This post was originally published on June 7, 2009.
Marie-Therese, who was French and married to a Lebanese, told me one day (that was probably 35 years ago) that she was helping their family cook, Amira, who was so poor that she had to eat radish greens. I remember this conversation because of the dramatic tone of voice of Marie-Therese and her intense empathy for poor Amira. I was saddened by the news, because in our household we ate radishes but we would discard the green leaves.
Today, nutritionists would no doubt encourage people to eat more of these radish greens!
Check this out: 6 times more Vitamin C than the actual radish, calcium, rich in potassium, full of antioxidants, helps gallbladder and liver and relieves flatulence and indigestion…one of the many benefits of eating the poor, overlooked and humble radish greens!
This salad is a balance of flavors and textures. The radish greens provide body and earthiness and a bit of bite, the golden raisins offer sweetness, the onions some slight tanginess and acidity and the garbanzo beans are mellowing the ensemble!
This recipe was picked out of the more than 600 from Chef Ramzi’s book The Culinary Heritage of Lebanon. I found it and jumped because it reminded me of this friend and her maid and also because I honestly had never tried a dish of radish greens before.
- Greens from 2 bunches of radishes
- 1 teaspoon of mashed or crushed garlic with a pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup of raisins (substitute cranberries or cherries or dates)
- 1 onion or 3 scallions; if using onion, cut in rings, scallions need to be chopped fine
- 1 can of cooked garbanzo beans (or 1/2 can)
- Wash and dry the radish greens. Chop them coarsely.
- Make the dressing by mixing the garlic, lemon juice and olive oil.
- Add to the radish greens the raisins, scallions and garbanzo beans. Mix and pour the dressing.
You can plump up the raisins in some hot water for 30 minutes if you wish. I always cook the canned garbanzo in some fresh water for 30 minutes to get rid of the metallic taste, but it is strictly your call.