Carrot and Daikon Salad with Carrotini Dressing
March 20, 2010

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Happy Saturday, guys.

It has been a beautiful day in NYC, which I spent cheerfully darting between clients and an author event. It is also the 25th anniversary of Meatout. What’s Meatout? Since you asked:

On (or around) March 20 — the first day of spring — thousands of caring people in all 50 U.S. states and two dozen other countries get active to host educational Meatout events. Activities include colorful festivals, lectures, public dinners, feed-ins, cooking demos, food samplings, leafleting, information tables and more.

The occasion is the world’s largest and oldest annual grassroots diet education campaign. Meatout 2010 is the 25th Anniversary! Every spring, thousands of caring Meatout supporters educate their communities and ask their friends, families, and neighbors to pledge to “kick the meat habit (at least for a day) and explore a wholesome, compassionate diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.”

Pretty cool, right? I confess that I didn’t have a chance to participate in any Meatout activities today–I was too busy commemorating various feminist anniversaries–but every day in casa Gena is an exploration of wholesome and compassionate foods! And I did have a chance to make a tasty, veggie-ful dinner.

Daikon radish is one of those foods–like goji berries, bean curd, seaweed, or alfalfa sprouts–that’s practically a punchline in healthy eating jokes. One of my clients who was trying to lose weight used to jokingly ask me “Gena, do I have to eat daikon radish??” I actually never quite understood the question–as far as I know there’s nothing inherently slimming about daikon, aside from the fact that it’s low in calories and a mild diuretic–but I got the point: daikon is one of those vegetables that’s toted as a detoxifier, cleanser, and magical convoy of health. I’m not so sure about these claims, but I do know that daikon is high in vitamin C, tasty, and versatile.

It actually took me quite a long time to warm up to daikon. I despise regular radishes, and was skittish about trying these giant ones. I also hated the smell of daikon as I boiled it in soups or broths: let’s just say that it’s distinctively “earthy”–imagine the smell of broccoli or cauliflower as it steams, and then intensify it a bit. Yeah. But there’s an easy solution: eat daikon raw! Which is precisely what I did tonight. Some say that daikon helps with the absorption of beta-carotene, and using that truism as inspiration, I decided to marry grated daikon radish and carrots together in a salad that’s fresh, crunchy, and refreshing. As a dressing, I’d originally imagined a simple tahini and lemon blend. But since I had some carrot juice in my fridge, I decided to put it to good use, and carrotini dressing–destined to be a new favorite–was born. Here’s how it all comes together.

Carrot and Daikon Salad with Carrotini Dressing (serves 4)

For the salad:

2 large carrots, grated
2 daikon radish, grated

For the dressing (this yields 2 1/2-3 cups)

3/4 cup tahini (raw is preferable, but roasted is OK if you can’t find it)
1 cup carrot juice
2 tbsp nama shoyu
1 1/2 inch piece of ginger
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1-2 pitted dates (optional)

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender till creamy. Thin with water if it’s too thick.

Grate carrot and daikon and mix well. Divide into four bowls and dress each serving with about 3 tbsp dressing. Serve over a massaged kale salad for variety of texture and some green power!

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This meal, which I served with some of Lydia’s amazing luna nori crackers, welcomed the warm weather perfectly.

Any big daikon fans in the audience? What are some other “healthy foods” you love to eat and redefine? I’d love to hear about them. But for now, enough writing. I’ve got reading to do, and I look forward to enjoying a balmy breeze as I do it!

Get outside and enjoy the evening, friends.

xo

Categories: Raw, Salads

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    38 Comments
  1. In soups, I prefer to use daikon instead of potatoes, as it does not get mushy upon reheating.

  2. This looks so good and kid-friendly. I can’t get my kid to eat simmered daikon because of the smell. Here’s a tip to soften the flavor of daikon: Soak it for an hour in the cloudy water that you used to soak or rinse rice. Voila! Perfect for a raw salad.

  3. This looks delicious! I just recently ate daikon for the first time… like many readers, I was skeptical because I don’t tend to like (raw) radishes. For anyone who wants to try a different twist on normal radishes, try roasting them with a bit of olive oil and sea salt! I don’t like raw radishes at all, but roasting them takes all of the bitterness out and you’re left with a delicious bite-size treat!

