What Makes Radishes Spicy and 10 Radish Recipes to Try

Simple radishes can be transformed into delicious and gourmet foods.

Crunchy, low in calories, high in potassium, vitamin C, folate (folic acid) and fibre. They are a natural decongestant (great for the winter months) and they’re easy to grow and find just about anywhere in the world. Radishes come in a variety of colours, shapes, and sizes. Depending on the part of the world you are in, as well as the time of the year, you may be accustomed to seeing little red ones, or medium-sized ones in black, or long white ones (called daikon). If you’re really lucky you...MORE may be able to find these and many other varieties in your local store or farmers markets year round. The one delicious commonality between them is that they all have a slight piquantness to them.  

Though not as spicy as a chili pepper or horseradish root, they’re extra mild “heat” is a great flavour. But what exactly makes radishes spicy? According to this website, “…The raw flesh has a crisp texture and a pungent, peppery flavor, caused by glucosinolates and the enzyme myrosinase, which combine when chewed to form allyl isothiocyanates, also present in mustard, horseradish, and wasabi.” Another factor that can affect the piquantness of radishes is their size. The larger the radish, and the longer it is allowed to grow, the spicier it will become. Also the hotter the weather in which the radishes are grown, the spicier they’ll taste. 

I love the flavour of radishes in any form: I like them raw, marinaded, and even cooked. I have yet to find a way of eating radishes that I didn’t like. Though I should point out that I have found that when radishes are heated (grilled or roasted) their pungency mellows out, which isn’t always a desired result. But if you find raw radishes a tad too spicy when raw, you should try them grilled or roasted — in fact, if you love radishes then you simply must taste them cooked too. 

Though we are not at the height of radish season (that’s in the summer months) we can still give these 12 recipes a try right now.

  • 01 of 10
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    Pickled Radishes with Red Onions and Roasted Habaneros. SpicieFoodie.com

    Traditional served in the Yucatan Penninsula alongside slow roasted pork, this pickle is truly amazing. Even if you don't normally eat habanero chilies you'll love the taste, smell, and texture. 

  • 02 of 10
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    (German) White Radish Salad. Jennifer McGavin, About.com’s German Food Expert

    This recipe by Jennifer McGavin, German Food Expert, is made with white (daikon) radish and is a tradition in German cuisine. So simple, yet so delicious. 

  • 03 of 10
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    Daikon Radish "Rice" with Gochugaru and Fried Egg. Ali Maffucci of Inspiralized.com

    If you follow a gluten-free or Paleo diet, this recipe is one to add to your meal plans. The dish is light, nutritious, and has a lovely touch of spicy from the gochugaru, or Korean red chili pepper powder.

    (Recipe and photo by Ali Maffucci of Inspiralized.com)

  • 04 of 10
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    Berry, Beet, and Radish Juice. Susan Walter Sink of TarheelFoodie.com

    The (awesome) idea of adding radishes to my morning juice has never entered my head. Thanks to Susan, of TarheelFoodie.com, juices were just raised to a whole new level. Her berry, beet, and radish recipe is a must try. 

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10
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    Probiotic Fermented Radish Pickle. Leda Meredith for About.com

    Leda Meredith's radish pickle is great if you're interested in a new flavour in radishes. It has an additional spiciness from the red pepper flakes included in the recipe. 

  • 06 of 10

    These vegan daikon patties by Melanie, of One Green Planet, are truly unique. Perfect as a snack or a light lunch. 

  • 07 of 10

    Furofuki Daikon

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    Furofuki Daikon. Photo Emi Uchida, goboroot.com

    Japanese cuisine has an incredible ability of making the most basic foods into truly gourmet ones. This daikon radish recipe by Emi Uchida, of goboroot.com, is not only pretty but one that I imagine tastes as good as it looks. 

  • 08 of 10
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    Easy Red Radish Kimchi. Jeanette Chen JeanettesHealthyLiving.com

    Jeanette, of Jeanette's Healthy Living, makes kimchi an easy food to prepare with here red radish kimchi recipe. You'll love everything about her amazing recipe! 

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10
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    Salsa with Red Radishes. SpicieFoodie.com

    If you're not a fan of raw onions they can easily be replaced with radishes in many recipes. That is exactly what I do when I prepare this basic salsa. 

  • 10 of 10
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    Radish Slices on Rye Bread. SpicieFoodie.com

    Thinly sliced radishes on top of buttered rye bread are as delicious as they look.