Had farmer's market radishes and wondered if something could be made from their good-looking (edible but bitter) leaves. This was the result. Its NOT going to be mistaken for basil pesto, but its still delicious in its own way and can be used for the same applications. By using the radish leaves you're turning one veggie into two--very budget friendly! I made this with the good leaves from two bunches, maybe 2 or so unpacked cups of leaves. Just separate the radish leaves from the radishes, keeping the leaves that are bright and crisp and discarding any that are discolored or wilted. You'll probably have the best to choose from with your own homegrown radishes or from the farmer's market (probably not going to be as fresh at the grocery store). Wash them well and pat dry, then you're ready to pulverize...Note: I found the pesto to be okay when I first made it, but really a bit bitter. The tsp of sugar really goes a long way! It will still be slightly bitter, but in an enjoyable, kind of peppery/tart way more like arugula. Give it a try and don't be afraid to adjust sugar/salt/pepper to find the balance you prefer.
- Drop the first four ingredients (leaves, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice) to the bowl of your food processor and pulse to form a thick paste. Add more olive oil if necessary to bring to your desired consistency.
- Add the sugar, cheese, nuts, salt and pepper and pulse to combine. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste. If the pesto is still a bit bitter, add 1/2 tsp of sugar and pulse.
- Chill to combine flavors and use in your favorite pesto application.
This recipe is for the frugal at heart, myself included! I was tickled to find this as there are so few recipes for the radish tops. Having recently discovered Braised Radishes (delicious!) I had 3 bunches of leaves to use up, from which I collected 5 cups. So I made a double batch, using walnuts in place of pine nuts. This doesn't taste like basil pesto but it's actually quite good in its own right. You are right, the little bit of sugar really helps to remove the bitterness from it. Also adding extra Parmesan cheese helps with that too. I stirred mine into noodles but also plan to use it on pizza. It would be great as a 2nd sauce. Thank you, Tlharin!
Fun recipe! It's a different flavor than I'm used to for pesto, but I liked it a lot and I am also a big fan of using healthy greens instead of wasting them. I used 6 cups chopped radish leaves, 6 garlic cloves and doubled the rest of the recipe. I forgot to throw the nuts in, but it was still good. Enjoyed this as a dip with some pita chips. Thanks! I'll use this recipe again the next time I have a bunch of radish leaves.