Radish Green Pesto
Radishes are one of my favorite spring foods. Their color is indicative of the bright change in seasons and they can be eaten on their own, a kind of vegetable candy. However, once most people have gone through their bunch of radishes, the greens get tossed away.
Not so fast.
Radish greens are great to cook with, a perfect candidate for Whole Vegetable Cooking (in other words, turning food waste into gold). Instead of composting your radish greens, put them to use in your recipes. They’re easy to sauté in a little olive oil and lemon juice, making for a nice alternative to other leafy greens like chard. Radish greens are a little bitter and peppery, similar to arugula, which give them a little bite.
I like to turn radish greens into pesto, mostly because I will turn anything green into pesto. Carrot tops, parsley and mint, and even kale make for great basil alternatives, and a jar of pesto is the perfect condiment to always keep on hand, so whenever there’s something that can get turned into pesto, it does. A few tablespoons in leftover rice makes for an simple lunch, a slice of rye bread spread with pesto and topped with pears and goat cheese makes for an easy sandwich, and if you’re in need of an appetizer, just slice some raw vegetables and use pesto as a dip.
I never have parmesan cheese on hand, and while I am sure that it would make for a great addition to this recipe, you can make pesto with just nuts, greens and a little olive oil. One of the easiest things to whip together with just a few simple ingredients.
Radish Greens Pesto
The greens from 1 large bunch of radishes, stems removed
1/2 cup (2.5 ounces, 70 grams) almonds
1/4 cup (60 milliliters) olive oil (plus more as needed)
1 to 2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
A pinch of salt and ground black pepper
Place the radish greens, almonds, garlic, lemon juice and salt and pepper in a food processor and pulse until the radish greens are finely chopped. You may need to take scrape the sides of the food processor a few times with a spatula so that everything gets evenly chopped. Then add in the olive oil and mix until your desired consistency. Add additional olive oil as needed. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
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