Fave Farmers Market Find: Discovering the Watermelon Radish (Plus Recipes!)

watermelon radish salad

I first discovered the watermelon radish through my coop, though I didn’t realize it at the time. After all, from the outside, a watermelon radish doesn’t really look like much: a pale globe no different from any other root veggie. I thought it was a turnip. Oh, how wrong I was.

It’s only once you slice into a watermelon radish that you understand its name: bright pink on the inside, the radish makes beautiful slices to top salads, float in soups, or add to sandwiches. (And it boasts myriad health benefits to boot!)

A Refreshing Boost of Nutrition

Traditional Chinese medicine has long praised the watermelon radish, as it’s jam-packed with phytochemicals and minerals like phosphorous, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

Watermelon radishes are also rich in folate, vitamin C, vitamin A, and niacin. They’re low in calories and high in water, making them great for hydration.

Watermelon Radishes

How to Cook with Watermelon Radishes

When I first started using watermelon radishes in the kitchen, I always used them raw. After all, all you need is a mandoline to cut them into beautiful decorative slices that add a slightly piquant, refreshing bite to a variety of dishes and snacks:

  • On top of avocado toast.
  • With butter, sea salt, and bread, as a spring answer to bruschetta.
  • Instead of croutons on your favorite salad.
  • To add more flavor and crunch to sandwiches.

Pickling watermelon radishes lends even more flavor, and you can even roast them simply with olive oil and salt to mellow them and bring out more of their natural sweetness. I also like to roll thin slices of watermelon radish around marinated veggies for an all-veggie play on a taco.

Once you’ve started playing with watermelon radishes, you’ll discover all sorts of different ways to use them, like in the beautiful orange, goat cheese, and watermelon salad above, or in the kale and watermelon radish salad below.

kale and watermelon radish salad
Image via Emily Monaco

Kale and Watermelon Radish Salad Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes


1/4 kabocha squash
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 watermelon radish
1 small bunch kale
1 tablespoon hazelnut oil
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1 handful mesclun greens


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the squash and olive oil together, and season with salt. Roast for 20 minutes, or until browned.

Meanwhile, tear the kale into bite-sized pieces, and dress with the hazelnut oil and the white balsamic. Massage to soften the kale slightly.

Use a mandoline to slice the radish into thin slices.

Toss the dressed kale, hot squash, and mesclun greens together, and top with the watermelon radish.

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Emily Monaco is a food and culture writer based in Paris. Her work has been featured in the Wall... More about Emily Monaco