Radish Greens Pesto packs a peppery, nutritional punch! Be sure to save those radish tops to make this delicious pesto that’s perfect with pasta, chicken, fish, and potatoes!
If you grew up the way I did, you just didn’t waste food. A culinary trend that’s super hot right now when it comes to vegetables is to use as much of the plant as possible. This trend makes total sense. Gardening is also hard work so you don’t want your hard work ending up in the compost bin.
We eagerly anticipate the first radish from our garden each spring. In fact, there could be more photos of first spring radishes on my husband’s Facebook page than photos of our grandkids!
I had heard about making pesto with radish greens and at first, I wasn’t too hip about the idea. After making and trying it, I’m in pesto love and plan to freeze a batch each year just as we do basil pesto.
Can you eat radish greens?
Radish greens are completely edible. Because of their coarse texture, they tend to not work well in salads unless they’re young and very small. This Radish Greens Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing makes full use of those young and tender radish greens!
They can be cooked like any other green, but there too, you’ll want to use young and tender leaves. The texture of the leaves is why they’re perfect as a pesto. After they’ve been processed into pesto, you won’t notice the rough texture at all.
Here’s another reason to save those radish greens. According to Livestrong.com, radish greens are a nutritional powerhouse, ranking right up there with broccoli and kale in terms of antioxidants. They’re also high in vitamin C and calcium. Wow!
How to make Radish Greens Pesto:
- First, clean them well. Radish greens can be muddy. To thoroughly wash them, fill a sink with cool water.
- Place the greens in the sink and gently move them around. Doing so helps the dirt detach.
- Remove the leaves then drain and rinse the sink.
- Fill the sink again and repeat the process. I do this several times until I’m confident no dirt remains.
- Radish greens wilt quickly when separated from the root, so placing them in cool water like this also helps to perk them up. When you’re confident they’re nice and clean, spin dry in a salad spinner. After that, pack the leaves into a food processor and you’re ready to roll!
- This pesto has many of the same ingredients as a traditional basil pesto: Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil and nuts.
- Because of their pungent, peppery flavor, I suggest using mild, sweet nuts such as almonds, macadamia or pistachios. If you are allergic to nuts, use sunflower seeds instead.
- A little bit of lemon juice in the pesto really punches up the flavor. If you plan to freeze the pesto, leave out the cheese and garlic and add them when you’re ready to serve the pesto.
Radish Greens Pesto is great with almost anything! Serve with fish, chicken, pasta, potatoes and any other way you would serve traditional pesto. Enjoy!
Recipes that use Radish Greens Pesto or where you can use it:
- Naan Potato Pizza with Radish Top Pesto and Smoked Mozzarella
- Green Minestrone with Radish Greens Pesto
- Oven Fries with Spicy Pesto Aioli
- Lasagna with Pesto, Green Beans and Potatoes
Radish Greens Pesto
- 4 cups (packed) radish tops - (4 good handfuls) washed and dried
- 4 cloves garlic - finely chopped
- ½ large lemon - (approximately 2 tablespoons) juiced
- ½ cup sliced or slivered almonds - or coarsely chopped macadamia nuts or pistachios
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil - plus more as needed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper - to taste
- Combine first 6 ingredients in a food processor or blender. (If you can't get all the greens into your processor, work in batches.)
- Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Add additional olive oil to achieve a thick sauce consistency. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you're using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.