Eat pretty with this Winter Radish Salad with Orange Vinaigrette! A bright and beautiful salad of watermelon and purple daikon radishes marinated in an orange and apple cider vinaigrette then topped with feta, shallots, toasted walnuts, pomegranate arils and fresh herbs. A deliciously eye-catching side perfect for any holiday buffet!
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How to Make this Beautiful Salad
Our last local farmer’s market of the year was held recently, and one of the stands had cartons of these gorgeous watermelon and purple radishes. While we all have red and green on the brain this time of year, there was no chance of me passing these beauties up.
We’ll get to the deets on radishes in a sec, but let’s start with the vinaigrette first since you can make it days in advance and use it on other salads or as a marinade. Combining fall citrus with apple cider and olive oil is the base of this recipe and is enhanced with Dijon mustard, honey, s&p, and nutmeg for a winning seasonal flavor profile. All you need is a bowl and whisk, or mason jar, to whip or shake this vinaigrette to pouring perfection.
What’s Special about Watermelon and Purple Radishes?
We’re used to seeing ruby-skinned, white flesh radishes year round in supermarkets, but watermelon radish season actually peaks in spring and late fall while purple radishes peak in the winter into early spring. Watermelon radishes are relatively mellow with just a slight peppery taste. Purple radishes, on the other hand, have the sharper, spicier flavor radishes are known for.
Plus, these beautifully hued radishes are considered a superfood loaded with phytonutrients, which are responsible for their distinct color and contain high levels of antioxidants. Radishes are also low in carbs, making them very keto-friendly, and high in fiber, vitamins C and A, and potassium. Now if enjoying radishes raw isn’t quite your thing, roasting them is a delicious option as well.
Key Ingredients & Substitutions
Radishes are known for their distinct flavor, but when they marinate in this relatively sweet dressing for just ten minutes or so, the peppery taste mellows considerably. You can embellish the salad any number of ways and here are some thoughts on what to include.
- Cheese – I used feta, but crumbled goat cheese, shredded parm, asiago, or gouda would be tasty options too. And, feel free to omit cheese entirely to make the salad vegan.
- Crunch – Use any kind of nuts or seeds to add a little more crunch and flavor. I chose toasted walnuts along with pomegranate arils for another pop of color.
- Fresh Herbs – Mild chives and parsley made their way to the platter here. Thyme, marjoram or cilantro would work as well.
QUICK TIP: The key to making this Winter Radish Salad is slicing the radishes razor thin. The quickest and easiest way to do that is with a mandoline, which will also keep the slices uniform. I found 1/16th of an inch to be the ideal setting.
Once you have your salad toppings of choice, simply arrange the marinated radish slices on a platter and start sprinkling. Adjust the amounts of the toppings as you see fit. I didn’t want to go too crazy so the beauty of the radishes still shined through. Hope you enjoy! xx, Kim
More Healthy Fall & Winter Recipes
There is a lot of indulging and imbibing this time of year so here are some delicious and healthy options to counterbalance the splurges.
Winter Radish Salad with Orange Vinaigrette
- Handheld mandoline
- 1 medium orange, zest and juice
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons apple cider
- 1 tablespoon honey (or maple syrup)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon or Creole mustard
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Freshly ground nutmeg, to taste
- ½ pound radishes (watermelon, purple, black or white), peeled and cut into 1/16 – inch slices
- ¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
- ¼ cup toasted walnuts, chopped
- 2 tablespoons shallots, minced
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate arils
- 1 tablespoon fresh herbs (chives, parsley, or thyme), finely chopped
- Place the first 6 ingredients in a mason jar. Cover tightly with lid and shake vigorously until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and freshly ground nutmeg.
- Vinaigrette will last up to 1 week in the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature 15 minutes before using.
- Place radish slices in a large bowl and pour in enough vinaigrette to coat without soaking. Gently toss. Let marinate 10-15 minutes. Set aside. Reserve remaining dressing for when serving or another use.
- Meanwhile, toast the walnuts if they’re not already, and prep the remaining ingredients.
- After radishes marinate, place or arrange them on a platter. Sprinkle the feta, walnuts, shallots, pomegranate arils, and fresh herbs over the radish slices.
- Garnish with extra parsley, if desired. Serve with extra vinaigrette on the side. Enjoy!
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