Radish Greens Pesto packs a peppery, nutritional punch! Be sure to save those radish tops to make this delicious pesto that’s perfect with pasta, chicken, fish, and potatoes!
If you grew up the way I did, you just didn’t waste food. A culinary trend that’s super hot right now when it comes to vegetables is to use as much of the plant as possible. This trend makes total sense. Gardening is also hard work so you don’t want your hard work ending up in the compost bin.
We eagerly anticipate the first radish from our garden each spring. In fact, there could be more photos of first spring radishes on my husband’s Facebook page than photos of our grandkids!
I had heard about making pesto with radish greens and at first, I wasn’t too hip about the idea. After making and trying it, I’m in pesto love and plan to freeze a batch each year just as we do basil pesto.
Radish greens are completely edible. Because of their coarse texture, they don’t work well in salads unless they’re young and very small.
They can be cooked like any other green, but there too, you’ll want to use young and tender leaves. The texture of the leaves is why they’re perfect as a pesto. After they’ve been processed into pesto, you won’t notice the rough texture at all.
Here’s another reason to save those radish greens. According to Livestrong.com, radish greens are a nutritional powerhouse, ranking right up there with broccoli and kale in terms of antioxidants. They’re also high in vitamin C and calcium. Wow!
- How to make Radish Greens Pesto:
- Lasagna with Pesto Green Beans and Potatoes
- Gratin-Style Pesto and Goat Cheese-Stuffed Chicken with Roma Tomatoes
- Baked Orzo with Pesto Peas Prosciutto and Mascarpone
- Oven Fries with Spicy Pesto Aioli
- Easy Hash Brown Frittata with Pesto and Goat Cheese
- Tomato Ricotta Tart with Basil Pesto
- Naan Potato Pizza with Radish Top Pesto and Smoked Mozzarella
- Green Minestrone with Radish Greens Pesto
- Helpful tools and equipment to make Radish Greens Pesto: (Affiliate Links):
- Cooking with radish leaves
- How to Use Radish Greens and Daikon Greens
- Uses for Radish and Daikon Greens
- Recipe: Sautéed Radishes from Root to Leaf
- Growing Radish Sprouts
- Growing Radish Sprouts Instructions
- Can You Eat Radish Greens: How And When To Harvest Radish Leaves
- Can You Eat Radish Greens?
- When to Harvest Radish Leaves
- How to Harvest Radish Leaves
- 5 recipes for radish leaves
- What Are The Nutritional Values Of Radish Leaves?
- What Are The Health Benefits of Radish Leaves?
- Medicinal Uses of Radish Leaves
- How to Eat Radish Greens?
- Last Word
- Radish Top Soup: A Reason to Keep the Greens
- Chilled radish and mint soup (V)
- Radish, carrot and spring onion salad with orange-soaked raisins (V)
- Glazed radishes (V)
- Radishes with butter and salt (V)
- Spicy Stir-Fried Radish Greens and / or Swiss Chard
- Information About Radishes and Radish Greens:
- How to Make Spicy Stir-Fried Radish Greens and / or Swiss Chard:
- Make It a Meal
- More Recipes with Radishes or Radish Greens:
- Radish Leaf Pesto Recipe
- Have you tried this? Share your pics on Instagram!
How to make Radish Greens Pesto:
- First, clean them well. Radish greens can be muddy. To thoroughly wash them, fill a sink with cool water.
- Place the greens in the sink and gently move them around. Doing so helps the dirt detach.
- Remove the leaves then drain and rinse the sink.
- Fill the sink again and repeat the process. I do this several times until I’m confident no dirt remains.
- Radish greens wilt quickly when separated from the root, so placing them in cool water like this also helps to perk them up. When you’re confident they’re nice and clean, spin dry in a salad spinner. After that, pack the leaves into a food processor and you’re ready to roll!
- This pesto has many of the same ingredients as a traditional basil pesto: Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil and nuts.
- Because of their pungent, peppery flavor, I suggest using mild, sweet nuts such as almonds, macadamia or pistachios. If you are allergic to nuts, use sunflower seeds instead.
- A little bit of lemon juice in the pesto really punches up the flavor. If you plan to freeze the pesto, leave out the cheese and garlic and add them when you’re ready to serve the pesto.
Radish Greens Pesto is great with almost anything! Serve with fish, chicken, pasta, potatoes and any other way you would serve traditional pesto. Enjoy!
Lasagna with Pesto Green Beans and Potatoes
This small-scale Lasagna with Pesto, Green Beans and Potatoes is the perfect way to use the last of your fresh basil or any pesto you froze.
Get the Recipe
Gratin-Style Pesto and Goat Cheese-Stuffed Chicken with Roma Tomatoes
Baked Orzo with Pesto Peas Prosciutto and Mascarpone
Baked Orzo with Pesto, Peas, Prosciutto and Mascarpone is a lovely Italian-inspired spring main dish or side dish that’s easily made ahead of time!
Get the Recipe
Oven Fries with Spicy Pesto Aioli
Oven Fries with Spicy Pesto Aioli make the perfect summer side dish for burgers, steaks, fish, chicken or anything else you’re grilling!
Get the Recipe
Easy Hash Brown Frittata with Pesto and Goat Cheese
Easy Hash Brown Frittata with Pesto and Goat Cheese is impressive and comes together quickly for the perfect summer breakfast or brunch!
Get the Recipe
Tomato Ricotta Tart with Basil Pesto
Tomato Ricotta Tart with Basil Pesto is a savory and delicious way to enjoy those tantalizing summer tomatoes and fresh basil!
