, and roasted radishes are fantastic in potato salads.
Step by step instructions for how to make roasted radish salad:
Preheat the oven at 200°C or 400°F.
Prepare 2 sheet pans or baking dishes lined with parchment paper.
Cut 4 of the smallest radishes into half and the other 4 into quarters. Coat with ½ tbsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on one of the baking dishes and put into the oven for 30 minutes.
Cut the purple cauliflower into florets. Coat with 1 tbsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on the other baking dish and put into the oven 15 minutes after the radish.
Remove both at the 30-minute mark.
How to Make Balsamic Glaze Vinaigrette
In a small mixing bowl, add the rest of the olive oil, apple cider vinegar and balsamic vinegar.
Mix until well combined.
How to Assemble the Salad
In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the watercress, dressing and salt and pepper to taste. Toss until well combined.
On a serving platter or the sheet pan you were roasting in, place the watercress as the base. Then, add the roasted purple cauliflower and roasted radishes on top.
Sprinkle puffed quinoa on top.
Great Mains for This Salad
There are so many different mains that would go well with this roasted radish salad. Try this Easy air fryer whole chicken recipe while you’re roasting the vegetables or perhaps some roasted pork tenderloin for a nice warm meal.
For a vegan feast, you can’t go past these hearty, meaty vegan meatballs that are bursting with Italian-style flavours! Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
The best place to find puffed quinoa is in health food stores or bulk wholefood shops. Puffed quinoa is usually organic, so you’ll have no trouble finding it there. Depending on where you live, you may be one of the lucky few who will be able to source them from your local supermarket.
Puffing quinoa is like making popcorn at home. Put some coconut oil or vegetable oil of your choice into a heavy Dutch oven or a cast iron deep dish. Once it has melted, add the quinoa to the pan and put the lid on. Pick up the pan with the lid on and move the quinoa about, and in about 10-15 minutes, the popping will start!
In some locations around the world, purple cauliflower is a staple and can be found all year round. They are, however, more prevalent in winter as the anthocyanin pigments that make them purple do well in the cold at night and are further enhanced by the sun during the day.
The only thing you’ll be able to do in advance is prep. Cut all the vegetables, make the dressing and pick the leaves off the stem of the watercress.
You’ll have to roast the vegetables closer to eating time and then assemble. If, however, you don’t mind cold roasted radishes and purple cauliflower, by all means, make them ahead of time.
What a glorious winter salad to add to the comfort food menu. They have such lovely colours and not at all a heavy salad as you may think.
Wrap it up in the peppery leaves of the watercress and make sure to mop up the balsamic dressing for a well-rounded mouthful. Definitely one of the best radish recipes around.
More Vegan Salad Recipes
Roasted Radish Salad with Cauliflower
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- Preheat the oven at 200°C or 400°F.
- Prepare 2 sheet pans or baking dishes lined with parchment paper.
- Cut 4 of the smallest radishes into half and the other 4 into quarters. Coat with ½ tbsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on one of the baking dishes and put into the oven for 30 minutes.
- Cut the purple cauliflower into florets. Coat with 1 tbsp of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on the other baking dish and put into the oven 15 minutes after the radish.
- Remove both at the 30-minute mark.
- In a small mixing bowl, add the rest of the olive oil, apple cider vinegar and balsamic vinegar.
- Mix until well combined.
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the watercress, dressing and salt and pepper to taste. Toss until well combined.
- On a serving platter or the sheet pan you were roasting in, place the watercress as the base. Add the roasted purple cauliflower and roasted radishes on top.
- Sprinkle puffed quinoa on top.
- If purple cauliflower is not in season, a typical head of cauliflower will, of course, be ok to use in this recipe. Should orange cauliflower also be in season, feel free to use that instead.
- You can use any coloured radishes or even a rainbow of red, white and purple to mix it up a bit. If you can find French breakfast radishes, they would look great too.
- Some great watercress alternatives include rocket leaves or arugula, spinach leaves or nasturtium leaves.
- If you don’t wish to use puffed quinoa, you can substitute it with puffed rice or any other puffed grain. What you’re after is some light pops of crunch but a delicate one at that.
*Disclaimer: Nutritional information provided is an estimate only and generated by an online calculator.
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