radish leaf pesto
August 15, 2014 § 86 Comments
Did you know you can make a delicious pesto sauce with radish leaves? Up until now I always tossed the leaves into the compost bin without much thought. I brought home two fresh bunches of radishes from the market the other day and the greens were wonderfully alive, crisp and vibrantly green; I just had to use them instead of throwing them away.
Radish leaves don’t stay fresh for very long, and it’s best to separate them from the roots soon after harvesting or bringing them home from the market. Wash, dry and store the leaves like other salad greens and eat them within a day or two.
Garlic, fresh oregano, lemon juice, almonds, red pepper flakes and parmesan are all you need to add to your radish leaves for this wonderful pesto. So, instead of throwing out the greens when you buy a bunch of radishes, turn them into a delicious pesto.
To blanch almonds simply drop raw almonds into boiling water for one minute. Drain and rinse with cold water and the skins slip off effortlessly when pinched.
I n g r e d i e n t s
- 2 cups lightly packed radish leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3-1/2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
- 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup blanched whole almonds
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 pound linguine
Put the radish leaves, garlic, oregano, lemon juice, blanched almonds, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes in a food processor and pulse to form a coarse purée. With the motor running, pour in the olive oil and process until smooth. Add half the cheese and pulse a few more times. Taste and add more salt or pepper if you like. Set aside until ready to dress the pasta.
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook until al dente. Scoop out 3 cups of the cooking liquid and reserve, drain the pasta.
After draining the pasta return to the cooking pot, add the pesto, and gently fold together. Add reserved pasta water as needed to keep the consistency creamy rather than sticky. Serve in shallow pasta bowls right away, with the remaining cheese on the side.
Love this! I was just about to sow my radishes for fall, but I may have to seek some out sooner at the farmers market just to make the pesto!
Definitely save this recipe someplace and try it when you get some nice leafy radishes. It’s fantastic! I was pleasantly surprised and will always make pesto with greens instead of tossing them out. :)
This is so interesting! I always feel bad about throwing out the greens but I had no idea you could use it like this. How is the flavor different from Italian pesto? Pesto I grew up with was usually almost all basil, parmesan and pine nuts, but I might just have to give this a try!
Hi there! The flavor does differ from basil pesto. It was slightly peppery and the almonds really gave it such a mildly nutty flavor. It really is wonderful, hope you get a chance to try it!
Of course I should make pesto with radish leaves! I cannot believe I’ve just been throwing the greens in the compost week after week. I will definitely save the greens for this pesto next week. Thanks for the tip on blanching almonds, too, as I’ve never done that before. Is it very spicy or mild? I tried arugula pesto and did not like it very much (too bitter). I’ll just have to pop some leaves in my mouth next time and try them out.
The pesto is mild and slightly peppery, I wouldn’t say it is bitter. The almonds really stood out and created such a wonderful nutty flavor. You could just make the pesto and use it as a dip for the radishes too! :) I’m not sure if the leaves will be very good if you just tasted one plain. I really think it is the combination of the other ingredients that really pulled this together. It’s delicious Ngan! Try it! :)
Such a noble use of Raddish leaves Seana. Was it peppery in taste? We make a dry stir fry with radish leaves in Indian cuisine. Cook them crispy and eat with flat breads. This is very interesting twist on pesto.
I think crispy radish leaves sound incredibly delicious. Do you have it posted? This pesto really is wonderful. Yes, it does have a slight peppery flavor, but also very nutty from the almonds. This brings new life to the radish plant!
I bet :))).
No I don’t have it yet but soon!
Thinking of posting a jack fruit stir fry first :).
Hi Seana, what a great use of radish leaves, I bet this is delicious.
The radish leaf pesto really is delicious Cheri. Just when I thought I had made ever pesto imaginable I found this idea and I think it’s my favorite…so far! :)
I love the radish greens and I love your creative and delicious recipe using them. Marvelous!
It’s wonderful even if the radish leaf pesto is used as a dip for radishes! The almonds were perfect in here. Now I have another reason to buy radishes! Not just for Amanda’s pickling…but for pesto too!
Wow. I really would never have thought of keeping the radish leaves…I think those and beat leaves are something I want to try not to waste. It looks like you put enough wonderful spices and blanched almonds in to really bring out a good flavor. Is it really good? Will I love it?
Amanda..yes…you will love it!! it is a bit peppery and nutty, creamy and so delicious. And now you have me thinking I may just have to try a beet leaf pesto too! Why have I not thought to do this with greens before? I have made just about every pesto imaginable using herbs. I just love the coarse texture of all these ingredients whizzed together. The almonds were fabulous! (can you tell I loved it?)