Get the Recipe
Naan Potato Pizza with Radish Top Pesto and Smoked Mozzarella
Here’s a pizza for the carb-lover! Add an over-easy egg and you have a crazy delicious breakfast!
Get the Recipe
Green Minestrone with Radish Greens Pesto
Green Minestrone with Radish Top Pesto is a healthful taste of spring! A twist on classic Italian minestrone, this version has lots of spring vegetables which will make transitioning from cold weather to warm weather easy and delicious!
Get the Recipe
Helpful tools and equipment to make Radish Greens Pesto: (Affiliate Links):
Prep Time 30 minutes Total Time 30 minutes
- 4 cups radish tops (packed), washed and dried
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- ½ cup sliced or slivered almonds, coarsely chopped macadamia nuts or pistachios
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more as needed
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Combine first 6 ingredients in a food processor or blender.
- Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Add additional olive oil to achieve a thick sauce consistency. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
If freezing, leave out the cheese and garlic and add when ready to serve.
Amount Per Serving Calories 390 Total Fat 33g Saturated Fat 6g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 26g Cholesterol 11mg Sodium 383mg Carbohydrates 19g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 4g Sugar 10g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 8g The nutritional information above is computer-generated and only an estimate. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet. 3.9Kshares
Cooking with radish leaves
Pull up a little red radish, hose it off and treat yourself to a crisp and juicy bite. Then what? In your hand you’re holding a tidy bunch of bright green leaves, young and tender, full of nutrients. Why stop with the root?
If we go through life without ever tasting a radish leaf, it’s probably not for lack of flavor. The foliage of radishes is no more strong or pungent than the closely related turnip greens or mustards, popular with many. No, it’s the mouth feel. Radish leaves are typically described as hairy, but in fact they’re downright prickly, even a bit painful. Your tongue says, “Big mistake.”
Like many edible plants not shaped by breeders for culinary pleasure, radishes don’t want to be eaten. They’d rather be left alone so that they can go on and make seeds with which to reproduce themselves, so their scratchy surface probably is a defense. But I’ve come to appreciate how radish greens are quickly tamed by heat.
The other day, I sliced up a bunch and sauteed them for three minutes with a bit of grated garlic, and it was the perfect side dish for a winter meal. I add radish tops to stir-fries, soups, omelets or any dish that needs some greening up. Even raw, judicious use is possible.
My neighbor Mia slices them into thin ribbons and serves them on top of her famous sesame noodles, where they catch the diner’s eye — their prickliness is absorbed by noodleness. I’ll bet you could also get away with sticking small leaves into a sandwich or even into a salad, without offending anyone.
Shunkyo semi-long radish variety. (Courtesy johnnyseeds.com)
It turns out that there are “hairless” radishes. They’ve probably been there all along, but who noticed? I have grown White Icicle radish many times, but is it true, as the High Mowing Seeds catalogue claims, that they “can be used as salad greens?” Does Johnny’s Shunkyo Semi-Long really have “edible, smooth” foliage? Are Burpee’s Perfecto and the Cook’s Garden’s Red Head also salad-worthy? Or have catalogue writers just gotten tired of describing the “white, crisp, juicy flesh” of the roots and their resistance to pithiness and splitting?
Clearly somebody’s been working on this, and for quite some time. Catalogues that feature Asian vegetables often have a separate category called leaf radish. The roots of such varieties as Four Season and Hybrid Pearl Leaf from Evergreen Seeds don’t even mention the root at all. Apparently they’re grown mainly by Koreans for making kimchee.
Evergreen also offers a Japanese one called Hattorikun, for stir-fries, pickles or soups, and a red-stemmed one called Saisai Purple, “good for salad mix.” The catalogue Kitazawa, another encyclopedic source of Asian seeds, calls Saisai “hairless” and Hattorikun “almost hairless.” But do they have tasty roots?
I think I’ll do my own trial this spring — simple enough, because radishes are such a quick crop and take up so little space — but I’ll be looking for double-duty varieties where I can enjoy both root and leaf. It’s best to try the leaves when they are still young and tender and the roots have just formed. Left too long, the stems will get tall and straggly, the roots beyond pithy and into woody. But then the seedpods will appear. Did you know that those, too, are edible? But that’s a whole other adventure.
Tip of the week
Birds need fresh water for drinking and bathing in winter. An elevated birdbath will attract a range of songbird species, but it should be refreshed with tap water at least twice a week. Immersion heaters are available to prevent freezing. If possible, place a feeder near shrubbery to provide cover against cats and hawks.
— Adrian Higgins
Damrosch’s latest book is “The Four Season Farm Gardener’s Cookbook.”
How to Use Radish Greens and Daikon Greens
Uses for Radish and Daikon Greens
Depending on the variety, radish greens can be peppery, like arugula, or milder, like spinach. They can be used similarly to those greens and in many of the same ways you’d use beet and turnip greens or carrot tops.
Used raw, radish greens make a peppy pesto, a flavorful swap for lettuce in sandwiches, and a great addition to the salad bowl.
Radish greens also make a quick and easy side dish when sautéed with garlic and oil. Radish leaf soup is a cleansing dish served similarly to nettle soup in the spring as a healthy tonic to start the season. And pickled radish leaves are not only delicious, they are a great way to preserve the leaves.
But some of the more interesting uses for radish greens come from Asian cuisines, which feature radish and daikon greens in a number of popular dishes.
Japanese Radish Leaf Recipes
According to a 2015 survey, daikon is the most popular vegetable in Japan. It’s no surprise, then, that the country’s cuisine puts them to good use. The radish is commonly served as a grated condiment, and used in soups, stews and pickles. The greens can also be pickled, as well as stir-fried, mixed into rice or turned into a condiment.
