With many root vegetables, we first think of Autumn soups, comforting au gratins, or creamy mashes for the fall kitchen. However, just about all of them have leaves above ground that are not only fully edible, but quite nutritious and very tasty when added to any vegan meal. The radish is certainly no exception to this rule so why stop with the root?
The leaves of the radish plant actually contain more Vitamin C, protein and calcium than their roots and are rich in folic acid, Vitamin C and anthocyanins. These enzymes and nutrients make radish greens an powerful anti-cancer food. The greens also contain healthy amounts of Vitamin C, zinc, B-complex vitamins and phosphorus, which are quite effective in treating skin disorders such as rashes and dry skin. They have even historically been used to treat kidney and skin disorders, fight cancer and even soothe insect bites.
Radish tops don’t stay fresh for very long, and it’s best separate them from the roots soon after harvesting or bringing them home from the market. Wash and store the leaves like other salad greens and eat them within a day or two.
One interesting way to remember how to best cook root vegetable’s top halves is to keep in mind that many, if not most, slightly mimic the root in their flavor profiles – i.e., beet greens tend to be sweeter, radish greens are slightly peppery and crisp.
For this quick recipe, I choose Thai seasonings but you can cook it any way you like as veggie stir fries are quite versatile depending on taste or what other dishes they’re meant to complement.
- 1 bunch of organic radish greens, chopped / cleaned thoroughly
- 1 handful of chopped green onions, leeks, or other onion-family member –
1 tablespoon Coconut oil (I recommend this highly though you can sub avocado or olive)
- 3 cloves of fresh garlic
– 1 tablespoon low-sodium tamari sauce [or soy sauce if you eat gluten]
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon of Thai seasoning mixture (available in most groceries)OR; -
sub 1 teaspoon chopped lemongrass
1 teaspoon Thai chili paste (to taste)
1 teaspoon chopped Ginger
1.) Cut off stem and leaves of the radish greens from their red roots and rinse/clean thouroughly. Root vegetables are much closer to the ground and therefore should be washed quite rigorously to avoid dirt or contagions.
2.) Heat up coconut oil over medium heat until melt. Add in chopped garlic and Green Onions and begin to sweat.
3.) Toss in Radish greens and stir to coat evenly with the now-infused oil for about one minute (these greens cook quick, they’re certainly not collards!)
4.) Add in Tamari (or soy) sauce, the Thai seasoning mix, and stir thoroughly to coat every leaf evenly.
5.) Test leaves (and especially stems) for tenderness. The stems shouldn’t be crunchy and the leaves should have shrunk significantly with the heat.
6.) Remove from heat and add sesame oil last, stirring one last time to coat.
7.) Enjoy with rice, as a side dish, or toss with chilled soba noodles (my favorite way)