Did you know that radish greens are not only edible, but they are also delicious and are strikingly more nutritious than the radish roots? The greens have significantly higher amounts of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A precursors, iron, and calcium as well as a robust antioxidant profile from flavonoids.
Don't worry - I used to toss the radish greens, too, before I knew better. I try to eat as large of a variety of plants as possible, and am always trying to reduce food waste, so now I happily cook them alongside the roots. Plus, they're so tasty!
I've shared on my Instagram stories (do you watch them??!) quite a bit this spring about cooking radishes with the greens and have gotten a lot of comments from people who never knew you could cook them or that they would even taste good.
I also shared the above photo of a recent farmer's market haul from my favorite Cooper Young Community Farmer's Market (which is year round and where you often find me as a vendor!) and I was flooded with messages from people in disbelief that my husband and I eat this many greens in a week.
The truth is that it is actually a light load for us, and really only shows about 20 servings of greens, so 10 meals for the two of us.
So then I asked: do you guys need more recipes using greens and other non-starchy vegetables? And 99% of my Instagram said YES.
Alrighty then, message received loud and clear!
More Paleo Vegetable Recipes
I haven't shared a ton of recipes like this because I think they are too simple and not worthy of publishing. Oh how WRONG I was based on feedback from you! Here are more vegetable recipes you might like to try, some have hidden veggies (scroll through left and right):
Radish Nutrition (Roots and Greens/Leaves)
First, let's define how much you get when you buy a typical bunch of radishes from a farmer's market or the grocery store. There are typically about 8-10 radishes per bunch, which yields approximately 2 cups of chopped greens weighing around 100 grams and 2 cups of sliced radishes weighing anywhere from 200-250 grams.
The photo above shows how plentiful the greens typically are when you buy radishes from a farmer's market - just look at them!
Now, read this abstract quoted below to understand why you should be eating radish greens - they are extremely nutritious!
Lemme just emphasize this: "The nutritional value of radish leaves far exceeded the corresponding value for roots."
For reference, the adult RDA for calcium is 1000mg and vitamin C is 75 mg.
ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity and is an in vitro lab test that quantifies the antioxidant activity of foods.
Flavonoids like quercetin are a type of polyphenol with many purported health benefits. Animal models have shown them to be antiinflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-cancer, antithrombogenic (prevent blood clots), and neuroprotective (protect the brain!). There is also evidence from human clinical trials that they are very good for cardiovascular health and blood sugar regulation.
Radishes are a type of Brassica, aka cruciferous vegetable just like mustards, cabbages, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, turnips, etc., vegetables all prized for their nutritional value as well as various bioactive compounds and phytochemicals. Just think about the leafy brassicas like cabbage and kale and it'll be less surprising that radish greens are very nutritious.
And just as a side note....I hope you are also eating your turnip greens ;-)
Cooking Radish Greens With The Roots
Radish greens have some of the same peppery, spicy notes as the roots and taste wonderful when consumed along with the roots. They are quite perishable and are best eaten within 1 to 2 days of purchase, whereas the roots can stay good for up to a week or more in my experience. You can also serve the radish roots separately if you like - they only need a minute or two over medium heat in a little fat to wilt down.
When I buy radish bunches from the farmer's market, I know that I'll be cooking them when I get home for my "breakfast", which I eat some time after 12pm most days due to intermittent fasting.
It's fine to eat radishes raw, but as I have discussed recently with my Instagram, raw vegetables can be very hard on the digestion and according to Chinese medicine cold, raw foods are pretty much the LAST thing I personally should be eating.
One of my root diagnoses is Spleen Qi deficiency which makes cold, raw foods a big no-no for me. I also tend to push my Spleen too hard with overthinking, worry, and using my brain way too much for intellectual pursuits. Read more about Spleen Qi and why salads aren't health foods in TCM here.
I just love how radishes with the greens are a complete little package you can cook together. Just sautee the roots first, then add the greens in briefly to wilt them. It stretches the side further since the greens basically double the amount of food.
I also think they are fairly easily "hidden" among the radishes themselves. It's certainly a very different eating experience vs. eating a side of JUST cooked greens. That the greens are intermingled with the roots can sometimes make it easy to forget they are there.
Radishes are also SO easy to grow at home. They only take 21 days and you can use the square foot gardening method to grow 16 in each sq-ft you have available.
Then you can sacrifice one plant by allowing it to bolt and flower, then wait for it to go to seed, and then save those seeds and you'll grow more radishes in the next growing season!
Top 5 Reasons To Eat Radish Greens
1. It's economical. Stretch your food dollars further! The greens from one bunch of radishes will equal about 2 cups chopped greens and double the amount of food you get from a bunch of radishes compared to eating the roots alone.
2. They're nutritious! As mentioned above, "the nutritional value of radish leaves far exceeded the corresponding value for roots" as they contain significantly more vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A precursors, iron, and calcium as compared to the roots. They also have 4x the antioxidant flavonoids!
3. They're tasty. The greens have a wonderful distinct flavor that is peppery just like the roots.
4. They're kind of easy to hide. When cooked according to the recipe below, they kinda "disappear" among the sliced radishes. Great for picky eaters!
5. It's respectful. Food waste is a serious problem in the modern wold, and eating all the plant and animal parts that we can shows respect for the life that is nourishing you, for the work the farmer put in to grow it, and for the planet by reducing waste.
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How To Cook Radish Greens (Paleo, Vegan, AIP, Keto)
Did you know that a) radishes taste amazing cooked and b) that you can eat the greens? Stretch your food dollars further by eating the whole plant. You'll enjoy a significant nutrition boost from eating the greens, too, as their nutritional value far exceeds that of the roots!
- 1 bunch of radishes with greens (about 8 to 10 radishes with greens)
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, ghee, or butter (my fave my fave EVOO)
- heaping 1/4 tsp of dried thyme or rosemary
- 1 tsp minced/pressed garlic (from about 2 big cloves)
- 1/2 tsp unrefined salt (my favorite)
- 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- Separate each radish root from it's greens and make 2 piles. Wash the roots well under running water, scrubbing to remove any soil. Fill a bowl with water and dip the greens to clean.
- Remove the root tip from each radish and discard (composting is great!) Slice each root in half from root tip to top, then cut into thin half circles. Slice the greens into thin strips about 1/4-1/2 inch wide (you don't have to be precise here).
- Heat the EVOO in a large frying pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Sautee the roots for 6-8 minutes or until they begin to turn translucent and become soft. Add the thyme and garlic and cook 1-2 mins more.
- Next add the chopped greens and cook until they are wilted down, about 1-2 minutes more.
- Serve as a side dish to any meal. This makes an especially tasty breakfast side dish!
Yield: 2 servingsPrep Time: 00 hrs. 5 mins.
Cook time: 00 hrs. 10 mins.
Total time: 15 mins.Tags: Paleo, AIP, vegan, keto, radishes, leafy greens, cruciferous, budget-friendly