  4. wow, that dressing sounds great. definitely just bookmarked it.

    fyi, i just nominated you for an award…nature’s made gave me an award and then they asked who i wanted to nominate and it was a no-brainer. so you may be contacted by them about the healing hearts club.

    happy(ish?) monday gena

  5. I think I like daikon…? I can’t quite recall having a particular daikonic moment, but I know I’ve had it, what with all the Japanese food I’ve had. Anyway this sounds like a great salad – the look of it reminds me of the Thai Me Up from Angelica. Love the textures of that so I want to try this. The “carrotini” name had me thinking more along the lines of “martini” than tahini, I’ll admit. I saw that and was like, uh did she put booze in a recipe? This should be interesting.

    But hey maybe next time you should spike it and just see what happens. 😉

  6. I love daikon and have never experienced any unpleasant odor or flavor when it cooks, although normally, I just shred it raw and add it to salads. 🙂 I just bought 2 yesterday, in fact.

  7. Neat recipe!

    I’ve never actually had daikon radish, apart from the pickled kind. I like watermelon radishes but I’m not fond of normal ones.

    One food I love that gets me tons of “ewws!” from my family is sauerkraut. I could eat that stuff on anything. Then I discovered kimchi, so I switch between the two. Yummy!

    And I love goat dairy. Everyone in my family thinks it’s gross. I really like the weird, tart taste of it though. Goat yogurt is awesome.

  8. This looks great! So funny, I got into veganism from watching Christina Pirello cook vegan on TV and she always used a daikon! The first time I had it I didn’t like it, then it grew on me. I felt “official” lol!

    Great seeing your pretty face today! 🙂 How ironic, Thomas and I wanted to get into the park this morning (since Sun morn = no traffic and 30 min ride). He was like “Ever hear of Peacefood cafe? We should go!” I was like, “yea I think Gena talked about it on her blog!” Then we see you there! Too funny!

  9. Looks Yummy! Just wondering, what kind of grater do you use? The carrots and daikon look perfect!

  10. This looks great! I have only tried daikon at authentic japanese sushi restaurants, where they place thin slices on sushi platters, and I like it! I did not, however, for the longest time know it was radish. Because I HATE regular radish… and probably would not have tried daikon, knowing it was radish! hah. So now that I like it, I think I need to give this recipe a try!

    xo
    K

  11. Do you often use the salad dressing provided by restaurants? I had a salad entree at a semi-fancy French restaurant and even though I requested the dressing on the side (I find some dressings too acidic for me), the chef said that’s the French way (dressing already mixed in). So ‘on the side’ is an American habit?? Since the chef is so adamant, I just went with it, even though it’s not to my preference.

  12. Tororo, which is grated mountain yam. It goes with Japanese soba and because of its’ ‘sliminess’, it’s an qcquired taste, but I love it!

  13. As a tahini lover and a condiment whore, I LOVED the idea of your carrotini dressing. Bet it tasted amazing Gena. Never prepared daikon for myself. Always kind of intimidates me in the produce section, but I have had a raw Thai salad with daikon noodles. Tasty!

  14. My CSA in San Diego I was FLOODED with daikon this time of year! And huge jass radishes too. And I used to chop them up and put them in everything. Scott was like…oh, radish season is here, again. Great. LOL But no, they are good and I miss my CSA. Great job on the dressing, and the whole meal is just so Gena-esque, I love it!

  15. I am embarassed to say that I’ve never had daikon! But if you say its good than I need to check it out.

    So glad you are having such great weather in NYC!

  16. I LOVE daikon! Whenever my mom makes daikon kimchi (which you have to try, Gena, it’s amazing!), I sneak up and still some raw daikon to munch on. It’s so refreshing! I really do like the carrotini dressing you suggested though. I’ll have to try that!

  17. Oh. Daikon is an everyday food back in Japan. I think it has amylase enzyme and so it’s good for you (to eat raw).
    There are hundreds of varieties of daikon. If you can find the one with green neck, try it — it’s milder and sweeter. The Korean kind is very spicy.
    The most common way to eat daikon in Japan is to grate it and use as a kind of salsa, to go with grilled fish or meat.

  18. i went to an amazing vegan restaurant today and they used daikon to garnish my salad. since i’ve never had it before, i didn’t know what it was but asked them what the “yummy tasting white garnish” was and they told me about daikon. apparently i love it :). thanks so much for the great recipe. it’s perfect timing since i was wondering how to incorporate it.

    thanks!
    xox

  19. mmmmm that looks so good! i just bought a daikon and some carrots today. i will definitely be trying your recipe!

  20. I’m not a fan of regular radishes really either, but I bought a daikon and it’s pretty tasted. That salad looks great with the carrots and the tahini dressing over a massaged kale salad, which by the way is one of my favorite salads ever!!