Beauty Heart Radish, Ahi Tuna, Avocado, Fennel and Sweet Green Salad

Radiant Radishes in Sweet Greens

Radiant Radishes in Sweet Greens

I’ve just harvested a bunch of “Beauty Heart” Chinese heirloom radishes from my little garden by the lake! The pale yellow soft green skin make this radish look almost turnip-like. But don’t judge this root veggie by her outward appearance, it’s all about what’s inside! You’re one slice away from meh to marvelous! Her magical fuchsia-rose colored flesh interior is simply stunning. They taste good too - not so peppery on the palette as other radishes, they have a slight sweetness, satisfying crunch and can grow up to size of small baseball. This is probably why they’re more commonly known in the culinary world as the “Watermelon Radish”.

Couldn’t wait to pickle some slices to make this salad! It is refreshing, light and layered with flavors. Just like a fresh bite of Spring!

Fed this to the Vikings last night for dinner and received two thumbs up! To make this a more filling dish for their dinner, I added a side of cauliflower risotto with parmesan cheese and sea salt by Alexia . Then tossed in shelled edamame in the last few minutes to compliment the seared ahi tuna. A nice balance and easy side to make up quickly!

Special Notes:

Look for these radishes at your farmer’s market or grow your own! Check out my Plant of the Week blog post on how easy it is to cultivate these from seed. In the desert where I live, we grow these from Sep-Mar. I bought my Beauty Heart Chinese heirloom seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

Beauty Heart Radish, Ahi Tuna, Avocado, Fennel and Sweet Green Salad

Serves 4

Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time:  1 hour minimum for the advance pickling of radish slices. 15 minutes for ahi tuna.

Recommend using organic, local and fresh harvested ingredients whenever possible. Support your local growers by shopping from the Farmer’s Markets in your community.


For the Dressing ( I would double this to have extra to serve as a side)

  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

  • 2 tablespoon rice vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon-style prepared mustard

  • 2 teaspoons light agave or raw local honey (orange blossom)

  • sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

For the Watermelon Radish Pickles

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

  • 2-3 medium beauty heart radishes

For the Salad

  • 1 head green butter lettuce

  • 1 head or bag of baby red butter lettuce

  • 1 large avocado (ripe, but not over-ripe)

  • 2 Persian cucumbers, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds

  • 3 ounces pickled watermelon radish slices (about 10-12 slices)

  • 3/4 cup fennel, sliced thin on a mandolin

  • 3-5 branches from the fennel fronds

  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

  • 1/2 cup shredded green apple

  • 1/3 cup toasted pepitas

For the Ahi Tuna

  • 4 pieces of Ahi Tuna (sushi grade) - 5 ounces each - 1 inch thick

  • 4 tablespoons white sesame seeds

  • 4 tablespoons black sesame seeds

  • dash of sea salt and fresh ground pepper

  • 1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil


Make the dressing

  1. In a bowl with whisk or in a jar with a tight fitting lid combine the zest, juice, vinegar, mustard, agave/honey, salt, and pepper. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. You can make this a day in advance to save on prep time.

Make the pickled radishes

  1. In a jar with a tight fitting lid combine the vinegar, sugar, and salt. Place the lid tightly on the jar and shake until the sugar and salt have completely dissolved. Set aside.

  2. Use a mandolin to slice the beauty heart radish in uniform slices that are paper thin. Transfer the radish slices to the jar with the brine, seal tightly, shake to distribute the brine in between the radish slices, and transfer to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to an hour before using.

Sear the Ahi Tuna

  1. Place sesame seeds on a plate. Pat dry tuna steaks with a paper towel to remove excess water. Season lightly with sea salt and black pepper on both sides.

  2. Dredge and press tuna in sesame seeds, coating the tuna evenly on all sides. Sprinkle with more seeds as needed.

  3. In a frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil until just smoking. I use a cast iron pan.

  4. Frying two portions at a time, arrange the tuna steaks in the pan (do not overcrowd) and cook until the sesame seeds start to turn golden underneath, about 1-3 minutes.

  5. Turn the tuna over and cook for 1 minute.

  6. Sear the edges of the tuna for 15 seconds on each edge.

  7. Transfer the tuna to a plate with a paper towel, gently patting to soak up any excess oil. Repeat with remaining tuna portions.

  8. Transfer tuna to a cutting board and cut 1/2-inch thick slices then into bite sized pieces.

Build your Salad

  1. Keeping the leaves whole, use 1/2 of the leaves from the butter lettuce head and place around the rim of the platter, leaving the center open in the middle. Place some of the red butter leaves on top of the whole green butter leaves. Pull off the remaining leaves from the head of butter lettuce and add them with the remaining red butter leaves in a bowl and toss with 1/3 of the dressing.

  2. Place the dressed lettuce in center of the platter. Slice and fan your avocado and place the two avocado fans around the upper and lower corners of the circle. Add cucumber, radish slices, and fennel slices. Sprinkle the salad with the pomegranate seeds, shredded green apple, and pepitas. Tuck in the fennel frond branches around the edges and middle. Add pieces of Ahi Tuna last. Drizzle some of the dressing over the entire platter. Serve with the remaining dressing on the side.

I adapted this recipe from this Mess is Ours.