Appetizer/ Entertaining/ Vegetarian

Red Radish Crostini with Lemon Ricotta

June 17, 2020 by Chef Molly

Red Radish Crostini make a gorgeous spring appetizer. Buttery crostini toasts topped with lemon ricotta spread and sliced radishes.

overhead shot of red radish crostini toasts with lemon ricotta spread

Wondering what you can do with radishes? They are so pretty displayed at the stands in my local vegetable market. And, they are one of the quickest and easiest vegetables you can grow yourself. In fact, I remember distinctly my pride in pulling up my first batch of radishes several years ago when I started my backyard garden. I happily rinsed and chopped them, serving them in salads, but soon realized I had no idea what else I might do with them. In fact, there are many uses for radishes (read on below), but one of my current favorites is this Red Radish Crostini with Lemon Ricotta. 

Should you invite a couple of lucky friends over for a glass of wine, this is a perfect spring appetizer. You’ll just thinly slice a baguette to make crostini toasts, and prepare a simple lemon ricotta spread. Put it together with slices of fresh local radishes, and you have a delicious but light entrée that pairs beautifully with a glass of rosé or a dry white. You can even swap out the crostini for sandwich bread to make tea sandwiches, and serve next to a salad or a bowl of soup for lunch.  

baguette, lemon, ricotta cheese, radishes, olive oil, and pepper on a table

How to Prepare Crostini

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Slice a baguette into rounds horizontally, about 1/4-1/3 inch thick, and place on parchment paper.

Combine olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt in a small bowl.

Use a pastry brush to brush the olive oil and salt mixture onto the top of each baguette slice.

baguette slices on parchment-lined sheet pan with small bowl of olive oil and pastry brush

Toast in the oven for 10 minutes, until lightly browned. 

toasted crostini on parchment-lined sheet pan

How to Prepare Red Radishes and Lemon Ricotta Spread

Cut off the greens from a bunch of radishes (save them, and use for a salad or to make pesto).

Rinse radishes. Cut off tops and ends, then slice radishes thinly.

Combine 8 ounces ricotta cheese, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt in a small bowl.

small bowl of ricotta cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt with spoon

After crostini have cooled for a few minutes, top with a small dollop of the ricotta cheese mixture and then with a few slices of radish.

assembly of radish crostini with crostini topped with lemon ricotta spread and some with sliced radishes, with small bowl of ricotta spread

Sprinkle generously with freshly ground black pepper, and top with a few sprinkles of chopped parsley, if desired.  

Can I made these Red Radish Crostini in advance?

Crostini can be baked, radishes prepped and sliced, and lemon ricotta spread made a few hours before serving. Wait to assemble until ready to serve though, since toasts will get soggy if made in advance.

What are the types of radishes?

Radishes are root vegetables, and come from the same cruciferous family as cabbage, turnips, and broccoli. The most common variety is the red radish, pictured in this recipe. White daikon radishes are quite large. Black radishes are peppery, and white on the inside. Daikon and black radishes are often grated or cut into small pieces since their flavor can be quite pungent. French breakfast radishes are usually mild in flavor, and are red with white tips. Colorful watermelon radishes are bright pink inside and green on the outside. Easter egg radishes are grown from a seed mix of radishes with different skin colors, so the radishes that pop up are a mix of purple, pink, white, and red. 

What are the benefits of eating radishes?

Radishes are high in vitamin C and also include small amounts of potassium, folate, magnesium, and several other vitamins and minerals. They are low in calories and fat but contain 1g of fiber in a 1/2-cup serving. 

When are radishes in season?

You can often find red radishes year-round, as they store well. But in general, most varieties of radishes are in season in the spring. If you want to try growing your own, they are easy to start from seeds in the early spring. They grow quite quickly—some varieties are ready to harvest in just 3 weeks! This makes them ideal for growing with kids—much less delayed gratification than with many other vegetables. And, as you thin them after they first sprout, you can rinse the sprouts you thin and then eat them as salad greens. Interestingly, radishes become spicier the longer they are in the ground—so harvest them early for the sweetest flavor. 

green platter with red radish crostini with lemon ricotta spread

Can you eat radish greens?

Yes, radish greens are entirely edible and quite healthy. You can mix them with other greens like spinach or kale in a salad. Or sauté them in olive oil with a garlic clove for flavor. Or make soup, as in this radish leaf soup recipe by David Lebovitz

Do you need to peel red radishes?

