Can you eat radish greens? Absolutely! Save those edible radish tops to make this delicious peppery Radish Greens Pesto recipe. Besides being packed with flavor, radish greens pack a nutritional punch! It’s perfect with pasta, pizza, chicken, fish, and potatoes or any other way you’d use traditional basil pesto.
“Amazing! To think that I have composted those fabulous radish greens for 50 years!”
Why This Recipe is a Keeper!
If you grew up the way I did, you simply did not waste food.
Because of that, I especially love that the culinary trend of cooking with scraps–using as much of vegetable plants as possible–happened. With food prices being what they are, this trend makes total sense. Gardening is also hard work, so you don’t want your hard work ending up in the compost bin.
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. This pesto with radish greens has many of the same ingredients as a traditional basil pesto: Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil and nuts.
This Radish Greens Pesto recipe is:
- One of the best radish greens recipes you’ll find online with over 200 four and five-star ratings!
- Budget-friendly because you’re not wasting anything.
- Super flavorful with a peppery note similar to arugula.
- Packed with nutrition that rivals kale! Radish greens are low in calories and are a good protein, iron and potassium source. They are also rich in antioxidants, magnesium vitamin C, and vitamin K. (Source: Healthline)
A Radish Leaf Pesto recipe is also lovely because it stays green even when frozen! No discoloration which happens quickly with basil pesto.
Let’s make it!
Can you eat radish greens?
Yes! You can eat radish greens and this Radish Greens Pesto recipe proves it. The flavor of radish greens varies depending on the variety, ranging from peppery, like arugula, to mild, like spinach. They taste similar to other leafy greens. The younger the greens, the milder their flavor.
Radish greens can be enjoyed raw or cooked, in salads, stir-fries and almost any way that you would use arugula or pesto. They’re packed with nutrition, so you definitely want to eat radish greens!
How to Make Radish Greens Pesto:
Here’s everything you’ll need to make this recipe for Radish Greens Pesto along with how to prep the ingredients. See the recipe card below for the exact quantities.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:
- Radish Greens: The texture of radish leaves is why they’re perfect for pesto. Radish greens have a coarse, rough texture, so use young, tender leaves if possible. Larger leaves can also be used, but they will be more pungent and peppery. After they’ve been processed into pesto, you won’t notice the roughness at all.
- Nuts: Any nut that does not have an overpowering flavor that will compete with the radish greens can be used such as almonds, macadamia nuts, pistachios or pine nuts. I used almonds because that’s what I had on hand. NUT-FREE SUBSTITUTIONS: Use sunflower seeds or pepitas (pumpkin seeds).
- Parmesan Cheese: Most Parmesan cheese contains animal rennet. If you want to keep this Radish Greens Pesto recipe vegetarian, use a rennet-free or vegan Parmesan cheese. For Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano from Parma to be called genuine Parmigiano-Reggiano, the Italian government requires it to contain animal rennet.
- Lemon Juice: A little lemon juice in the pesto punches up the flavor.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: You don’t need a top-shelf brand of olive oil; just a decent olive oil you enjoy using is fine.
- First, clean the greens: The most challenging part of making this radish greens recipe is cleaning the greens. You want to clean the radish greens well because they can be muddy.
- To thoroughly wash radish greens, fill a sink with cool water. Place the greens in the sink and gently move them around. Doing so helps the dirt detach.
- Let them sit in the water for a few minutes, so the dirt can fall to the bottom of the sink.
- 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 and there are no particles on the bottom of the sink.
- When you’re confident they’re nice and clean, spin them dry in a salad spinner.
- After that, pack the leaves into a food processor and you’re ready to roll!
- Gather and prep the remaining ingredients. Place them in a food processor.
- Process until smooth.
- Adjust the seasoning with salt and black pepper.
- That’s it!! A lovely, peppery unique twist on traditional pesto!
- Radish greens wilt quickly when separated from the root, so refrigerate them. If using the greens in other radish greens recipes such as a radish greens salad, placing them in cold water helps to perk them up.
Frequently Asked Questions:
No, they can be used raw without being cooked as in this radish leaf pesto and they stay green. Small young leaves will have a milder flavor while large, older leaves will be more peppery and pungent with a more coarse texture.
To keep the roots fresh, it is essential to separate the radish greens from them promptly, especially if you don’t intend to use the greens immediately. After washing and drying the greens thoroughly, you can store them in a plastic bag along with a paper towel in the crisper drawer of your fridge for a maximum of three days.
Yes, absolutely! Freeze in small airtight containers in the amount you can comfortably use at a time for up to six months. Thaw in the refrigerator.
- Store unused leaves in the refrigerator in a plastic bag with a paper towel in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator for a maximum of three days.
- Store unused pesto in the refrigerator for up to five days.
- Freeze in small, airtight containers for up to six months.
- In pasta such as Baked Orzo with Pesto and Peas
- In soups such as Green Minestrone with Pesto, White Bean Kale Soup with Parmesan Toast or White Bean Vegetable Soup
- Stirred into rice and risotto such as Oven Risotto with Kale Pesto and Roasted Mushrooms
More great zero-waste recipes you’ll love!
- Carrot Top Salsa Verde
- Purslane Chimichurri
- Cream of Celery Leaves Soup
- Whole Grain Croutons with Thyme Rosemary and Parmesan
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Radish Greens Pesto
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- 4 cups (packed) radish tops - (4 good handfuls) washed and dried
- 4 cloves garlic - finely chopped
- 1/2 large lemon - juiced (approximately 2 tablespoons)
- 1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds, coarsely chopped macadamia nuts, pistachios or pine nuts
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 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.