There are plenty of pesto recipes on this site, sure, but this one is probably my favorite. Not necessarily because it tastes better than the others – they’re all good – but because I love the idea of repurposing something that would otherwise become trash. It’s like edible upcycling, if you will. Wait, I’m horribly uncool; is upcycling still a thing?
Just to be safe, let’s call it Turning Almost-Trash Into Something Delicious. I think we can get on board with that, right?
So, anyway, I am a firm believer that pesto can be made with almost any green leafy thing, and I think you should be too. And since we are coming up on prime radish season, I think we should do these under-appreciated subterranean gems the honor of using their greens just as deliciously as their bulbs (seeds? meat? what the heck do you call the radish part of the radish?). And the easiest way to use them is in radish greens pesto.
The greens are the component of the pesto formula, and the rest are things that you probably have in your pantry:
- Nuts or seeds: instead of pricey pine nuts or sometimes-pricey walnuts, we’re using affordable pumpkin seeds here. I love NOW Foods’s raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds, and that’s what I use for this recipe.
- Olive oil: Extra virgin please. A lot of the flavor shines through in this recipe, so use the best quality you have.
- Salt, pepper and garlic: You already have these in your pantry. I even use granulated garlic instead of fresh to simplify, but if you want to use fresh (to taste) instead, feel free.
- Traditionally, pesto has a hard cheese in it, but I leave it out of mine to keep it dairy free. Feel free to add cheese and reduce or eliminate the salt if you prefer.
Basically, this recipe boils down to getting two dishes out of a bunch of radishes, instead of one. What’s not to love?
- 2 bunches radish greens (about 4 cups, packed)
- 1/2 cup raw, unsalted pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1.5 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup water, as needed
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the s blade, pulse the radish greens and pumpkin seeds 10-20 times until finely chopped.
With the machine running, pour the olive oil in with the greens and seeds in a thin, continuous stream.
Stop the machine and scrape down the sides. Add the lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper, then process for 10-20 seconds until combined.
With the machine still running, pour the water in, one Tablespoon at a time, until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. You may need more or less than 1/4 cup.
- If you're concerned about the pesto being too bitter, replace half of the radish greens with something milder like spinach, kale, or chard.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week, or in the freezer for up to three months
- Looking for ways to use the radishes that were attached to those greens? Try these fish taco bowls.