Radishes are one of the fastest ripening crops a gardener can plant. If you’re aching to have something – anything – that you grew yourself on the dinner table, radishes are a good starting place. Plant them as soon as your ground can be worked, and they’ll be ready in just 3-4 weeks. But don’t stop at eating the rosy roots. I discovered several of years ago that the radish leaves are edible too. (I have no idea how I grew up without knowing this!)
My colleague, April Paffrath, shared a recipe for radish leaf pesto at Wicked Tasty Harvest and I’ve been hooked ever since. Spicier than pesto made with basil leaves, radish leaf pesto is a fabulous way to stretch the harvest from an early spring garden. I serve it over pasta, and my kids love to spread it on crackers or in mozzarella grilled cheese sandwiches. It has a tendency to maintain its bright green hue without discoloring like traditional pesto does, so it’s a nice bet for a pretty springtime appetizer, too.
If you know me at all, you know that I didn’t make this without modifying April’s recipe just a bit. Here’s my version:
Radish Leaf Pesto
- Leaves from two bunches of radishes (about 3 cups)
- 2 big cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup shredded pecorino romano cheese
- small handful of fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
- pinch of sea salt
Thoroughly wash and dry radish leaves. Remove woody stems and put in blender or food processor with remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth. Easy, peasy.