Korean Radish Leaf Recipes
There are many recipes for radish-based kimchi, the highly-flavored, fermented dish that is a Korean national tradition. The leaves are often incorporated and are sometimes the center of the pickle. Siraegi, dried radish leaves, were traditionally hung to cure in the fall so they could be enjoyed in the colder months when fields were fallow. Although eaters are less dependent on the traditional harvest cycle these days, the dried leaves are still used to flavor all manner of dishes, including rice, soup and porridge.
Indian Radish Leaf Recipes
Radish greens are used in many Indian dishes as spinach would be: stewed into a simmering pot of curry. You can also build a dish around them, such as this Indian stir-fry, poriyal, or this braised radish leaves dish.
Recipe: Sautéed Radishes from Root to Leaf
Sherri Brooks Vinton
In this dish, radishes are sautéed until tender and coated with nutty browned butter. Then the greens are added to the pan to bring a fresh radish zing to the dish. Serve this as a side dish or toss with pasta, grated nutmeg and a sprinkle of cheese for a quick, delicious dinner.
1 pound radishes with bright green leaves
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice, optional
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Remove greens. Wash and dry thoroughly. Quarter radishes.
- Heat oil in a medium heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook radishes, tossing occasionally, until tender, about 7-10 minutes.
- Add butter and cook, using a spoon to baste radishes with butter, until butter begins to brown and smell nutty, about 1 minute.
- Add greens and cook until wilted, about 1 minute more.
- Remove from heat, add lemon juice, if using. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
A version of this piece was originally published in December 2018.
Growing Radish Sprouts
Growing Radish Sprouts Instructions
Yields approximately 3 Cups (1/2 lb.) of Sprouts
Prep 3 Tablespoons of seed* then transfer (if necessary) into a bowl or into your Sprouter. Add 2-3 times as much cool (60°-70°) water. Mix seeds up to assure even water contact for all. Note: brassicas tend to float. Try to sink those that do by knocking them down with your fingers. It isn’t a big deal but it is a good habit.
Allow seeds to Soak for 6-12 hours. Empty the seeds into your sprouter (if necessary). Drain off the soak water. You may water plants or use it in stock if you like – it has nutrients in it. Rinse thoroughly with cool (60°-70°) water. Drain thoroughly!
Set your Sprouter anywhere out of direct sunlight and at room temperature (70° is optimal) between Rinses. This is where your sprouts do their growing. We use a counter top – in the corner of our kitchen, but where the sprouter won’t get knocked over by cats, dogs, kids or us. We don’t mind the indirect sunlight or the 150 watts of incandescent light, because light just does not matter much. A plant can only perform photosynthesis when it has leaves. Until a plant has leaves, light has little if any effect. Sprouts also happen to like air-circulation, so don’t hide your sprouts. This will be plenty of light when the sprouts are ready for it.
Rinse and Drain again every 8-12 hours for 3 days. As long as you grow you have to keep the sprouts happy!
Always be sure to Drain very thoroughly. The most common cause of inferior sprouts is inadequate drainage. Most sprouters look like they will not hold water, but even the best designed device does, so pay special attention to this step.
Note: These wonderful little brassica plants have a unique root structure. Brassicas will show microscopic roots starting around day 3. They are called root hairs and are most visible just before Rinsing when the sprouts are at their driest. When you Rinse, the root hairs will collapse back against the main root. These root hairs impress many people as mold – but they are not. Now you know!
Greening On the 4th day relocate your sprouts if necessary. If you’ve been keeping them away from light, move them. Avoid direct sun – it can cook your sprouts. Indirect sunlight is best but virtually any light will do. Experiment – you will be amazed at how little light sprouts require to green up. Photosynthesis is a marvel!
Continue to Rinse and Drain every 8-12 hours. As long as you grow you have to keep the sprouts happy.
Finishing Your sprouts will be done during day 5 or 6. The majority of sprouts will have open leaves which will be green if you exposed them to light.
De-Hull Before your final Rinse; remove the seed hulls. Brassica sprout hulls are quite large (relative to the seed and sprout) and they hold a lot of water (which can dramatically lessen the shelf life of your sprouts), so we remove them Thusly:
Transfer the sprouts to a big (at least 2 times the volume of your sprouter) pot or bowl, fill with cool water, loosen the sprout mass and agitate with your hand. Skim the hulls off the surface and compost them. Return the sprouts to your sprouter for their Rinse and Drain. You can also use our Dehuller (a small salad spinner with an excellent design that minimizes the sprouts that escape in the dehulling process). That’s the short course – here is the full lesson. Better yet, here is a video on de-hulling.
Harvest If you Dehulled with our Dehuller, or used a salad spinner after dehulling in a bowl, you can go right to refrigeration. If not… Your sprouts are done 8-12 hours after your final Rinse. After the De-Hulling and the final Rinse we need to Drain very thoroughly and let our sprouts dry a bit. If we minimize the surface moisture of our sprouts they store much better in refrigeration, so we let them sit for 8-12 hours….
Refrigerate Transfer the sprout crop to a plastic bag or the sealed container of your choice. We have Produce Storage Bags that will extend shelf life substantially.
* If using Sproutpeople’s Single Harvest Pack – use the whole bag. It will produce a crop of approximately 8 ounces.
These seeds yield approximately 5:1 – which means the sprouts will weigh 5 times as much as the seed you start with, but, they will increase even more in volume – so don’t start with more than 3.5 Tablespoons per quart/litre of sprouter capacity.