I enjoyed using radish leaves in soup. Will attempt pesto next. Good thinking!
Good thinking using radish leaves in soup! I’ll add them to my “green soup” next time. Love it. Thank you for stopping in with a good idea!
Wow, how clever!
Love this! I’m a huge fan of radish leaves but have never used them in a pesto..sounds delicious!
You’re a fan and here it never occurred to me to eat them! I’ll never throw radish leaves away again. Loved this pesto!
Hmmm, and to think that I’ve always thrown that part of the radish away! I will re-think that next time! :D
As long as they look fresh I’ll never throw radish leaves away again. Hope you get a chance to try this pesto. It’s wonderful!
Haven’t made pesto since I last posted one. Shame on me. And I looked out for a pot of Greek style basil when I made that trip to the superstore last week. None to be had. As for buying crops with leaves in tact – you’re lucky! Over here the leaves are washed and bagged and sold on as salad bags! Which gave me the idea…The Matriarch used to always have saucers on certain window sills where tops of carrots, and the like, were left in shallow water to grow leaves again. Why, I’ve no idea as the leaves were never used in salads. But I’d thought of doing that recently. They would be great in pestos. And salads.
Funny, just yesterday I was at the home improvement “mega store” and they had greek basil on sale! What’s funny is they had them trimmed in a topiary fashion. I didn’t buy one this time… Interesting your mom would put vegetable tops in water to grow leaves and not use them in salads. Perhaps she liked the idea of propagating and seeing the tops come alive! :) I think it a great idea to do it, especially if your would enjoy eating them. I’m on to making pesto’s from greens now, rather than herbs. Amanda gave me a good idea to make pesto with beet greens. However, I’ll never quit making my favorite parsley pesto…honestly, I whizz up a batch at least once a week! We use it on vegetables and meats too, not just pasta…
So interesting. I forget to buy radishes but perhaps this will prompt me. I bet it’s wonderful. Does have a bit of a hot edge like radishes do?
Hi Lindy. I rarely buy radishes myself. But I have been buying them as of late to make Amanda’s pickles. We love them! This pesto was fantastic. It does have a slight peppery flavor but mostly nutty from the almonds. I think you would love this. It’s so wholesome tasting and satisfying because you didn’t throw them away! :)
This makes me think of MKF Fisher who wrote about how satisfying and virtuous it was to pop a little something extra in the oven when already cooking so as to maximize efficiency. She would have loved pickled radishes and radish top pesto! Very virtuous and efficient and I must try both.
What a lovely comment. I like the idea of being virtuous in the kitchen! :)
wow–very cool! Looks like a fun dish–great colors.
Thank you Liz! Another simple pasta sauce…I really like no cook pasta sauce. So fresh and intensely flavored. ;)
It’s new to me, I like learning something new. It’s look very tasty Seana :)
Really is tasty! I think I am on to something here using the greens for pesto. Although I know typical pesto is made using herbs, I really like the idea of using greens such as beet greens and radish leaves for a whizzed sauce. I love eating these green uncooked and this really gives it delicious flavor. :)
Radish leaves are good in salads, too or simply sautéed. I love this pest recipe. It’s on the list of things to try.
Thank you, now I know how delicious radish leaves are. Can’t believe I use to throw them away. Great idea to sauté them! I’ll try it!
I had no idea about such a wonderful use for radish leaves! Thank you :)
Me too! I just had to share the idea, hopefully more folks will catch on and start using radish greens. It’s delicious. Thank you!
And I thought I’d made just about every pesto possible. Fabulous!!!
I thought I had made every pesto imaginable too Mimi! Now I’m on to making pesto with greens such as beet greens and maybe even mustard greens. I think it a fabulous way to eat these greens uncooked. Hope you get a chance to whip up a batch. :)
Wow, what a super recipe and super idea! Love the blanching of the almonds, too!
HI there and thank you! The almonds were fantastic in this pesto. I have never used them in pesto, although I have used pecans and walnuts…and of course pine nuts. I loved the nutty almond flavor. So good!
I loved it so much! It was splendid, my friend! x
Very clever use of radish leaves. I love the idea, thank you!
It really is clever! I did not come up with the recipe, but I did do a little search looking for something to do with the beautiful radish greens I had on hand. I found this and so glad I did! :)
Wow who would have thought that Radish leaves could be put to such good use. Thanks for the fabulous recipe Seana
Thank you for your nice comment! Radish leaves are my new favorite green. :) Delicious in pesto.
