It’s taken me a little while to do anything with radish tops. They kinda make me nervous. I think it’s their prickliness. But in my past two CSA boxes there have been some beautiful bunches of radishes attached to these soaring magnificent green leaves. I just couldn’t toss them into the compost bin anymore, I had to figure out something to do with them. And as one does with many peculiar greens they’re unsure of what do with, I made a pesto. It turned out delicious!
At first I thought the tiny spines on the stems and the bristly leaves would be too tricky to get around and leave you with a weird mouthfeel, but they don’t at all. When processed with the cashews, lemon juice and olive oil the spiny texture is completely eliminated. I add a bit of sweetness with agave nectar to balance out the bitterness and some of the radishy heat. I don’t add any cheese, as a typical pesto does, so it’s totally vegan.
You can use this pesto in so many ways. I used it as a sandwich spread to add a little veggie flavor boost. You could add a spoonful to a bowl of soup or on top of quesadillas or pizza. You could use it as a dip for crackers or veggies or add a big scoop to a jar with red wine vinegar and oil and shake together for a flavorful vinaigrette. I also spread it on toast and topped it with sauteed sliced radishes and a sprinkle of course salt and pepper – it makes for a lovely crostini. So many possibilities, go wild!
Add the radish tops, cashews, lemon zest & juice, garlic, and salt to a food processor and process until coarsely chopped.
With the lid on, slowly add the olive oil through the feed tube until it’s as smooth as you like.
The cashews give it a nutty sweetness and the lemon lightens and brightens!
Radish tops are packed with nutrition, so the pesto is full of vitamins, iron, calcium, and healthy fats. It’s nutritious and delicious!
This recipe has been submitted to the Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck.
Radish Top Pesto
1/3 cup toasted cashews
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic, chopped
a few pinches of salt, to taste
extra virgin olive oil
agave nectar, to taste
Add the radish tops, cashews, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, and salt to the bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely chopped. With the lid on and the processor running, slowly pour in the olive oil through the tube until it’s the consistency you like. Taste and add additional salt if needed and a splash of agave nectar and pulse until combined. Keep in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 – 5 days or freeze. Enjoy!