Radish Leaf and Basil Pesto

by Marykate Smith Despres, Salem Depot

I was a bit disappointed when my husband pulled out the radishes. I like nearly all other root vegetables, some more than others, but these peppery little knobs are not my favorite. After scouring my favorite cookbooks and websites for recipes, I felt sorely disappointed in the lack preparations that offered something more than just slicing and pairing with one’s favorite salad, sandwich or dip.

Things changed, however, when I focused instead on radish greens. As it turns out, the leaves of this little root are, in fact, edible and are perfect for making pesto! I found a great many radish leaf pesto recipes and decided to take the idea and make it my own. Pesto is, essentially, a puree of raw greens, nuts and hard cheese. So, I grabbed what I had on hand that fell into these three categories and this is what I came up with:

1 bunch radish greens

about 2 cups packed fresh basil

1/3 cup crunchy, unsalted almond butter

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 large cloves garlic

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

1/4 tsp ground ginger

All you need to do is clean your greens, peel your garlic, toss everything in the food processor, and blend until smooth. You can save your pesto to use as sandwich spread or a snack with crackers (you could even dip those sliced raw radishes into their own pesto!), or turn it into a quick dinner like I did by mixing it into your favorite pasta.

Now it’s your turn!

Start with this basic equation: radish greens + nuts + hard cheese = pesto. Post your radish leaf pesto variations in the comments below and tell us how you use it!