I must give it a try :)
So inventive!! It never would have occurred to me to use radish leaves like this– love ALL your pasta recipes Seana!
Rhonda, thank you so much. I love pasta so much and am always looking for different sauces and whatnot. One of these days I will venture into making my own pasta too! :)
OK, making pasta sounds daunting to me! Do you have a pasta maker? It would be fun to get your evaluation of the whole process.
I love this idea Seana. Over the past couple of years, I’ve been adding both beet and radish leaves to our summer salads, but your pesto is definitely something I’ll try later on this year.
I need to follow your idea and start adding radish leaves to our salads. Aren’t they wonderful! The pesto was fantastic. I just loved the flavor of the radish greens and almonds. Radishes are gone from the markets now, but they are headed your way shortly!
I had no idea! What a great recipe, Seana!
Thank you Patty! Never occurred to me either. But, the radish pesto is fabulous. So fresh, earthy, nutty and delicious!
Thank you! :)
Oooooh yum! Love the sound of your pesto with oregano and almonds. Sadly the radishes here always seem pretty topless but what a great way for you to use them up!
Hmmm. I don’t ever see them without the tops. I always wondered why they were sold with the greens on when all you do is throw them away! Know I know better. :)
Now, this is a totally different pesto for me – amazing what you can substitute for good ole basil – I shall keep this recipe :)
Isn’t that the truth! I love pesto’s made with other herbs too. Have you made mint pesto? Or, my favorite…parsley pesto. They are wonderful!
Now that is a cracking idea, my friend. Damn fine work right there! :)
Hey! Nice to see you here today. Thank you!
Yeah, I’m back! Been hella busy but back on track now :)
Have just tried salad with red raddish love your idea will try soon
I really enjoy red radishes in salads! They are so peppery and crunchy. Hope you like them. And hope you get a chance to make the pesto too.
I love the idea of using those gorgeous leaves – hope you don’t mind that I pinned the recipe!
Thank you so much. I just visited your site and it is so lovely! Glad to “meet” you today. :)
Thanks! You, too! My neighbor has a ton of radishes that she grows for the neighborhood rabbits…Guess where I’ll be stopping by tomorrow!
YUM! This looks so good and fueling. :)
Thank you. :) Really is delicious!
Love this idea for pesto using radish leaves! Looks so yum! :)
The radish leaves are perfect for using as a pesto. They have such a wonderful peppery flavor (not too pungent and not bitter at all). It’s wonderful!
I have never eaten them and after looking at this dish, can’t wait to try! :)
I like the peppery flavor of radish greens. Creating a pesto from them is a great idea.
Me too Karen. The radish leaves were wonderful whizzed up and made into a pesto sauce. I will never throw out the leaves again! Thank you for stopping in. Very nice to see you here today.
It’s so nice to see delicious recipes made with ingredients that you would normally throw out! Love that. thanks for sharing!
And thank you for stopping in! Haven’t heard from you in awhile. :) Nice to read your comment…
I am such a fan of using the bits of plants that others throw away. This is a lovely idea. I recently posted a beet greens recipes, so I am so with you on delicious, purse-minded ways to enjoy plant foods. The piquantness of radish leaves is absolutely perfect for pesto. Clever you!
I agree with you. You are so right about how good it is use use up parts of the plant that often gets tossed. This pesto really was fantastic. Perfect combination of ingredients. So delicious.
so creative! Love the idea of not wasting anything, we should all be thinking like this when cooking.
Such a wonderful idea! I also use radish leaves for different things…They are very fresh and tasty! Love it!!
Firstly, nope! I had no idea that radish leaves were even edible (isn’t that terrible! I’ve been throwing them away all the time!). I have made carrot top pesto though, it was very peppery and delicious. A great way to use the extra greens attached to some of my favourite vegetables. I will definitely give this a go next time I buy radishes. It’s so fun to discover new ways to use ingredients :)
Hi Laura, it is so nice to hear from you! I think you will really like this radish leaf pesto. I have made carrot top pesto as well and really loved it. Fabulous on carrot soup. I have been making all kinds of pesto’s lately using greens rather than herbs and what a lovely way to eat the green’s raw…especially beet greens. :) Hope you are enjoying the weekend! Autumn weather is official over here in Western U.S., and I love it!
Wonder if you could pull off something similar with turnip leaves?
I would be willing to try it for sure. :) I don’t think I have ever had turnip leaves. I imagine them to be a bit similar to radish leaves. If you give it a go let me know how it turns out.
Thank yoou for sharing this