Wait, Don’t Throw Those Out! Radish Top Soup

There’s more tops than radishes…


One of my favorite things to do is to go browse the book sections at thrift stores and antique shops, looking for old cookbooks. I’ve found some fantastic books, even some really old ones, like the White House Cookbook from 1899! These old books are great resources for time-forgotten recipes and ideas. One of my favorites, which I picked up at a Goodwill store on the Oregon coast years ago, is The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash; it’s full of tips and tricks for growing, selecting, and using all kinds of vegetables—including the parts we often throw out. It’s not vegan, not by a long shot, but I’ve enjoyed getting inspiration from this book, all the same.

Radishes at my local farmers market.

One of the recipes that caught my eye was the Radish Top Soup. For years and years, I’ve always just tossed the tops, because they got all slimy in the refrigerator. I never considered eating them…until I got this cookbook. And I tell you what, they are delicious! I can’t believe I’ve thrown such great food away!

Radish greens are full of vitamins and minerals. The tops have six times more vitamin C than the radish root! And there’s vitamins A and B6, phosphorus, iron, calcium, potassium, and folic acid. They also have the antioxidant sulforaphane, found also in cruciferous vegetables, along with fiber and protein (3.7 grams per cupful!). They’re actually more nutritious than the root!

So I no longer toss radish tops—they’re the star of the show!

There are lots of radishes to choose from. In early summer, enjoy round, long, red, white, or pink varieties, including icicle, Easter egg, or French breakfast. During winter, you can find daikon, including the beautiful purple daikon I use in my Sweet Potato Bahn Mi, and black radishes. If radish roots seem too spicy for you, buy them in early spring or fall as rapid growth in hot weather cause radish roots to become strong flavored.

Separate the tops from your radishes when you bring them in and store them separately.

Like other root vegetables, the greens pull moisture from the root after it is harvested. Left on, the roots will start to wither and shrivel, so radishes will keep better if the greens are removed. The greens will quickly wilt once separated from the root. Simply wash the greens in cold water to remove all of the sand and grit, and store them separately in a damp towel in your refrigerator for no longer than a day. Like many greens, buy organic to avoid sprays.

Store your greens, including radish tops, in damp towels or damp cloth bags in your refrigerator. They’ll store so much nicer and longer. Keep in a bowl and cover with a vegan wax wrap.

While they aren’t particularly yummy raw in a salad, you can use radish greens like any other green in cooking. Include them in any hearty greens saute, like kale, collards, mustard greens, etc., stews, tofu scrambles, etc. You can also add them raw to pesto with other greens and herbs. But I love them in soup, particularly my adaptation of Radish Top Soup, which you can eat hot in the winter or cold in the summer. It’s super versatile!

Radish Top Soup

Simple ingredients for radish top soup (left to right): Yukon gold potatoes, yellow onion, cashew cream, vegetable stock, fresh radish greens, pepper, and salt.

A bunch of radishes will yield about 8 cups of greens. If you’re a little short, add other greens, such as turnip, beet, kale, etc. Give the greens a good rinse and a rough chop, stems and all.

Start by peeling and cutting the potatoes into large dice and boiling in the vegetable stock with some salt until they are soft.

Meanwhile, saute the onion in water or vegetable stock until they get golden.

Water saute the onion.

Then add the greens to the cooked onions, stir, cover the pot, and let the greens cook about 10 minutes, until nice and wilted.

Adding chopped greens to onions.

Once the greens and the potatoes are cooked, pour the hot stock and potatoes into the onions and greens. Stir and let simmer.

Make cashew cream by blending soaked cashews and water in a blender until very smooth. Set aside.

Blending soup in batches.

Next blend the soup until smooth. Either use an immersion blender or ladle the soup mixture into a blender in batches and blend. Make sure to not fill your blender completely and to hold a towel onto the lid to prevent the steamy soup from blowing the lid off and burning you! Pour blended soup back into the stock pot.

Drizzling in cashew cream. Isn’t that a luscious color?

Add in some cashew cream and stir to mix well. Adjust seasoning as desired.

I like to garnish chilled radish soup with thinly sliced radish for a beautiful pop of color!

Serve hot or chill completely to serve as a cold soup. This is particularly good for a hot summer lunch or dinner.

I hope this changes how you look at radish greens! They are so delicious and just so good for you that it’s a shame to toss them away. Radish greens are a gift to be savored, for sure. This soup is a gorgeous green with a delicate flavor that your family and guests just won’t be able to figure out until you let them in on the secret. It’ll have you picking up radishes much more often, just for this dish.

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Radish Top Soup

This is one of my favorite soups! Most people toss the radish tops, but they are packed with flavor. My vegan Radish Top Soup was inspired by The Victory Garden Cookbook by Marian Morash to be whole food, plant-based and refined oil-free.
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Dairy-free, Gluten-Free, Soup, Spring, Summer, Whole Food Plant Based, Zero Waste
Keyword Cold Soup, Hot soup, radish tops
Servings 4
Author Cindy Thompson, Trimazing! Health & Lifestyle Coaching

Ingredients

  • 2 large creamy potatoes such as Yukon Gold, peeled and diced, about 2 cups
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 large onion chopped, about 1 cup
  • 8 cups radish tops loosely packed, well rinsed, stems included. May use other greens such as turnip, mustard, beet, kale, arugula, lettuce, etc.
  • ½ cup raw cashews soaked for 1 hour and drained, if you do not have a high speed blender.
  • ¾ cup water
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Cook potatoes until soft in vegetable stock with 1 tsp salt.
  • Meanwhile, cook onions in a Dutch oven or stock pot using water or vegetable stock to saute until golden, about 5 minutes.
  • Roughly chop radish tops. Add to onions and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low heat until wilted, about 10 minutes.
  • Add cooked potatoes and liquid to the radish tops and onions. Stir, cover, and simmer 5 minutes.
  • While soup simmers, combine cashews and water in blender and blend on high speed until thick and creamy, like heavy cream. Set aside.
  • Puree the radish soup mixture in a blender, food processor, or with a stick blender. If using a blender or food processor, do in two batches. Return pureed soup to stock pot.
  • Add ½ cup of cashew cream to soup and stir to combine. Serve hot or chill and serve cold.

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