You can also grow Radish as a Micro-Green as described on our Cabbage Patch page.
Can You Eat Radish Greens: How And When To Harvest Radish Leaves
An easy, rapid growing crop, radishes are usually grown for their delicious, peppery root. Radishes mature anywhere from 21-30 days from seeding whereupon the root is ready for harvest, but have you ever wondered if you can eat the radish greens? If so, what can you do with radish leaves and how to harvest radish greens?
Can You Eat Radish Greens?
Yes indeed, you can eat radish greens. In fact, they are super nutritious and delicious, tasting much like their relatives turnip greens or mustard. So how come many of us have never tasted this culinary delight? Many varieties of radish have foliage peppered with slight hairs. When eaten, these hairs assault the tongue with an unpleasant prickly sensation. This is no doubt a defense of the plant which, after all, does not want to be eaten; it wants to continue to mature into seed pods. Seed pods, by the way, which are also edible!
There are, however, a number of radish varieties that claim to be “hairless,” apparently making them excellent choices for salad greens. I love the idea of using the entire plant and White Icicle, Shunkyo Semi-Long, Perfecto and Red Head are all radish types that can be grown not only for the root, but also the delicious greens. Some seed catalogues that specialize in Asian veggies even have a category called leaf radish. These radishes, such as Four Season and Hybrid Pearl Leaf, are grown primarily for the foliage which is used in Korea for making kimchee.
It seems evident that there are plenty of options for harvesting of radish leaves. The question is, when to harvest radish leaves?
When to Harvest Radish Leaves
Begin harvesting radish leaves when they are young and tender and the roots are just forming. If you leave harvesting too late, the stems get tall, the roots pithy and seed pods form while the leaves become bitter and yellow.
Because they grow so quickly, if you want to have a continuous supply of greens, re-seed about halfway through the maturation of the first sowing. That way, you will have another harvest ready to reap soon after the first, and so on.
How to Harvest Radish Leaves
There is no secret to harvesting radish leaves. You can snip them off at ground level or pull the entire plant. Separate the root from the greens by cutting it.
Wash the greens free of dirt and you are ready to use them. They can be tossed into salads or tucked into wraps or sautéed; only your imagination limits their use.
5 recipes for radish leaves
Several years ago, when I started looking at how to use the parts of foods we often throw away, one of the first totally out-of-the-ordinary recipes I made was radish top soup. I loved the peppery taste of the radish leaves. Most of the time the leafy greens from radish plants get thrown away or composted, but they’re edible and delicious. Here are several recipes that make use of radish leaves.
- Radish Top Soup – This is the recipe I used for that first foray into eating radish tops. Mixed with potatoes and topped with sliced radishes, this creamy, pureed soup will turn you into a radish green lover.
- Radish Greens Dal – Radish greens and lentils are the base for this spicy curry.
- Radish Leaf Pesto – The greens from radishes replace the basil and parsley in this pasta topper that can also be used as a dip.
- Spicy Stir Fried Radish Greens – Garlic and a sauce are added to the greens and stir fried for one of the fastest side dishes you can make.
- Radish Leaves and Avocado Quiche – This is one green quiche. The recipe calls for making mini quiches and topping them with sliced radishes. Very colorful.
Everyone knows that eating radish is good for health. But what about the radish leaves?
Are radish leaves good for you? Are radish leaves poisonous?
You must have heard these questions many times. To make a long story short, Of course, Radish leaves are edible and it’s healthy.
But it is not enough to know.
Radish greens are not only safe to eat but also are rich in pro-vitamins, minerals fiber, calories and also have disease preventive quality.
What is the nutritive value of radish green? What are the diseases it can prevent? How to eat radish leaves?
Today I am going to answer all the questions. Let’s take a look!
What Are The Nutritional Values Of Radish Leaves?
Radish leaves are nutritious. The radish leaves contain a lot of calcium, iron, and copper, vitamins (A, B, C, E, and K). 100 grams of radish leaves contain 3000 IU vitamin A, which is three times more than the same amount of green cauliflower; and 290 mg calcium which is four times more than the same amount of spinach (55 mg calcium); vitamin B1 is 60% more than the bean. vitamin B2 is twice as much as cow’s milk. Vitamin C is more abundant in oranges, but the radish leaves contain vitamin C two and a half times than oranges.
According to the analysis, every 100 grams of radish leaves contain 49 calories, 5.2 grams of protein, 0.7 grams of lipid, 7.1 grams of saccharide, 290 mg of calcium, and phosphorus 30 mg, iron 1.4 mg, vitamin A 3000 IU, Vitamin B 0.4 mg, vitamin C 90 mg.
What Are The Health Benefits of Radish Leaves?
You may already know Radish has lots of health benefits. Besides, Radish leaves are good and nutritious. Cause –
- Radish leaves are rich in vitamin A, which is an essential nutrient for skin and eyes.
- The radish leaves contain calcium, iron, and copper those help to renew the blood cells (leucocytes, red blood cells, hemoglobin, etc.)
- It contains a high amount of folic acid(vitamin B9), which is essential for the growth, maintenance of all cells and good development of Fetus.
- Radish leaves rich in vitamin C, which can prevent skin aging, the formation of melanin, vascular aging, and arteriosclerosis.
- Dietary fiber in the leaves can promote gastrointestinal motility, prevent constipation and promote digestion.
- The radish leaves often have the effect of nourishing beauty and improving eye congestion.
- Radish tops are antioxidants.
Medicinal Uses of Radish Leaves
Cough and Vomiting
The white radish smashed leaves juice with boiling water can treat cough and vomiting caused by typhoid or injury.