Nope, not necessary. You should make sure to clean them well to remove any dirt, and then slice off the stem end and the tail. After that you can just slice and enjoy, or leave them whole. 

How do you store radishes?

Radishes can keep well in the refrigerator for up to a few weeks. Store them unwashed, and store the greens separately—the greens will suck water from the radishes and dry them out if left attached. Wikihow recommends storing radishes in a damp paper towel-lined, sealed plastic bag for the longest refrigerator storage.  

What else can you do with radishes?

Red radishes are delicious raw, of course, but cooking radishes is also an option. In fact, cooking radishes can mellow their spiciness. Here are a few ideas to get you started: 

  • add to potato or other vegetable soup
  • braise with other root vegetables
  • pickle them 
  • slice and use for sandwich topping
  • roast them on a sheet pan over high heat
  • make radish and butter tea sandwiches
  • slice or shred and use them as a taco topping
  • include them in a cabbage slaw
  • add chopped radishes to your tuna or chicken salad
  • include them in a crudité platter with a creamy dip

Other Delicious Appetizer Recipes

Putting a spread of appetizers together is my favorite way to entertain. The French even have a word for it, l’apèro dînatoire. Less formal than serving a three- or four-course meal, in an apèro dînatoire, guests are free to nibble on whatever they like, whenever they like. You can serve big appetizers for sharing, like my Buffalo Cauliflower Dip with Fresh Herbs or Baked Brie with Fig Jam, or appetizers that already come in single-serving size, like these crostini or my Blue Cheese and Pecan Endive Appetizer. You might also try these Cilantro-Lime Crab Salad Toasts and these Smoked Salmon Potato Chips with Everything Bagel Seasoning. Old Bay Shrimp with Dipping Sauce is always a favorite at my house, as long as your guests don’t mind getting their fingers dirty! 

small plate with two red radish crostini with lemon ricotta spread, and radish on the side
close up of two red radish crostini toasts with lemon ricotta spread and radishes in background

Red Radish Crostini with Lemon Ricotta Spread

Yield: Serves 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Red Radish Crostini make a gorgeous spring appetizer. Buttery crostini toasts topped with lemon ricotta spread and sliced radishes.

Ingredients

For the Crostini

  • 1 baguette
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/4 t. kosher salt

For the Radishes and Lemon Ricotta Spread

  • 7 oz. radishes
  • 8 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 t. lemon zest
  • 1.5 T. lemon juice
  • 1/4 t. kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped parsley, if desired, for garnish

Instructions

    1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
    2. Slice baguette into rounds horizontally, about 1/4-1/3 inch thick, and place on parchment paper.
    3. Combine olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt in a small bowl.
    4. Use a pastry brush to brush the olive oil and salt mixture onto the top of each baguette slice.
    5. Toast in the oven for 10 minutes, until lightly browned.
    6. Meanwhile, cut off radish greens (save them, and use for a salad or to make pesto), and rinse radishes.
    7. Cut off tops and ends, then slice radishes thinly.
    8. Combine ricotta cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt in a small bowl.
    9. After crostini have cooled for a few minutes, top with a small dollop of the ricotta cheese mixture and then with a few slices of radish.
    10. Sprinkle generously with pepper, and top with a few sprinkles of chopped parsley, if desired.

Notes

Extra crostini toasts can be stored in a ziplock bag or airtight container for 1-2 days. Best reheated in oven or toaster.

Leftover lemon ricotta spread will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days.

If you don't have ricotta cheese, you can try this recipe with a mild goat cheese instead. You may want to reduce the amount of lemon juice if your goat cheese is quite tangy.

Crostini can be baked, radishes prepped and sliced, and lemon ricotta spread made a few hours before serving. Wait to assemble until ready to serve though, since toasts will get soggy if made in advance.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 185Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 428mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 8g

Nutrition information is provided as a general reference for users courtesy of the online nutrition calculator Nutritionix.

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Alex
    June 23, 2020 at 12:22 am

    Such a pretty appetiser – I love radish for that gorgeous pop of colour! I can only imagine how delicious it would be with the lemon ricotta – I look forward to trying it very soon!

    • Reply
      Chef Molly
      June 26, 2020 at 1:00 pm

      Thanks Alex! I love radish for that pop of color too. But the combo with the lemon ricotta is really 😍.

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