Crunchy, refreshing, colorful – what's not to like about radishes? Pair them with a creamy, mild dip that tones down their peppery flavor just a touch and you have the perfect appetizer or snack. The good news is that radishes are a low-sodium, cholesterol-free vegetable. What's even better, they're naturally fat free, so if you dare, you can splurge a little with full-fat sour cream or mayonnaise in your creamy dips.
You can't go wrong with a classic store-bought or homemade ranch dressing for your radishes. Make your own ranch-like dip with mayonnaise, sour cream or Greek yogurt, which all come in low-fat versions and give you the smooth, velvety texture that contrasts so well with crisp radishes. Stir in generous tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs, such as scallions, flavorful flat-leafed parsley or tarragon, and wrap up with a sprinkle of fresh lemon juice and zest. Be sure to add a dash of salt to bring out the flavors of the herbs and toss in a clove of minced garlic, if you like, for added zing.
Rich, Creamy Dips
There's no need for a guilty conscience when you balance low-fat radishes with a high-fat dip because the overall calorie count of the appetizer will stay relatively low. For the ultimate decadent treat, blend room-softened, salted butter with chopped fresh herbs and a bit of lemon juice. Or opt for a more nutritious dip by using creamy mashed avocados with a little plain Greek yogurt and kosher salt stirred in and omit the lemon or lime juice. With lush levels of fiber, folate, vitamin K and heart-healthy fats, avocados pack a healthy punch.
Easy Dips From Around the World
Hummus, which likely hails from Middle Eastern cuisine, brings a heartier texture to a radish dip than mayonnaise or yogurt, but it also has a mild yet distinctive flavor that works well with the vegetable. The chickpeas or garbanzo beans that you puree with lemon juice, tahini, fresh garlic and a little salt to make hummus provide lots of protein, fiber and calcium to your dip. Drizzle with olive oil, another healthy fat, and dig in.
A variation on gzik, a creamy Polish dip, contains mostly small-curd cottage cheese, a naturally low-fat, high-protein product, along with a few tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream. Add some chopped chives, salt and pepper to finish.
Choosing and Preparing Radishes
The last thing you want in a radish-and-dip appetizer are soft radishes. Choose only those radishes that feel completely firm when squeezed, with no give whatsoever. Radishes with their fresh, green tops still attached are typically fresher than those with the greens removed. If you're not able to use them right away, trim off the greens and store the unwashed veggies in a plastic bag in your refrigerator for up to a week, washing them thoroughly and cutting off the root ends shortly before you plan to serve them. If the radishes have lost some of their crispness, soak them in ice water for an hour or so to firm them up.