Abdominal Distension, Stomach Pain
The dried radish leaves are chopped and boiled in water for 15 minutes. Drink it like tea. You can also add tea with boiled water. It helps to cure gas, appetite, and diarrhea, thoracic pain, snoring and vomiting.
Male and Female Hemorrhoids, Anal Itching, Genital Eczema
Put 1500 grams of vinegar and 150 grams dried radish leaves into the pot and boil it for 5-10 minutes. Pour the vinegar and radish into the enamel pot. After cooling down, the patient takes the mouth on the enamel pot for fumigation. The next day, the vinegar and radish were reheated and fumigated. Fumigation 1 time before going to bed every day for 4-5 days.
The radish young leaves juice is very good for the long-term treatment of dysentery, habitual diarrhea, and chronic intestinal inflammation. Drink 2 or 3 times will be more effective.
Modern research shows that the content of vitamin K in radish leaves is much higher than other foods, so radish leaves are the best source of natural vitamin K. This vitamin can resist urate crystals and effectively prevent bones.
How to Eat Radish Greens?
It is recommended to consume them raw to take better advantage of their nutrients.
Although there are also more ways to consume radish leaves, these are:
- In tea.
- In juices, you can combine them with other fruits or leaves.
- The leaves of radishes can be used in soups.
- In salads, you can combine it with other vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, etc.
- In creams.
- You can also cook it, but only for a few minutes so it does not lose its nutrients.
When choosing radish leaves, be careful not to eat yellow or rotten leaves. Choose a green fresh radish leaf. Before consuming the leaves, wash them thoroughly with plenty of water to remove the soil.
That’s all of the ways radish greens benefit you. So, when you buy radish, do not throw the leaves. If you grow radish in your garden, then you can collect green leaves after several days. Make radish top soup or some other delicious food and take the benefits they provide.
Radish Top Soup: A Reason to Keep the Greens
Even if you’re doing your best to cook root-to-leaf and nose-to-tail, there are probably still some edible bits you’re missing. Every other Sunday, we’ll focus on one overlooked scrap, and show you how to turn what would otherwise be trash into a dish to treasure.
Today: When it comes to radishes, don’t toss those tops!
Shop the Story
Unless you’re living in a warmer climate where you’re already distracted by the season’s first strawberries (please don’t rub it in), your local farmers market is probably filled with verdant vegetables—lettuces, green onions, asparagus. So it’s no surprise that spring radishes suck you in. They are like produce Sirens, distracting you with their colorful orbs, begging you to ignore the surrounding swaths of green. (The only difference is, I know of no ill-effects from heeding the call of radishes.)
You’re entranced enough to pick up a couple of bunches, but then you head home, toss the plastic bag full of radishes into the crisper drawer of your refrigerator, and forget about them. Well, you forget about them until you notice the radishes swimming in a pool of green slime and are forced to pluck the roots out from the mess of leaves-turned-seaweed.
Don’t let those radish tops go to waste again. When you get home from the farmers market, cut the greens from the roots and store them separately. Then, when you’re ready to use the greens, wash them really well—they can hang on to dirt and grit.
More: Start storing your greens the right way.
Even though the roots and greens are best stored separately, it doesn’t mean you have to use them separately. Food52er Viviane Bauquet Farre serves radish roots and leaves together by pairing a silky radish top soup with roasted radish roots coated in crushed fennel seeds. For the soup, if you don’t have lemon-infused oil, just add some fresh lemon juice to taste for a hit of acid. And for the roasted radishes, her method of slow-roasting leaves the roots caramelized and soft—very soft, like Broccoli Cooked Forever soft. If you’d prefer the roots to still have some tooth to them, consider roasting them uncovered for only 20 to 25 minutes.
This recipe uses a lot of radish greens, but here are a few more ideas that we think are tops (sorry, couldn’t resist):
- Sauté them as you would any other green.
- Make radish top pesto.
- Add a few leaves to a salad or sandwich. (Radish greens have a coarse, prickly texture, so stick with the smaller, tender leaves when using them raw.)
Radish Top Soup and Slow-Roasted Radish Roots with Fennel Seeds by Viviane Bauquet Farre
Serves 4 to 6
For the radish top soup:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 shallots, skinned, halved, and finely sliced (1 1/4 cups)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, skinned and finely sliced
8 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (1 1/4 cups)
3 cups vegetable stock
2 1/2 cups spring water
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 ounces radish tops without the tough stems (or 12 ounces mustard greens), leaves and tender stems cut into 1/2-inch strips (14 cups loosely packed)
1 tablespoon crème fraîche
Lemon-infused oil as garnish
For the roasted radish roots:
12 ounces watermelon radish roots (4 large), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
12 ounces regular radish roots (14 large), unpeeled and quartered
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed in a mortar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon maple syrup
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Know of a great recipe in the Food52 archives that uses scraps (anything from commonly discarded produce parts to stale bread to bones and more)? Tell me about it in the comments!
Photos by James Ransom
Radish season is here, and thank goodness. Along with purple-sprouting broccoli and spring onions, these glorious, rosy roots are the harbingers of delicious things to come. Even as we speak, little crunchy, peppery, pink globes are being plucked from veg patches up and down the land, an early, plentiful and easy harvest. Many are gardeners who, like me, have discovered the close-to-instant gratification of the radish (well, as “instant” as a home-grown vegetable can ever be), and if you are not yet among them, I hope I can bring you into the fold.
