Eat pretty and healthy with this Watermelon Radish and Purple Daikon Salad! A bright and beautiful combination of heirloom radishes dressed in a citrus vinaigrette. Crumbled feta cheese, shallots, walnuts, pomegranate arils and fresh herbs add even more pops of flavor and crunch!
This watermelon radish recipe is so easy to make and with just a handful of simple ingredients. Such a delicious, eye-catching side perfect for any holiday buffet!
If you’re looking for other light side salads to balance out the menu, check out this Crisp Citrus Salad with Avocado and Goat Cheese, Charred Broccolini Salad with Burrata, and Spicy Asian Red Cabbage Slaw.
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
Here are a few great things about this watermelon radish salad:
- Fast – This beauty is on the table in 20 minutes!
- Healthy – It’s gluten-free, keto-friendly, vegetarian and can be made vegan by omitting the cheese.
- Prep Ahead – The radishes can be sliced a day ahead and the vinaigrette can be made up to a week in advance.
What’s Special about Watermelon and Purple Radishes?
These beautifully hued root vegetables are an heirloom variety of the Chinese daikon radish. In addition to their eye-catching color, these radishes are super healthy and can be prepared in a variety of ways.
When are they in season?
We're used to seeing ruby-skinned, white flesh radishes year-round at our famer’s markets and grocery stores, but daikon and watermelon radish season peaks in late fall through early spring. They thrive in cold soil and are perfect for brightening up the dinner table on cold, wintery days!
What do these radishes taste like?
Watermelon radishes are relatively mellow with just a slight peppery flavor that continues to have a milder flavor as it matures. Purple radishes, on the other hand, have the sharper, spicier flavor. Both varieties have a tender-crisp texture.
Are purple and watermelon radishes good for you?
These beauties are considered a superfood as they’re loaded with phytonutrients, which are responsible for their distinct color. Plus, they’re high in antioxidants, fiber, potassium, vitamin C and vitamin A, and low in carbs.
How do you eat purple daikon and watermelon radishes?
They can be eaten raw, pickled, or cooked by roasting them in the oven or sautéed on the stove. Like regular radishes, this variety does not have to be peeled before eating. Just as with all root vegetables, be sure to give them a good rinse and wash away any dirt.
Ingredients & Substitutions
For the Watermelon Radish Salad
In addition to the radishes, here are other key ingredients that offer complementary flavors and textures:
- Cheese - I used feta, but crumbled goat cheese, shredded parmesan, asiago, or gouda would be tasty options too. 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. You can also add thinly sliced English cucumber for more crisp freshness.
- Fresh Herbs - Mild chives and parsley made their way to the platter here. Thyme, marjoram or cilantro would be good choices as well.
For the Orange Vinaigrette
All you need is a small bowl and a whisk, or mason jar, to combine this vinaigrette to perfection.
- Fresh orange juice or lemon juice
- Apple cider
- Apple cider vinegar, white balsamic vinegar or champagne vinegar
- Olive oil
- Honey or maple syrup
- Dijon mustard or Creole mustard
The key to making this watermelon radish salad is slicing the radishes razor thin. The quickest and easiest way to do that is with a mandoline, which will ensure the slices are uniform in thickness. I found 1/16th of an inch to be the ideal setting. But if you’re confident wielding a sharp knife, go for it!
Place the thin slices of radishes in a large bowl and toss with just enough vinaigrette to coat but not soak. Let the radishes marinate 10-15 minutes if you have time.
Once your salad toppings are ready, simply arrange the marinated radish slices on a platter and start sprinkling! Adjust the amounts of the toppings as you see fit and season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. Just let the beauty of the radishes shine. Hope you enjoy!
The radishes should feel firm and heavy for their size, which can range from 2-4 inches in diameter. The skin should not be cracked. And, avoid radishes that feel spongy when gently squeezed.
Radishes should be stored in the fridge in a brown bag, not an airtight container. And, unlike other varieties, winter radishes will keep for 3-4 weeks.
Yes! The entire plant is edible including the greens. But their texture is coarse, so they don't work well in a salad unless they're young and small. These greens are better cooked in soups and stews like kale, swiss chard and mustard greens.
Healthy Soups to go with this Watermelon Radish Recipe!
There is a lot of indulging and imbibing this time of year so here are some delicious and healthy options to counterbalance the splurges.😉
🌟Love the recipe? Please leave a 5-star rating in the recipe card and/or a review in the Comments section below!
📋 Recipe Card
Watermelon and Purple Daikon Radish Salad
- 1 medium orange , zest and juice
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons apple cider
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
- 1 teaspoon Dijon or Creole mustard
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Freshly ground nutmeg, to taste
- ½ pound watermelon and purple radishes , 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 grated 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, 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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