A bowl of red rice with green leaves running through it, topped with three bright, fresh radishes.

Red rice and radish greens

The second radish recipe of the great radish adventure has to do with the radish tops rather than the radishes themselves. Red rice and radish greens!

Up until recently it would not have occurred to me to use vegetable tops in cooking. Usually those beautiful leafy greens would be disregarded and then swiftly discarded. Then, a while back, I read that those oft discarded parts are a wonderful and nutritious addition to soup stock. And so celery leaves and broccoli stalks, carrot trimmings and onion peel got boiled up and saved as lovely veggie stock, a lovely thing to have stashed away in the freezer, and a magnificent way to get the most out of some of that stuff that would otherwise immediately be deemed as waste.

Then when I started to see recipes involving the leafy tops of veggies as they are, I was instantly intrigued. So faced with gorgeous radishes complete with their vibrant green leaves, the moment had clearly arrived. After using one of my two bunches to make some seriously moreish radish leaf crisps -using the same method as I did for these nettle crisps recently, but with barbecue seasoning instead of tahini lime- I decided to wilt the other bunch and stir it in with some lovely red rice (my first time using that too!), green lentils, and some caramelized shallot. The dish was gorgeous! The salty sweetness of the shallots complements the slightly pungent flavour of the greens, and the rice with lentils make it supremely satisfying. I stirred in a few sliced radishes at the end for their gorgeous crunch and peppery flavour, and the dish was complete. Red rice and radish greens, it turns out, is a hearty, filling, vegan dish loaded with nutrition.

Red rice with bright green leaves running through it.

My first veggie top cooking success! Hooray!!

After this dish, I’m really keen to try out some other veg tops too, particularly carrot greens as I’ve heard they’re delicious. If you’re into giving it a try too, here are a few you could try out.

Vegetable tops and stalks you should try today

  • Radish greens
  • Carrot tops
  • Beet root greens
  • Broccoli stalks
  • Celeriac tops
  • Garlic greens

There are probably loads more too. If you’re after more information, or some recipe suggestions, there’s an excellent article about a few of them at the Kitchn, and some wonderful recipe ideas at Prevention. The experimentation could be endless!! Before eating a veggie top you’re unsure of though, make sure to find out if it is edible; some veggie tops (including the leaves of rhubarb, potato, and tomato)are toxic to humans!

Radish greens, however, are delicious and super nutritious (the leaves contain more vitamin C and calcium that the radishes themselves), and this dish of red rice and radish greens is a lovely way to try them out.

Thus concludes the great radish adventure of the week! I hope these lovely seasonal veggies bring you as much joy as they have me!

Red rice and radish greens
A delicious, super nutritious, and very satisfying dish made with vitamin C rich radish tops, red rice, green lentils, and caramelized shallots. A simple and complete vegan meal loaded with flavour.
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  1. 100g or 1/3 cup of green lentils, rinsed
  2. 100g or 1/2 cup of red rice (or substitute with brown or black rice), rinsed
  3. 1 Tbsp oil such as rapeseed
  4. 2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  5. A good pinch of salt
  6. Greens from one bunch of radishes (about two good handfuls), roughly chopped
  7. 3 or 4 radishes, sliced, for garnish (optional)
  1. To cook the lentils, place 300ml or 1 cup of water into a medium pot. Add the lentils and set the pot over medium-high heat. Bring it to the boil, and once boiling, cover and lower the heat to medium low. Leave it to simmer until the lentils are tender, but not falling apart, about 15-20 minutes. Once cooked, drain and set aside.
  2. To cook the rice, place 400ml or 1 1/3cup of water into a medium pot. Add the rice and set the pot over medium-high heat. Bring it to the boil, and once boiling, cover and lower the heat to medium low. Leave it to simmer until the rice is tender, about 30 minutes. Once cooked, drain and rinse with boiling water, then set aside. (If you’ve substituted brown or black rice the cooking time might vary. Cook it until tender according to the instructions on the packet.)
  3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan with a tight fitting lid, over medium high heat. When hot, add the shallots and a good pinch of salt and stir. Leave the shallots to cook for about five minutes, or until the edges are starting to brown. Stir occasionally, but let them sit for a few minutes on the hot pan to promote browning. Once they’ve browned a bit, lower the heat to medium low, add a splash of water to cool the pan down, cover with the lid and leave them to cook. Check and stir them about every ten minutes, and add a small splash more water if they’re looking very dry. Let them cook like this, covered, on a low temperature, slowly, until they’re very soft and dark caramel golden throughout, this should take 35 to 40 minutes.
  4. Once the shallots are caramelized, add the cooked rice and lentils to the pan and leave them to cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is piping hot, about 8 to 10 minutes. Once hot, stir through the radish greens and continue to cook until the greens are wilted, about 3 minutes.
  5. Serve hot topped with fresh radish slices.
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