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Food & Entertaining

Radish Dip

Author: Sydney Dye
Issue: April, 2013, Page 58

This appetizer offers a perfect way to savor an April harvest of radishes and fresh basil. The botanical name for radish, Raphanus sativus, comes from a word meaning “quickly appearing,” and it is aptly named. Radishes are one of the quickest germinating plants; for some varieties, it takes only three to seven days. If you are planning to grow your own, plant the seeds in well-tilled soil and be sure they get full sun. Look for heirloom varieties, such as ‘French Breakfast’, ‘White Icicle’, ‘Plum Purple’, or a seed mix such as ‘Easter Egg’. All are in season from April through June and October through January. Try planting a row of seeds every two weeks throughout spring to ensure an ongoing supply.

Chickpea, Radish and Basil Dip with Toasted Pita Chips

Makes 3 cups

2 cans (15 ounces each) unsalted chickpeas, drained and rinsed (reserve 1/3 cup of liquid)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 lemons, juiced and strained
½ cup (10-12 leaves) fresh basil, roughly chopped
8 radishes, diced small
1 teaspoon aged balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, peeled
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Pita bread
Sprig of basil leaves, for garnish

Photo by Garrett Cook
PLACE drained and rinsed chickpeas in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add reserved liquid, olive oil and lemon juice. Pulse until just chopped but not smooth.  
TRANSFER to a medium mixing bowl and add basil, radishes and balsamic vinegar. Stir to combine.
MASH the garlic with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, using the edge of a chef’s knife to form a paste. Add to mixture.  
REFRIGERATE for at least 30 minutes.
BEFORE serving, season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more lemon juice and/or olive oil if you prefer a creamier dip. Garnish with a sprig of whole basil leaves.
BRUSH pita bread lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.
PLACE pita on a sheet tray and broil on high for 1-3 minutes per side, until golden brown and crisp.
CUT into triangles and serve with dip.

Sydney Dye is a home gardener, chef and owner of First Fig Culinary Adventures in Scottsdale.

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are delicious high-protein legumes and are the main ingredient in the classic Mediterranean appetizer, hummus. They can be purchased canned or dry. If you buy the dry variety, you will need to soak them overnight. Look for low-sodium and organic options for the best taste and nutrition. Canned chickpeas are a great pantry staple and can be added to soups and salads.
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