There is a season: Roasted radishes are a purple pleasure

  • Top roasted watermelon radishes with a zesty green tahini sauce. For the Recorder/MOLLY PARR

For the Gazette
Published: 11/12/2020 10:04:23 AM

There are a half-dozen different squash on my kitchen counter right now, and I predict many months to come with orange-covered plates. But, honestly, this week, I don’t want to see orange — I want to see anything but! 

For all you squash lovers out there, please don’t panic. Just last week I learned a new way to roast squash, and have new squash cake and pasta sauce recipes worth sharing. But for now, I”m thinking purple is better than orange: roasted slices of bright watermelon radishes and topped with a lovely green herbed tahini sauce. 

Have you ever roasted a radish? The peppery bite disappears and you’re left with an entirely different tasting vegetable. (There’s also a lot to be said for pan frying them in lots of butter, but we’ll save that for another time.)

Some people flip their radishes after 10 minutes in the hot oven, then roast for another 10 minutes. You could also take the lazier approach and have them roast on one side the entire time. One side will definitely have browned more than the other — this is entirely up to you. 

I use five or six watermelon radishes for this side dish. They clock in at around a pound altogether, but once trimmed, peeled and sliced into quarter-inch slices, it comes out to about three cups worth. 

For the tahini sauce, I reach for parsley and mint, but feel free to use what works best for you. I grow my own parsley, or did until they plotzed with this week’s frosty mornings. As for mint, it’s easily found at any market, although I especially love getting it at Trans World Market in Hadley because it’s a massive amount for about a dollar. (I’ve found that most Asian stores sell vegetables at a much lower price than at the regular grocery store, and I just love shopping there.) 

You will almost definitely have more sauce than you’ll need, so feel free to spread it on sandwiches or use it as a dip. The night after we had this dish, we made sweet potato fries in the air fryer, and used both the toum (from my Oct. 17 column) and this green sauce as dips. It was grand. 

Roasted watermelon radishes with green tahini sauce 


For the radishes 

A pound of watermelon radishes (about five or six)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 

Pinch of kosher salt

For the green tahini sauce

Between one quarter and half a cup of tahini at room temperature 

One clove garlic, minced

One quarter cup of freshly cleaned parsley

One quarter cup of freshly cleaned mint leaves

2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Up to one half cup of ice water 

One squeeze fresh lemon juice

Hefty pinch kosher salt 


Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Peel and trim off the ends of the radishes. Using a sharp knife, slice the radishes into quarter-inch slices. Place in a bowl and toss with olive oil and kosher salt. 

Spread the radishes on the parchment sheet and place in the hot oven. Roast for up to 20 minutes. Remove earlier if the radishes are browning too much. They should be soft to the touch and slightly wrinkled. 

While your radishes are roasting, work on the sauce. In a blender (a food processor will work if that’s all you have) place all sauce ingredients, except the oil and water, and blend to combine. Add the oil while the blender is on. Then add the water, about two tablespoons at time until you reach a smooth consistency. Do a flavor check. Does it need to be smoother? Add another tablespoon of water. Is there enough salt? Could it use more lemon? 

Remove the radishes from the oven and drizzle the sauce on top. Get all Jackson Pollacky on your plate. Dig in!

Molly Parr lives in Florence with her husband and two young daughters. She's been writing her food blog, Cheap Beets, since 2010. She was furloughed from Smith for the summer and is using the time to work on her first cookbook. Send questions or comments to  

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