The best substitutes for radishes are turnips, jicama, and kohlrabi. These vegetables are the most similar in taste and texture to radishes. Other alternatives to radish are beets, rutabaga, carrots, parsnip, beetroot, and cabbage.
Many vegetables supply a similar taste, texture, or nutritional profile to radishes. Read on to find out more about the ten best root vegetables that can be used instead of radish.
1. White Salad Turnips
White salad turnips are very similar to radishes in both taste and texture. Turnips are spicy and crunchy, like radishes. They are both in the Brassica plant family and have very similar leaves and flowers. Turnips are the state vegetable of Vermont and have a long history in American, European, and Asian cuisine.
The greens of turnips can be cooked just like radishes. The creamy white root of salad turnips can be eaten raw. The roots can also be cooked in sautés, soups, and stews. They are also popularly prepared as a puree, called “neeps” in Scotland.
Turnips and radishes are both cold-hardy, and turnips get sweeter after a frost. If you garden in a zone with regular frosts or snow, consider growing this classic vegetable.
Rutabaga is best described as a cross between a cabbage and a turnip. They have a tangy, sweet flavor that is similar to radishes, just without the peppery spice. Like radishes, they are high in potassium, and vitamin C. Rutabaga is also a good source of antioxidants.
The flavor of raw rutabaga is pungent and earthy. When cooked, the flavor becomes sweet and buttery with a savory aftertaste. Rutabaga’s are delicious when roasted. They also make a savory addition to soups and curries.
Though rutabagas may not be as popular in modern times, during World War I they were one of the few staple foods available to Europeans. This gave it an association with deprivation, and rutabaga fell out of favor for the rest of the 20th century. However, it should not be overlooked as the flavor is inviting and the nutritional benefits plentiful.
If you are seeking the crunch of radish without spice, try jicama. Jicama is a large tuberous root with sweet, white flesh. The peeled root contains dietary fiber, Vitamin B6, and prebiotics. It is 85% water, so the vegetable helps hydrate you.
Eaten in the Americas since the Aztecs ruled, jicama is delicious raw. It is a popular addition to crudité platters because it does not oxidize and brown. Jicama is commonly pickled and can also be boiled and mashed like potatoes. It can be used any way that white radish would be used and is especially good in soups and slaws.
The root should always be peeled, and the top portion of the plant never be eaten, as the leaves and seeds are poisonous.
Carrots are best known for their sweet flavor, satisfying crunch, and long shelf life. Replacing radishes with carrots in a recipe will yield more sweetness but have a similar texture.
Like radishes, carrots travel well, preserve well, and are appetizing when eaten raw. There are many different varieties of carrots; purple, red, yellow, and white carrots are increasing in popularity.
Carrots pair very well with parsnips in a roast. They can also be made into a delicious soup with ginger. As versatile as the radish, carrots are popular additions to stir fry, soups, salads, slaws, and juices. They contain high amounts of Vitamin A, Beta-Carotene, potassium, and Vitamin K1 and are renowned for increasing eye health.
If you like the peppery kick in red radishes, then you will like horseradish. A pungent root used as a flavorful topping, horseradish can substitute radishes in many instances. A member of the mustard family, horseradish thrives in cold environments.
If you are looking to add spice, horseradish can be pickled or made into a sauce and used like mustard. Its pungency makes it excellent for stimulating circulation and clearing congestion. It is too strong to use in large amounts, so most people use horseradish sparingly. Fresh horseradish can also be cooked and added to recipes according to your tolerance.
Both radishes and horseradish have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Vitamin C is abundant in either vegetable, so horseradish can offer similar nutritional benefits as radish.
An unusual vegetable, Kohlrabi is the darling of local farmer’s markets. If you have access to this vegetable, it is worth giving it a try. Kohlrabi is a Brassica cultivated from the European wild cabbage. It forms a large above-ground bulb with leaves growing from the bulb. Both the leaves and bulb can be eaten.
The bulb of kohlrabi can be peeled and eaten raw or used any way that radishes are used. They have a mild taste similar to broccoli stems and pair well with savory sauces. Also called “German turnip,” kohlrabi is popular in German cuisine.