Radishes will grow almost anywhere, in almost any soil, and go from seed to plate in around four weeks flat. Not quite as quick as nipping down to the local supermarket and buying a pack, maybe, but in terms of effort in versus pleasure out, I know which camp I’m in. If you have a small flowerbed, a deep windowbox – hell, even a reasonably large bucket will do – then I’d urge you to plant a handful of radish seeds right now. You’ll be sinking your teeth into juicy, home-grown roots before Wimbledon hits the telly. There are various varieties to be had: the elongated “French breakfast” is very good, as is the gorgeous, round “Cherry Belle”.
For such a small, unassuming vegetable, radishes bring out quite a passion in me. These perfect, plump little creatures are just so incredibly pleasing to look at and can be so entertaining to eat. This is something you may find hard to understand if you’ve only ever tried overgrown, tired old examples, or the sort of dried-out, lifeless radish slices that get chucked on the side of a plate of scampi and chips as part of that tragic concept, the “salad garnish”. The bigger and older the radish is, the more woody its texture and the more disappointing its taste: either unpalatably harsh or lacking any real flavour at all.
You want your radishes young, fresh and small. The round variety should really be no bigger than a cherry by the time you eat them. The refreshing crunch and delayed-effect warm note of a super-fresh, just-pulled radish is an oral experience of immense charm and cheerfulness. Once they’re beyond 24 hours old, though, the fun starts to wane a little, and two or three days post-picking, they’ve completely let themselves go. That’s why, if you’re buying radishes rather than growing them, get them with the leafy tops still attached. Not only are these peppery greens good to eat in their own right (see this week’s soup recipe for one very nice way to use them), but they are a valuable indicator of freshness. The leaves start wilting as soon as the radish is picked, of course, so if they’re still looking pretty perky, the chances are that the radishes beneath will be full of life, too.
Whole and unembellished, radishes make a wonderful component in a spread of salads or meze or any sort of meal where a few different dishes are involved – although a bowl of them left in my kitchen will often have disappeared before it’s time for the lunch or dinner they were intended to be part of. The late, great Jane Grigson declared that it’s nothing less than an “insult” to a good radish to do anything with it except devour it whole. “Radishes… clear the taste and prepare for food and drink,” she declares in her invaluable Vegetable Book, “that has been their historical and traditional function.”
Much as I respect that view, if I have a bumper crop of anything, I always enjoy tinkering and experimenting with it, and radishes are no exception. I’ve had great success using these red roots in salads and slaws, and chucking their leaves into soups and wilting them for pasta dishes. I also love a radish raita with a curry (the roots thinly sliced and folded into a mixture of plain yoghurt and soft goat’s cheese, and spiked with a little fresh mint) and on occasion have even been known to cook them (see the simple glazed radish recipe below).
When I find myself with a really crisp, juicy, fresh bunch of radishes, though, it’s hard to disagree with St Jane. Do nothing to them but crunch and swallow. What an utter delight.
Chilled radish and mint soup (V)
This is a really unusual and wonderfully refreshing summer soup that makes use of the radish leaves as well as the roots. Don’t worry if you have only leafless radishes: rocket or watercress can stand in. Serves four as a starter.
About 20 radishes and their leaves (or 20 radishes plus two good handfuls of rocket or watercress)
12 mint leaves, plus extra to serve
250ml vegetable stock, chilled
1 small dessert apple, peeled, cored and diced
2 tbsp creme fraiche
1 pinch cayenne pepper
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Set aside two of the radishes. Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil, plunge in the radishes, their leaves (or the rocket or watercress) and the mint, cook for just a minute, then drain. Refresh immediately by plunging them into a bowl of cold water, or running them under the cold tap in a colander.
Put the blanched radishes, leaves and mint in a food processor with the stock, apple, creme fraiche, cayenne and some salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Taste, add more salt and pepper as needed, and chill.
Chilled radish and mint soup: Use rocket or watercress instead of radish leaves if need be. Photograph: Colin Campbell for the Guardian
Serve the soup cold, garnished with slices of the reserved raw radishes and a little shredded mint.
Radish, carrot and spring onion salad with orange-soaked raisins (V)
The most colourful and cheerful-looking of salads, this is delicious with a couple of thick slices of good ham. Serves four as a side dish.
50ml orange juice
A bunch of radishes – about 200g
About 150g small carrots
1 bunch spring onions
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cider vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put the raisins and orange juice in a small pan, bring just to a simmer, take off the heat and leave to cool.
Once the raisins are cold, you can make the salad. Wash and trim the radishes and slice them into thin discs. Peel the carrots and cut them into similar-sized, thin slices – you may need to halve or even quarter the carrots lengthways first, to be able to cut them to the right shape and size. Thinly slice the spring onions. Combine all the vegetables in a bowl.
Drain the raisins, reserving the orange juice. Mix the raisins into the bowl of veg. Combine the orange juice with the olive oil, vinegar and some salt and pepper, and mix well. Stir the dressing into the bowl of sliced veg and serve.
Glazed radishes (V)
A nice way to treat radishes that are not quite as super-fresh as you’d like them to be. It makes a great side dish for a roast. Serves three to four.
250g radishes, trimmed and washed
1 tsp caster sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
About 150ml stock
Chopped parsley, to serve
Melt the butter over a medium heat in a deep frying pan or a saucepan large enough to take the radishes in a single layer. Add the radishes, sugar, a good pinch of salt and enough stock to come halfway up the radishes. Bring to a simmer and cook gently, uncovered, giving the pan a shake or a stir every now and then, until the radishes are just tender but still with some resistance to the bite – around 15 minutes. Remove the radishes with a slotted spoon, transfer to a warmed dish and keep warm.
