Radish Greens Pesto

4.53 from 217 votes
30 minutes
Jump To Recipe

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!”

Radish Greens Pesto in glass jar with radish greens scattered around it.

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!
  • Easy!
  • 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)
  • Freezer-friendly!

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!

Radish Greens Pesto in glass jar with spoon on marble surface with ingredients in the pesto around it.

But first…

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:

Recipe Ingredients:

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.

Ingredients for Radish Greens Pesto in glass jars.

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.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • 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.
Ingredients in food processor before being pureed.
  • Process until smooth.
  • Adjust the seasoning with salt and black pepper.
Finished pesto in food processor.
  • That’s it!! A lovely, peppery unique twist on traditional pesto!
Radish Greens Pesto in glass jar with spoon on marble surface with ingredients in the pesto around it.

Chef Tip:

  • 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.
Radish Greens Pesto in glass jar with spoon scooping some up.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do you have to cook radish greens?

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.

How do you store radish greens?

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.

Can Radish Leaf Pesto be frozen?

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.

Radish Greens Pesto in glass jar with spoon on marble surface with ingredients in the pesto around it.

Storage:

  • 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.

Serve with:

More great zero-waste recipes you’ll love!

Get all my sauce recipes at: Sauces, Dressing and Marinades – From A Chef’s Kitchen

Join the FROM A CHEF’S KITCHEN MAILING LIST to get all the latest posts and more!

Logo for From A Chef's Kitchen with gray oval border and green knife.
Radish Greens Pesto in glass jar with spoon scooping some up.

Radish Greens Pesto

4.53 from 217 votes

Click to Rate!

By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Pungent, peppery radish greens make perfect pesto and pack a nutritional punch! Use with chicken, fish, pasta, vegetables, potatoes or any other way you would use traditional basil pesto.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Sauces Dressings and Marinades
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4
Calories 390 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Notes

Makes approximately 2 cups.
May also use a little water if needed to achieve a sauce consistency rather than adding more oil.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY:  Freeze in small containers as desired for up to six months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 390kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 26g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 383mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g

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.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment, star rating or post your photo on Instagram and tag @fromachefskitchen.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




119 Comments

    1. Hi, Anna, Thanks so very much and so happy you love this recipe! I’ve heard that from numerous readers–and it doesn’t turn a funky color. Thanks again!

  1. 5 stars
    I brought home a huge bunch of radishes from the farmer’s market and thought there must be something I can do with these greens. My daughter said make pesto and I found this recipe. It is excellent! I threw in a little basil , used pepitas, sunflower seeds and a few walnuts. I did add freshly grated parmesan cheese. I put it in ice cube trays to freeze and then put the pesto cubes in a plastic bag. I just pop a few out when I need them….this is awesome. Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    Great recipe. It is quite mild, so I used more of it than I would for basil pesto. I found it made about one cup, not two cups. I toasted the almonds and garlic at 300 first. It was all ok until I added the zest of the lemon. That really gave it a special zing. I really like it.

  3. 5 stars
    Made this today with pistachios — one radish bunch makes a half portion for a small household and it was delicious!

  4. 5 stars
    Your recipe is awesome! Tried and tested and super easy to follow. I literally make and freeze it in batches. When I am feeling a little lazy I just take one container, thaw it and mix it with freshly boiled spaghetti and grated cheese. That’s it!

    1. Hi, Rachel, Thanks so much for your question. I’m not sure about that as I haven’t pressure-canned this recipe. Since any type of pesto really should not be cooked, I’d be concerned about the flavor disappearing. If you try it, please let me know how it goes.

  5. Made the recipe with minor modifications and it was great! Used less olive oil by substituting small amount of homemade vegetable broth. Also, used roasted cashews for the nuts. One partake asked if there was any basil in the recipe.

    1. Hi, Val, Thanks so very much and so glad everyone enjoyed! Using broth to substitute some of the oil is a great idea! I do that for clients that don’t want the extra calories. Thanks again!

  6. 5 stars
    This was amazing! I used toasted pecans, as they have sort of the same softness and oils like pine nuts.

    I liked it so much, I bought more radishes! Now what do I do with all the radish bulbs!?! 😋

    1. 5 stars
      Hi, Cheryl. Since the day I saw this recipe, I make two things whenever I buy radishes. One, I make this recipe (which is now my children’s favorite) and the other I make Korean spicy radish, a very tasty “banchan” (side dish). Also, my children’s fav by the way!