What Makes Radishes Spicy and 8 Radish Recipes to Try

red radish bunch

 juliedeshales / Getty Images

Radishes are crunchy, low in calories ad high in potassium, vitamin C, folate (folic acid) and fiber. They are a natural decongestant (great for the winter months) and easy to grow and find just about anywhere in the world. Radishes come in a variety of colors, 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, medium-sized ones in black, or long white ones (called daikon). If you’re really lucky you 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 chili pepper or horseradish root, their extra mild “heat” is a great flavor, but what exactly makes radishes spicy? According to Wikipedia, the flavor is "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. 

Try these delicious eight radish recipes.

  • 01 of 08

    (German) White Radish Salad

    Daikon radish, black background

    DigiPub / Getty Images 

    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. 

  • 02 of 08

    Daikon Radish “Rice” with Gochugaru and Fried Egg

    Daikon Rice Inspiralized

    Ali Maffucci / 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 spice from the gochugaru or Korean red chili pepper powder.

  • 03 of 08

    Berry, Beet, and Radish Juice

    Berry Beet Radish Juice Tarheel
    Susan Walter Sink of TarheelFoodie.com

    Susan, of TarheelFoodie.com, suggests adding radishes to your morning juice, raising it to a whole new level. Her berry, beet, and radish recipe is a must-try. 

  • 04 of 08

    Probiotic Fermented Radish Pickle

    pickled radish

     Westend61 / Getty Images

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

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Daikon Vegan Patties by One Green Planet

    grated daikon

     yasuhiroamano / Getty Images

    These vegan daikon patties by Melanie of One Green Planet are truly unique. They're perfect as a snack or a light lunch. 

  • 06 of 08

    Easy Red Radish Kimchi Recipe

    Radish-Kimchi-in-a-Jar

    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! 

  • 07 of 08

    Pico de Gallo with Red Radishes

    salsa and ingredients

    iodrakon / Getty Images

     

    If you're not a fan of raw onions they can easily be replaced with radishes in many recipes, such as this basic salsa. 

  • 08 of 08

    As Danish Smorrebrod

    Radishes On Rye Bread
    SpicieFoodie.com

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