Radish Green and Cashew Pesto

pesto made with radish leaves

Remember in the spring when I made this lovely radish tartine? I was thrilled at the adorable little radishes growing in my garden.   I have long dreamed of a beautiful and fruitful kitchen garden. I always believed that if I ever got to live someplace with a back yard, I would have pounds of squash and bushels of peppers.  But as it turns out, even with that lovely back yard at my disposal, gardening is not an innate talent that I possess.

I’m working on it. With advice from friends, and some trial and error, I may just get that fantasy garden someday. For now, I make do with easy to grow radishes.  Radishes do especially well in cool weather, making them a great fall pick as well as a spring treasure. And at the moment, I have more radishes than I know what to do with.  A lovely problem to have.

I also have more radish greens that I can store in my fridge.  I’m not one to waste food in general, particularly not food I’ve grown in my own garden.  So I’ve been finding all sorts of ways to enjoy these greens, which remind me a bit of watercress. Young radish greens are tender and sweet, and add a nice bite to salads.  More mature radish greens are a bit spicier and a little more woody, and are lovely sautéed with garlic in oil and tossed with pasta. If you are using radish greens from store-bought radishes, just be sure to pick bunches of radishes with the freshest, brightest-looking greens (this will ensure fresh, crisp radishes too).

For this radish green and cashew pesto you can use young greens for a milder flavor, or mature greens for greater intensity. Either way, this is a unique sauce.  Don’t expect this to have any of the subtle sweetness of a traditional basil pesto. No, this pesto is bold and radish-forward.  But it is lovely.  It is wonderful on sandwiches, delicious over grilled fish, tasty tossed with fresh pasta, and fantastic stirred into scrambled eggs.  My favorite way to eat it, though, is spread thickly on a simple piece of whole grain toast.

This pesto will keep for a few days in the fridge, but I do plan to freeze my next batch.  The flavor pop of fresh radish greens will be welcome on a cold day mid-winter, I am sure.

pesto made with garden fresh greens

Radish Green and Cashew Pesto

2 cups loosely packed fresh radish greens

1/2 cup roasted unsalted cashews

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 ounces parmesan cheese, grated

1/4 cup olive oil

Add the radish greens, cashews, salt, and cheese to the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse to finely chop the nuts and greens. Slowly, with the machine running, drizzle the oil into the bowl.  Continue to process until the mixture is well combined and no chunks remain (stop and scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl as needed). Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Published in: on October 14, 2012 at 2:37 pm  Comments (9)  
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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This sounds absolutely delicious, Katie!! 🙂 I love radishes too and am growing them for the first time this year. 🙂 My wretched goats got in and ate the tops off, but thankfully they survived and are leafing out again. 🙂 I’ve eaten one so far and they are delicious. 🙂

  2. I have used radish greens to make pesto too. Yours looks so good!

  3. As much as I would love to be a gardener, I will never have a green thumb. Love your idea of using the green radish tops for pesto and substituting cashews for the pine nuts. Our little supermarket doesn’t get a big turnover in pine nuts, and sometimes they are stale. Pine nuts are too expensive to buy state….

  4. Okay, here’s why I love this: the greens are the only part of the radish that I can manage to grow. I get these anemic little radishes every time I try to grow them! This sounds delicious!

  5. I could use a fantasy garden as well 🙂 And this is an unexpected pesto, but I like the idea.

  6. Wow, this sounds amazing, what a great way to use a surplus of produce! Delightful!

  7. Wow! Talk about labor of love! This is excellent and what an innovative way to use radish greens which are so nutritious and cashews are just plain decadent 🙂

    chow:) Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  8. Cashews in a pesto, they must taste wonderful and make it buttery! I never had radish greens, but will try to save them next time. Nice recipe!

  9. I made a similar green cashew spread. I soaked my cashews: they become more healthy, easier to digest & more creamy this way too. Here is my link: http://sophiesfoodiefiles.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/vegan-rucola-arugula-cashew-cheese-spread-yeah/

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