Watermelon Radish Mini Tacos are crispy, slightly spicy, and taste like a spring garden in your mouth.
There are some dishes where even a carnivore won’t miss the meat because an explosion of flavors transcends every expectation. When you maximize flavor combinations, even the most ordinary dish becomes extraordinary.
So, you might ask, how does one learn to maximize flavor and become a culinary flavor superstar? A great starting point is The Vegetarian Flavor Bible, by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, a brand new and truly amazing reference book that allows you to unleash your inner creative chef and turn up the flavor volume way high in your cooking.
I recently attended a book-signing event for The Vegetarian Flavor Bible at Melissa’s Produce. As you can probably see by the photo below, I’m an unabashed fan of these two-time James Beard Award winners.
I already have Karen & Andrew’s book, The Flavor Bible. It is my go-to book when I need inspiration for creating a recipe or help with ingredient substitutions. The Vegetarian Flavor Bible expands into even greater detail about a wider range of plant-based ingredients, including vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, nuts and more.
The book profiles hundreds of foods giving their peak seasons, botanical relatives, possible substitutes, pairings, nutritional profiles, serving suggestions, flavor volume levels (quiet to extremely loud) and other cooking tips. All this is what makes the book a must if you want to take your cooking to the next level.
We started our delicious meal with fresh vegetables and fruits from Melissa’s Produce.
Chef Tom Fraker walked us through all of the culinary delights prepared for us. My favorite was the Watermelon Radish Tacos. They’re crisp, slightly spicy, and taste like a spring garden in your mouth, in addition to being stunning on a plate.
Roasted Bell Pepper, Basil & Parmesan Hummus & Spanish Marinated Portobello Mushrooms with Dutch Yellow Potatoes
Roasted Parsnips, Carrots & San Marzano Tomatoes & Soy Sloppy Joes
These sandwiches were made with Melissa’s Soy Ground. I honestly couldn’t tell there wasn’t any meat in it. Quite amazing.
We all managed to save room for delicious Strawberry-Rhubarb Muffins topped with Ojai Pixie Tangerines.
Once our palates and stomachs were satisfied, Karen gave a compelling talk about her journey to becoming vegetarian. She had lost several family members to cancer, which made her rethink her carnivore ways. I, like her, was shocked to learn that the number-one cause of death in America is nutritionally controllable diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. After eliminating meat Karen eliminated her digestive issues and lost 20 lbs. in the process.
Karen contends that a plant-based diet is the healthiest way to eat. I agree, and this is one reason The Vegetarian Flavor Bible is a new staple in my kitchen even though I haven’t cut meat completely out.
Even if you consider yourself a committed carnivore, this book will help you create endless possibilities for astounding flavor combinations.
Today’s recipe: Watermelon Radish Mini Tacos
If you haven’t ever encountered a watermelon radish you are in for a real treat. Karen Page describes them in The Vegetarian Flavor Bible as slightly sweet, with notes of jicama and/or pepper. I say they look like summer and taste like spring, and inspire a masterpiece on a plate or canvas. (This is why I will leave describing food to the experts.)
Note: Watermelon radishes are an heirloom Chinese Daikon radish. It is a member of the Brassica (mustard) family along with arugula, broccoli, and turnips. You can find them in higher-end grocery stores and at local farmer’s markets.
Watermelon Radish Mini Tacos
- ½ Melissa's Kool Cabbage or Napa cabbage, shredded
- ¼ red onion diced small
- 2 each purple yellow and orange baby carrots, tops removed; halved lengthwise; sliced thin
- 4 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 1 pinch freshly ground pepper
- 1 Melissa's watermelon radish sliced very thin
- 1 small bunch fresh cilantro chopped fine
- 2 fresh limes cut into small wedges
- 20 to othpicks
Place the cabbage, red onion and carrots in individual bowls and add equal amounts of the rice vinegar. Season them with the salt and pepper and toss. Place equal amounts of the cabbage, onion and carrots onto each of the radish slices. Add the cilantro, fold them in half and secure with a toothpick. Serve with the lime wedges.
I love so many cookbooks for various reasons, but I don’t write about them. This book is one of my newest favorites along with The Flavor Bible. Even though there aren’t any recipes in this book, the possibilities of new creations will keep you inspired for a lifetime.
Life is too short not to make food you love.
…and then, she paused for thought.
I’m always learning something new from you! Now I know about watermelon radishes sliced thin and piled high with goodness! Awesome and lovely!
Thanks Leslie. They are quiet refreshing as well.
Cathy, this is such an excellent recap, and you captured the beauty of the event perfectly. Just lovely. 🙂
Thanks Valentina! It was such a wonderful event.
Those tacos are sooooo beautiful! Wish I could have them for dinner! I’m very interested in the new Vegetarian Flavor Bible although sadly I’m not sure how to use a “flavor bible.” Next blog? 🙂
Thanks Nan. What a great idea, I will dive further into how I use this book in a future post.
Every time I need to substitute something I go to the Flavor Bible. When I am creating a new recipe I look at flavor profiles to determine what works together. A lot of times I see combination in the book that I never would have thought of. It is book of inspirations for me.
Nancy Rose Eisman
Ditto what Valentina said. You really did the event, food, and especially the book justice. Of course the fact that your photography is outstanding doesn’t hurt! Looking forward to more recommendations from you.
Thanks Nancy, Melissa’s Produce has such great events. I can’t say enough good things about the book or the authors.
You were the person who turned me on to the Flavor Bible, and it is indeed my cooking bible that I use every week. I wasn’t aware of the Vegetarian version. I need to order it now!
Your radish tacos are spectacular!
Thanks Kelly, you will LOVE the Vegetarian Flavor Bible. I don’t know how people create recipes without it.
This is just so clever. Perfect party food and I can’t wait to try it. GREG
Cathy | She Paused 4 Thought
Thanks Greg, I think you will really like this.
Fabulous write up of the event and I loved those little radish tacos – can’t wait to make them!!
These are adorable!! Pinning 🙂
Thanks Sue! They are adorable and tasty as well. Thanks for stopping by!
Priscilla @ She's Cookin'
Watermelon radishes are so incredibly beautiful – I wish they were more widely available. I’m sorry I had to miss this event, I heard Karen and Andrew speak at IFBC in Seattle and Nancy brought me the book, so I’ll just have to make that gorgeous taco myself!
Priscilla is was one of my favorite events. I was so inspired. And yes, I do wish watermelon radishes were more available as well.
Who knew a “Taco” could look so appetizing??? Just gorgeous color and looks so tasty!!!
Amazing recipe! I never knew such a dish even exist! This is one of the best “food discovery” moments in my life and I’m definitely trying out that recipe some time.
I work for a foodtech company called Chicory and wonder if you would be interested in becoming our recipe partner!? Please let me know!