Radish Top Pesto Recipe
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This radish top pesto recipe makes good use of the edible radish greens that often get discarded once they’re separated from the root. The end result is a peppery, slightly spicy twist on a classic pesto recipe. A perfect condiment for all your summer snacking!
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I’ve never been a big fan of radishes, to be honest. I find them just a little too spicy and a little too bland all at the same time. But last year, a friend gave me some radish seeds she had saved from one of her plants and I decided it would be a waste not to plant them.
I was amazed at how fast they grew, and how quickly and beautifully they fill in a space with their lush, green tops. In fact, it only takes about three weeks from the time you sow radish seeds until they’re big enough to harvest. They’ve now turned out to be one of my favourite things to grow in our garden.
I’ve now learned to enjoy radishes (roasted radishes are my favourite!) But I’ve always found it rather wasteful to just discard the luscious leafy green tops, especially considering they’re fully edible and packed with nutrients like vitamins A, B6 and C, as well as iron, protein, calcium, fibre, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous and folic acid (source).
You can sauté them or add them to soups and stews, but at this time of year we don’t tend to be making such things. And they’re a bit too spicy and poky-textured to eat raw in salads (for our family, anyway). So usually we just compost them or feed them to our rabbits.
But this year I wanted to find a way to use them that we would actually enjoy, so I decided to blend them up with some garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and parmesan and turn them into pesto!
Related: Garlic Scape Pesto Recipe
The end result was a peppery, slightly spicy twist on classic pesto that we’ve been enjoying on top of roasted potatoes, as a spread in our burgers and sandwiches, as a dip for veggies and a as a sauce for our pasta dishes. Plus, I know it’s as healthy and organic as pesto gets because the radishes are homegrown and fresh-picked and the pesto is homemade the same day.
Easy Radish Top Pesto Recipe
This radish top pesto is super easy to prepare. Simply cut or break the leaves off the top of the radishes, rinse off any dirt and bugs and pat or spin dry, and toss in a blender with a handful of parmesan, some pine nuts, a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Add a dash of salt and pepper and blend until well combined.
You can use any blender or food processor, but for my sauces and condiments I love my Breville Control Grip hand blender. It blends small batches evenly and is great for thick sauces and condiments like pesto and almond butter because it’s easier than a regular blender to pick up, tilt and move around to make sure everything makes it down to the blade. This model also comes with a whisk attachment and an immersion blender, which I use to make my homemade mayo.
Don’t forget to put some up for later!
Radish top pesto is also a great way to preserve radish tops as they go wilty quickly, especially once they’ve been removed from the radish root. I made this batch of pesto about 5 days ago and it’s still fresh. I would venture to guess that it will keep well in the fridge for up to about two weeks or so. But if you want to preserve it for longer, just stick it in the freezer and it will be good for at least three or four months… probably longer.
If you choose to freeze it, you can freeze in a container or jar or stop pesto into an ice cube tray and freeze. Once frozen, pop the “pesto cubes” out of the tray and store in a container or freezer bag. This is a good option as you can simply pull out how ever many cubes you need at a time instead of having to defrost an entire jar.
And that’s about it! I mean, there’s only so mush you can say about pesto. And in all honesty, you probably just skipped over all of my rambling anyway to get right to the recipe. So here it is:)
- 4 cups packed radish tops/greens
- 2 large cloves of garlic
- ½ cup pine nuts or other tree nuts (ie. almonds or walnuts work well too)
- ½ cup shredded parmesan
- Juice from half a lemon (or 1 Tbsp. bottled lemon juice)
- ½ cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high until smooth (divide up ingredients and blend in batches if they won't all fit in your blender at once).
- Transfer to a Mason jar and serve fresh or store in the fridge for up to two weeks, or in the freezer for up to 3 or 4 months.
Wishing you homemade, homegrown, homestead happiness 🙂
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