In Peru we eat a salsa called Salsa Criolla with almost every meal. This salsa is made with thinly sliced red onions, chili, lime juice, and cilantro and served in a bowl on the table so each person can help herself to it. It´s always made in the moment so the onion is still bright and crunchy when you eat it, and if you try it, you will soon realize that it goes well with almost anything. Perhaps this is thanks to the acidic lime juice together with the raw onion, a combination that adds a lot of freshness to to even the heaviest dish. Just that small (or large, depending on how much you like it) amount of raw onion on top of your food makes any recipe lighter and more nutritious, and has you eating more veggies almost without realizing it.
A few years ago I was chatting with Amelia, my parents´cook during most of my early life, and I was telling her that I didn’t like the taste of radishes. There was a tone of disappointment in my voice, as I told her I had tried it in different ways, but couldn’t deal with the bitter taste of this cute looking veggie. Having raised 4 healthy and robust kids who eat absolutely everything you put in front of them, she didn’t buy into this. The very next meal, she surprised me with a bowl of colorful Salsa Criolla, this time made with thinly sliced radishes instead of onions. She served it over a plate of brown rice and lentils, and watched me carefully as I ate. It worked. For the first time in my life, I actually enjoyed this vegetable. My theory is that the acidity of the lime juice together with the aromatic cilantro made the radishes’ bitterness seem milder. This, and the fact that it was served as a sauce on top of a large dish of food, took its strong taste away from the limelight, and complemented all the other flavors to perfection. From that day on, I asked her to make the Salsa Criolla this way. She was very pleased and proud to be the person who taught me how to enjoy eating this healthy vegetable.
Why did I stubbornly insist on finding a way to enjoy radishes despite not liking them at first?
For starters, their bitter taste is evidence of their healing properties for the liver and of how detoxifying they are. As I mentioned in my post about Spring produce, this is the perfect time of the year to consume this kind of veggies and help your body do a deep Spring cleanse. I even dedicated a juice to this vegetable in my book Detox Juicing. It´s called “I Love Radishes”.
Other than this, radishes:
Prevent heart and digestive conditions.
Help with constipation, thanks to their high fiber content.
Improve different kinds of cancer.
Have a low glycemic index, making them ideal for people who suffer from diabetes, or preventing it.
Reduce high blood pressure thanks to their high potassium content.
Decrease congestion and other respiratory symptoms caused by the common cold, allergies, or infections.
Are good for the skin, even when applied directly on it, thanks to their moisturizing and disinfecting properties.
Soothe kidney conditions and urinary infections thanks to their diuretic, detoxifying, and disinfecting properties.
These are just some of the benefits of eating this super food that nature has gifted us with. Now you get why I wasn’t going to give up so quickly?
As I mentioned in my previous blog post, my goal during all this month is to eat one salad each day. This challenge brought this salsa, which is really more of a salad, back to mind, and I decided to make it again and share with you, so you can enjoy its great taste and health benefits too. You can serve it as an appetizer, as a side dish, or as a salsa on top of your food (the way we Peruvians serve our beloved Salsa Criolla). If you make a large batch ahead of time and keep it in a tightly closed container in the fridge, you can then serve a couple spoonfuls (or more if you really like it) on top of every dish, and you will be eating more healthy veggies with every meal without even noticing it.
*Extra tip: Try making this salsa with thinly sliced cucumber instead of radishes for a different taste, or use parsley instead of cilantro if you prefer (both greatly detoxifying).
Here´s the recipe. I hope you like it and make it a part of your healthy diet!
Wishing you health & happiness,
|Radish Salsa|| |
- 1 cup finely sliced radishes (you can use a knife or a mandolin to slice them)
- 2 tablespoons cilantro (whole leaves or chopped)
- 1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Mix everything in a bowl, and serve.
Léelo en Español!