This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.
Looking for some daikon radish substitutes? You’re in luck! Many different vegetables can be used as an alternative in recipes. In this post, we’ll discuss some of the best substitutes for daikon radish. We’ll also provide some tips on how to choose the best one and rock your meal!
But before we do that, let’s take a look at what is a daikon radish and what it tastes like. This information will help us pick to closed match we need!
What Is A Daikon Radish?
The daikon radish is also known as the “winter radish” or “Japanese radish.” It is a large white radish with a mild, slightly sweet but peppery taste (think arugula.) It also has a very crisp and juicy texture. But that changes quite a bit if the daikon is cooked. Once cooked, both top and bottom, the flavors mellow and become sweeter. Almost like a turnip.
It can range in size from six inches to over two feet in length and three inches in diameter. Pretty amazing for a radish!
Daikon is often used in Asian cuisine, where it can be served raw in salads or pickled, cooked as a side dish, or added to soups and stir fry. In addition to its culinary uses, daikon has also been used for centuries in traditional Japanese medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties and potential health benefits, such as aiding digestion and weight loss.
Though the entire vegetable is edible, the leaves are particularly nutritious and high in vitamins. When selecting daikon at the market, look for firm radishes with smooth skin with no cracks or blemishes.
Key Characteristics of Daikon Radishes
When finding a replacement, here are some key things to look for:
- White in Appearance
- Crispy Texture
- Mild Flavor
- Slightly Peppery
Daikon Radish Substitutes
Joseon-mu, or Korean radishes, are a type of white radish. These radishes make for a good substitute for daikon radishes because they have a crisp, sweet, and peppery flavor that is similar to the daikon. They are also white in appearance and have a crunchy texture. You can find these radishes in Korean or Asian markets.
Table Radishes come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. They are the most common type of radish, and they are typically small and round with red or white skin. You have probably seen them in the produce aisle. This makes it super easy to find!
Table radishes can be eaten raw or cooked, and they have a crispy texture and a slightly spicy flavor. When cooked, that spicy flavor mellows out almost completely, leaving a creamy texture. Many people on low-carb diets have been using cooked radishes as a potato substitute.
Table radishes, when raw, would make a wonderful substitute for daikon. Cooked, they are a little more of a stretch, but they will work as well!
Jicama, also known as the yam bean, is a root vegetable that is native to Mexico. It has a crispy texture and a mild, slightly sweet but mild flavor. Can you see the daikon connection there? But because it lacks the peppery kick, you can add a pinch of black pepper or even horseradish.
Jicama is often eaten raw and is a popular ingredient in salads and slaws. It can also be cooked and is often used in stir-fries and stews. But it doesn’t become soft when cooked. It tends to maintain its crispiness. In addition to being low in calories and fat, jicama is a good source of fiber and vitamin C.
Turnips are root vegetable that is typically white or yellow in color. They have a slightly sweet and peppery flavor and can be eaten raw or cooked. Boom, daikon characteristics!
Turnips are a good source of Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. When shopping for turnips, look for ones that are firm and have smooth, unblemished skin. Avoid turnips that are soft or have bruised or discolored spots.
To prepare turnips, simply wash them thoroughly under running water. They can then be eaten raw, roasted, boiled, or mashed. Once cooked, they tend to lose their pepperiness and mellow out. Some even say that it has almost a hint of potato, kind of like cooked table radishes.
Turnips are versatile root vegetables and can be a good swap for daikon.
Parsnips are also a root vegetable that is often mistaken for a carrot. They have creamy white flesh and a sweet, nutty, earthy flavor. Parsnips are native to Europe and Asia and have been cultivated since Roman times.
They were once an important food source in Europe and were even used as currency during the Middle Ages. “I shall give you a bushel of parsnips for that chicken!“
Today, parsnips are not as popular as they once were, but they are still good options for replacing daikon radishes. I would add some black pepper to give it that peppery bite.
This option is at the bottom of my list. Yes, it will work if that’s all you have or can get, but it’s not the best option on this list. Kohlrabi is a member of the brassica family, which includes cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
It is an annual vegetable that is grown for its edible bulb. The bulb is characterized by its distinctive shape; it is round with thick, fleshy leaves that enclose it. Kohlrabi can be eaten raw or cooked. When eaten raw, it has a sweet yet peppery taste and sounds like daikon, BUT kohlrabi tends to have a broccoli stem or cabbage-like flavor. Yeah, not the best on similar flavors.
Substitutes For Daikon Radishes That Don’t Work
The crazy world of the internet shares some odd ideas on what you can replace for daikon. And as a true blue foodie, I have to be real with you and say YEAH, NO! So, here is a list of swaps I would not recommend.
- Horseradish – Radish may be in the name, but this root is not playing any games! Horseradish is extremely hot and spicy. Nothing mild or crisp! If you want to test your heat tolerance, then go ahead and give it a go. Other than that hard pass!
- Beetroot – Yeah…no. Beets are great, but they have a sweet earthy flavor with a very vibrant red color. That color is so strong that it will make your dish turn pink!
- Cabbage or Cabbage Hearts – If you are gonna jump into the brassica family, go with Kohlrabi and not cabbage. Cabbage is missing the wrong texture, flavor, and more. It’s way off…
- Carrots – Carrots are great, but they are not the right flavor profile to be swapped with daikon.
My Final Thoughts On Daikon Radish Alternatives
We have covered some of the best daikon radish substitutes and some that you should avoid. When shopping for a daikon radish alternative, look for crisp vegetables that have a mild flavor and can be eaten raw or cooked. The best substitutes on this list are Korean radishes, table radishes, jicama, turnips, parsnips, and kohlrabi.