Spring is here, and our radishes are in full bloom. Not only do I love the radish bulbs, which most people eat, but I love the radish greens or tops. The idea to share a recipe for a radish top pesto came when my dad brought me a bunch of radishes from the garden but discarded the tops. I had no idea he didn’t know radish leaves are not only edible but packed with nutrients and delicious.
Can you eat radish greens or radish tops?
Yes, yes, yes! They are good to eat and very nutritious and super tasty. The radish greens have up to 6 times more vitamin C than the radish bulb. They are also packed with vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, calcium, vitamin A, potassium, and folic acid.
So please, don’t send these bright green leaves to food waste; they are delicious and packed with nutrients.
Are radishes lectin-free?
Yes, all radishes (blub and leaves) are lectin-free and a great addition to a low-lectin diet. They are crunchy, light, and low-calorie but filling and delicious.
How to eat radish greens or radish tops?
Firstly, when you buy radishes, get those that have bright and firm leaves, without blemishes, and preferably organic. If getting them from the farmers’ market, ask the farmer if they spray the tops with something, but in general, radishes are easy crops that don’t need much help.
Separate the leaves from the bulb and wash and dry them well. They tend to hold a lot of dirt on them, even if they look clean.
You can make pesto, sautee them with extra virgin olive oil and some of the bulbs, use them in stir-fries, as a side dish, or add them to another mix of sauteed vegetables. Another way to enjoy them is to add them to salads.
My favorite way to eat them is to make a radish top pesto. You can also replace the basil pesto in a pesto pizza.
How do radish greens taste?
While some say they have a strong taste, I consider them mild compared to other leafy greens. They taste earthy and fresh and have a mild peppery flavor, but nothing compared to arugula. Also, they are not bitter or strong like mustard greens or dandelion greens, and that’s why I love making pesto with them.
What’s in the radish greens pesto?
The ingredients I used for this radish leaf pesto are:
- radish greens
- green/spring garlic (normal garlic can be used or skipped)
- toasted pine nuts
- lemon, zest, and juice
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- water (optional)
If you don’t mind some dairy, you can add some grated parmesan cheese, but make sure you choose the original Parmigiano Reggiano.
You need a high-power blender to mix everything to a creamy consistency. I add a little bit of water, so the blender works well, and the pesto is not too thick, but you can skip or add more extra virgin olive oil. You can add even more water if you want more of a drizzling consistency – to use as a salad dressing, for example.
If you are fine with a rougher consistency, you could use a food processor.
How to serve the radish greens pesto?
You can use the radish top pesto as a dipping sauce to eat with all grilled meats or chicken, roasted vegetables, or eggs. You can also add it to salads as a dressing. Use it just like you use a traditional pesto.
I love making this chicken or turkey salad. I mix pre-cooked chicken or turkey with a few tablespoons of pesto, toasted pine nuts, some olives or olive paste, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and fresh lemon juice. It goes perfectly well with the radish bulbs.
More pesto recipes
For more pesto recipes, check out:
This radish top pesto recipe is also part of 10 green sauce recipes for healthy and tasty meals. Check it out for more delicious and satisfying green sauce ideas.
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And easy and delicious way to eat those radish greens that are full of nutrients. Toast the pine nuts in a skillet, on very low heat, until golden and fragrant. Keep an eye on them as they can burn easily. It will take about 7 minutes. Let them cool down. Add all the ingredients to a high-power blender and blend until all creamy. Taste and add more salt, pepper, and lemon juice if necessary. If you want a more drizzling consistency, add more water or extra virgin olive oil. Store in the fridge in a closed jar. Use in salads, as a dipping sauce or green sauce for grilled meats and chicken, or roasted vegetables. Check the post above for a recipe suggestion.
Easy Radish Greens Pesto
And easy and delicious way to eat those radish greens that are full of nutrients.
Toast the pine nuts in a skillet, on very low heat, until golden and fragrant. Keep an eye on them as they can burn easily. It will take about 7 minutes. Let them cool down.
Add all the ingredients to a high-power blender and blend until all creamy. Taste and add more salt, pepper, and lemon juice if necessary.
If you want a more drizzling consistency, add more water or extra virgin olive oil.
Store in the fridge in a closed jar. Use in salads, as a dipping sauce or green sauce for grilled meats and chicken, or roasted vegetables. Check the post above for a recipe suggestion.
RoseeNovember 3, 2022 at 6:22 am
Thanks for sharing this recipe! I’d love to try making it but I can’t have citrus. Do you think it would still be worth it?
ClaudiaNovember 3, 2022 at 8:26 am
Hi Rosee, I had a period when I couldn’t have citrus either, but I still made pesto. Not this particular one, but other green leaves. Maybe it lacks a bit of acidity but I didn’t mind.