Raise the heat under the pan and rapidly boil the remaining liquid until reduced to a thick glaze (it may well need little or no extra cooking). Return the radishes to the pan, turn to coat them in the glaze, season again and serve sprinkled with chopped parsley.
Radishes with butter and salt (V)
So very simple and so very good, this is one of my favourite ways to eat just-pulled radishes. Serves four.
About 400g radishes
1 pat unsalted butter, at room temperature but not too soft
A dish of top-quality flaky sea salt
Arrange everything on the table and make sure each diner has a knife. To eat, smear a little butter on the end of a radish, sprinkle with the tiniest pinch of salt and pop into your mouth.
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I love to eat radishes – they are crunchy and great in salads! I eat the radishes plain with a little salt, I eat them dipped in the ranch dressing, I add them to salads, and I make radish salad. Everyone who likes radishes eats the actual red radish itself, but what about the radish leaves? Can you eat radish greens? Yes, you certainly can!
For many years, I didn’t know that you can eat radish greens, so I was throwing the leaves out. Then I’ve read somewhere that radish greens are edible, so I gave them a try. Now I always use up all parts of radishes – the radish itself and its leaves.
Before eating the radish greens, make sure you wash them really well in cold water – many times the radish leaves are very dirty.
What do radish greens taste like? Kind of like radishes – bold and spicy!
So how do you eat radish greens? Here are the 2 ways to eat radish greens:
1. In A Salad
Chop up the radish leaves and add them to the green salad. You can mix them with other salad greens for a unique lettuce mix.
2. Sauteed Greens
You can pan-fry the radish greens with some oil and minced garlic until they are wilted for a warm healthy side dish.
Here is a picture of radish greens separated from radishes:
And here’s the picture of chopped radish leaves!
And for a great recipe for red radishes, see this excellent radish, tomato, cucumber and green onion salad – even people who are not big fans of radishes like this one!
Spicy Stir-Fried Radish Greens and / or Swiss Chard
posted by Kalyn Denny on June 26, 2008
Spicy Stir-Fried Radish Greens and / or Swiss Chard is a spicy vegetable stir-fry you can make with radish greens or Swiss Chard, or use a combination of greens! Use Side Dish Recipes to find more recipes like this one.
PIN Spicy Stir-Fried Radish Greens and / or Swiss Chard to make it later!
You may be wondering about a recipe for Spicy Stir-Fried Radish Greens! But radishes are becoming a trendy vegetable, and I was intrigued by the idea of stir-frying radish greens when I heard about it. If you’re not that adventurous, just use this as a recipe for spicy stir-fried Asian-flavored Swiss Chard. I actually used a combination of radish greens and chard when I made it, and both were fresh greens from my garden.
Even if you have a garden with lots of radishes, you may want to combine them wit another type of greens like I did, because radish greens do have a slightly bitter taste. Think about whether you enjoy bitter flavors like arugula and Kalamata olives to help you decide whether to make this with radish greens or Swiss Chard, but I really enjoyed the radish greens.
Information About Radishes and Radish Greens:
I was intrigued when I discovered the idea of cooked radishes. I’m sure one of those radish cooking experiments primed me for the idea of cooking radish greens, and I had to try it. There are many types of radishes, and Wikipedia reports that radishes are grown throughout the world. I couldn’t find any nutrition information on radish greens, but swiss chard, spinach, collard greens, and mustard greens are listed as some of The World’s Healthiest Foods, so I’m guessing radish greens are also very nutritious.
How to Make Spicy Stir-Fried Radish Greens and / or Swiss Chard:
(Scroll down for complete printable recipe.)
- The first photo shows the lovely French Breakfast radishes from my garden that I pulled and suddenly had a flash of inspiration about cooking the greens. When I made the recipe the second time, I realized if you have a garden, you can cut off radish greens as they grow, keeping the radishes in the ground until you want to use them.
- I also snipped off some of my larger chard leaves, which were still pretty small. I used about half and half radish and chard leaves, but you could use combine them any way you liked, or use all chard if you don’t have radish leaves.
- I picked the radish greens and chard during the heat of the day, so I actually soaked them in ice cold water for about 30 minutes before I chopped them up to cook them. Hooray for the salad spinner (affiliate link) for this type of washing of greens.
- Working in several bunches, slice the greens about 1/2 inch thick. I wasn’t too compulsive about it, and I discovered big chard leaves are definitely easier to slice into nice ribbons.
- The next photo is my attempt of a photo of chard wilting in the hot wok, and since this dish only cooks for about 90 seconds, I think you’re going to have to let me get away with this photo.
- When greens are almost all wilted, add sauce ingredients, stir, and cook 30 seconds more. Serve hot.
Make It a Meal
This would be delicious with something like Grilled Salmon with Asian Dipping Sauce.
More Recipes with Radishes or Radish Greens:
Raw Asparagus, Radish, and Feta Low-Carb Salad ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Radish Penne ~ Cooking with Amy
Roasted Radishes with Soy Sauce and Toasted Sesame Seeds ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Radish Greens Pesto ~ From a Chef’s Kitchen
Sauteed Radishes with Vinegar and Herbs ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
- 10 ounces radish greens, washed and cut into 1/2 inch slices (see notes)
- 2 tsp. peanut oil
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 T soy sauce (see notes)
- 1 tsp. rice vinegar (see notes)
- 1 tsp.sweetener of your choice
- 1/4 tsp. Sriracha sauce or other hot sauce (to taste)
- Wash and dry radish greens and/or swiss chard. (I used a salad spinner.) If desired, soak greens for about 30 minutes in very cold water. (This makes sure they’re crisp for the quick stir-frying.)