Kohlrabi can be roasted, stuffed, braised, or boiled. It pickles nicely and is an excellent addition to salads. A low glycemic food high in Vitamin C, this unique crucifer is a healthy food choice.
While cabbage may not immediately come to mind as a substitute for radish, the two vegetables share a similar nutritional profile. Both cabbage and radish are good sources of vitamin C, potassium, and folate.
Cabbage is thought to have been cultivated in China as early as 4,000 BCE. Given its long history, there are myriad ways to prepare this nutritional powerhouse. Classic preparations are coleslaw, kimchi or sauerkraut, roasted cabbage, and in soups. Cabbage is also wonderful in stir-fry and sauteed with apples.
Use cabbage in place of red radish or daikon radish to receive similar health benefits. Cabbage is affordable and readily available in grocery stores and farmer’s markets.
Beetroots are high in antioxidants and, like radishes, can help lower inflammation. Beets come in various colors, from blood red and golden, to pink and white striped. The tops can be eaten, and the root stored for many months.
Beets have endless uses. They can be pickled, boiled, grated raw, roasted, mashed, or put in soups. High in manganese and folate, beets also contain niacin, which helps with healthy circulation. They also contain good amounts of fiber and prebiotics to help increase gut health.
Roasted beets with goat cheese and balsamic is a delicious recipe. Beets can also be juiced and added to orange or apple juice for extra nutrition and a beautiful red color. The traditional Eastern European soup Borscht has red beets and red cabbage, making it an excellent source of antioxidants.
Parsnips have some of the highest sugar content of any vegetable. A classic fall vegetable, parsnips get sweeter the colder the weather. Farmers often overwinter parsnips to get maximum sweetness come spring. In addition to sweetness, parsnips have a savory, nutty flavor to them.
Like radishes, parsnips contain high amounts of Vitamin C. They are a good source of fiber and actually help the body absorb sugar more slowly. High levels of iron and magnesium can be found in parsnips.
The classic way to prepare parsnips is to roast them. Some sources recommend cutting out the woody core before preparing. Other delicious preparations are parsnip chips, parsnip and potato gratin, and pureed parsnips. Like carrots, parsnips can be added to spice cake to make dessert a little more nutritional.
Is Parsnip Similar to Radish?
Parsnips are similar to radishes. They are both high in antioxidants, Vitamin C, and Potassium. Parsnips and radishes have a similar texture and can be used interchangeably in many recipes.
The main difference between parsnips and radishes is that parsnips are higher in dietary fiber, thiamin, niacin, and folate. On the other hand, radishes have more protein and fewer calories and carbohydrates than parsnips.
Parsnips are much sweeter than radishes, so if you are looking for a substitute with a similar taste, another vegetable may be better.
What Tastes Most Similar to Radish?
Turnips and kohlrabi taste most similar to radishes. They are from the same plant family, and both have an earthy and spicy taste. Small white salad turnips taste most like red radishes, and kohlrabi tastes most like Daikon white radishes.
If you are looking for the most similar texture to radishes, then jicama would be the best match. It is crunchy and full of water like the radish and tastes lovely raw or pickled.
What Is the Best Substitute for White Radish?
The best substitute for white radish is the white salad turnip. White salad Turnips are the most genetically similar to radishes and have an almost identical taste when eaten raw. Both white salad turnip and radish grow small, delectable root bulbs topped with edible greens.
Most root vegetables share a similar earthy taste with varying levels of spice and sweetness. If you love the spiciness of radishes, then horseradish, kohlrabi, and turnips will have the same kick. If you are looking for a sweeter alternative, then parsnips, beets, carrots, and rutabaga are your best bet.
For more, don’t miss The 9 Best and Most Similar Cabbage Substitutes.
Anne James has a wealth of expertise in a wide array of interests, including quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, and making jelly.
She has a professional canning business and has been featured in the local newspaper, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is.
With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass.
Lovingly known as “Jelly Grandma” by her grandkids, Anne hopes your visit here has been a sweet one.