Friday, January 22, 2010

New Niches for Familiar Foods: Daikon Radish

Well, maybe daikon radishes aren't that familiar. I ran across them for the first time at a farmer's market a couple of years ago. They caught my attention as they are so big! In fact, the word is Japanese, and means "large root." Daikon radishes look kind of like large white carrots. They are often used in Asian soups with miso. Think you need to eat a ton of oranges this winter to get your vitamin C? Try Daikon radishes! They have 1/3 of the recommended Vitamin C in a 3 oz serving, which is also only 18 calories worth. They are mild-flavored, so they are really quite versatile... and make a perfect substitute for pasta. Low-calorie, high vitamin C.... that's a lot more than you can say for plain old spaghetti!

I believe it was first through following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet a few years ago that first introduced me to the concept of using strips of zucchini as a substitute for traditional pasta. When I got started on the raw food vegan diet, I came across all kinds of recipes calling for "noodles" made from all kinds of different vegetables. You can have fun with...
  • radish noodles
  • zucchini noodles
  • yellow squash noodles
  • carrot noodles
  • cucumber noodles
  • beet noodles
  • asparagus noodles
  • even young coconut noodles
You can makes these using a spiralizer, a grater, and mandolin slicer, a vegetable peeler, or a knife. The sauces can be anything from marinara sauce to creamy mushroom sauce to pad thai sauce. The possibilities are endless! To soften the "noodles," just let them marinate in whatever sauce you use. No cooking required. "Easy Peasy," as they say.

This is great if you are trying to cut back on processed grain noodles, eat gluten free, eat more vegetables, or just have some more variety in the kitchen!

So, above, I created a sort of Mediterranean noodle dish. It is daikon noodles (made on a mandolin), marinated in a sauce of: sun-dried  tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, onion, basil, rosemary, thyme, with sunflower sprouts and asparagus. I warmed it in the dehydrator for half an hour before eating, and served it with a balsamic-dressed salad.

Not bad for eating raw food in a northern Minnesota winter!


  1. Hey Betsy, thanks for posting this! I'd been wondering lately about some substitutes for pasta (and, in particular, ways to get myself and my little one eating more veggies!). I'm going to have to try these out! :)

  2. Great! Let me know what interesting things you come up with~ It's fun to mix and match colors too!