- Working in batches, cut greens crosswise into 1/2 inch slices.
- Mix together sauce ingredients and set aside.
- Preheat the wok or large, heavy frying pan until it feels very hot when you hold your hand there, then add the oil.
- When oil looks shimmery, add the garlic cloves (for seasoning the oil) and cook about 30 seconds, making sure garlic doesn’t start to brown. Remove garlic and discard.
- Add chopped radish greens and/or swiss chard all at once and immediately begin to stir-fry, turning greens over and over just until they are almost all wilted. (For me this was only one minute, but I have a great gas stove with a burner with really high heat.)
- When greens are almost all wilted, add sauce ingredients, stir, and cook 30 seconds more.
- Serve hot.
Nutritional information is almost identical for radish greens or Swiss Chard; choose the combination you prefer. Use Gluten-Free Soy Sauce (affiliate link) if needed. Don’t use seasoned rice vinegar which contains sugar.
Recipe created by Kalyn with some chard-cooking inspiration from Vegetables Every Day.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 88 Total Fat: 5g Saturated Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 861mg Carbohydrates: 5.4g Fiber: 4g Sugar: 1g Protein: 5g Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Spicy Stir-Fried Radish Greens are a perfect side dish for any phase of the South Beach Diet, and would be suitable any type of low-glycemic or Low-Carb eating plan.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.
Categories: Easy to Cook, Recipes, Stir-Fry Ingredients: Leafy Greens, Vegetables
posted by Kalyn Denny on June 26, 2008
Radish Leaf Pesto Recipe
Radish season is in full swing, and I have been buying a bunch a week. I very much like radis roses, the pink, elongated ones with a white bottom that look like so many pink mice, but I don’t turn my nose at the red globes, and certainly not at the multicolored bouquets.
(Side note: never sure what’s in season when? My seasonal produce guide is for you, and it’s free to download!)
In fact, it is not so much the color or shape of the bulbs I pay attention to when I shop, but the color and vigor of their leaves*. First, because they are a telltale sign of freshness, and second, because I eat them as radish leaf pesto, a habit I’ve taken up in the spirit of frugality, eco-friendliness, and kitchen craftiness.
Radish leaves have a flavor I would situate somewhere between watercress and nettles, but a few notches milder. The texture of the larger leaves can be a bit rough so they’re not ideal for salads, but they make fine soups and gratins (I add them to my Swiss chard gratin), I like them in pasta, and they work beautifully in pesto, which is what I make with them most often.
When I get back from the market, I separate the leaves from the bulbs. I refrigerate the latter — radishes should be washed moments before eating — while I rinse and dry the leaves like I do herbs, discarding any that are limp or discolored. I then store them in a container in the fridge until I’m ready to use them — but no longer than a day.
I prefer to remove the stems, so I simply tear them off, and keep only the leaves, which I put in my beloved blender and mix with garlic, pistachios, shavings of pecorino, and olive oil.
A Loose Recipe for Radish Leaf Pesto
The recipe below is really just a guide: the concept of pesto as a purée of greens, hard cheese, and nuts, is very forgiving and can be adapted to what you have on hand. You can use more or less cheese, more, fewer, or no nuts at all, add a little lemon peel, which brightens up the whole, and/or throw in other fresh leafy herbs that need using or pruning.
I also like a chunkier version, too.
Depending on the intended use, I make my pesto thick or creamy. I have been using this one to dress bucatini from Rome (I combine the pesto with a little cooking water from the pasta to make an unctuous sauce), to flavor polenta, to line the crust of vegetable tarts, to garnish sandwiches and tartines, to rub a rack of lamb, and to stuff oven-roasted fish. I also have plans to try my hand at potato gnocchi soon, and will likely serve them with radish leaf pesto.
And while we’re on the subject of radishes, I’ll take this opportunity to remind you of my preferred way of eating them: with mashed avocado and smoked salt. I’ve also been slicing them thinly (using a mandoline slicer) and adding them to salads for piquancy and crunch. It was particularly successful in the salad of avocado and purslane (a variety called Clayton de Cuba) below, topped with a multigrain cracker, itself spread with radish leaf pesto and very good prosciutto.
* In French, a leaf is une feuille, but there is another word, une fane, for the leaves of certain plants that are cultivated chiefly for another part, such as carrots and radishes. Radish leaves are thus referred to as fanes de radis.
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Radish Leaf Pesto Recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Makes one small jar.
- 2 large handfuls of good-looking radish leaves, stems removed
- 30 grams (1 ounce) hard cheese, such as pecorino or parmesan, grated or shaved using a vegetable peeler
- 30 grams (1 ounce) nuts, such as pistachios, almonds, or pinenuts (avoid walnuts, which make the end result too bitter in my opinion)
- 1 clove garlic, germ removed, cut in four
- a short ribbon of lemon zest cut thinly from an organic lemon with a vegetable peeler (optional)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to get the consistency you like
- ground chili pepper
- Put all the ingredients in a food processor or blender, and process in short pulses until smooth. You will likely have to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice.
- Add more oil and pulse again to get the consistency you prefer. (This can also be done with a mortar and pestle; it’s great for karma and triceps.)
- Taste, adjust the seasoning, and pack into an airtight container — I use a repurposed glass jar.
Use within a few days (it will keep longer if you pour a thin layer of oil on the surface) or freeze.
3.1 https://cnz.to/recipes/dips-spreads/radish-leaf-pesto-recipe/ Unless otherwise noted, all recipes are copyright Clotilde Dusoulier.
Freshly mixed in my blender.
This post was first published in May 2009 and updated in April 2017.