As the days grow longer and the weather warms, farmers market stands begin to fill with more colourful produce. Radishes recently made their appearance, glowing globes like multi coloured christmas lights adorning the market tables… It was exciting I tell you! In the spring, radishes are a mild, juicy, and crunchy addition to salads and tacos, even the green tops are delightful.
In an effort to reduce waste in the kitchen, learning to use entire vegetables is a practice I have been cultivating. It didn’t take long to realize that certain parts, that I once thought were useless, were actually quite palatable.
When radish leaves are fresh and tender, they make a delicious pesto. Their mild earthy flavour pairs well with toasted walnuts, however any nut you have on hand would work. This is less of a recipe and more a set of guidelines that apply to pesto in general. Easy to make, I freeze pesto in 125mL and 250mL mason jars so that I always have some on hand.
A few of my favourite ways to use radish leaf pesto:
- add it to pasta
- slather it on a sandwich
- spoon it over toast with eggs
- use it as a base on pizza instead of tomato sauce
- toss it with boiled or roasted potatoes
Radish Leaf Pesto
yields: about 1 cup
- 1 bunch radishes, separate tops and set radishes aside for another use (about 3-4 cups loosely packed leaves)
- 1/2 cup walnuts (or other nut of choice)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan or nutritional yeast (optional)
Toast walnuts: preheat oven to 350°F. Spread walnuts out on a baking sheet and place in oven until toasty and lightly browned (careful not to burn), about 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Place radish leaves, toasted walnuts, olive oil and garlic in food processor. Blend until smooth, taste and season with salt or add parmesan/nutritional yeast (for vegan version), I usually leave the cheese/yeast out.
Place in a jar and store in fridge or freezer.