Friday, October 7, 2011

Radish Leaf Pesto

I throw too many things away, particularly when I'm cooking. The dark green stems from leeks. The husks from corn. Radish leaves I'm particularly bad with. I just take off the beautiful red radishes and immediately discard the dirty greens.

But thanks to this recipe I stumbled across, I'll be able to take radish leaves off that list. From now on, I'm turning them into radish leaf pesto.

The recipe couldn't be easier, and I found it just as tasty as basil pesto. Mine was a kitchen-sink pesto of sorts. I only had pumpkin seeds in my cabinet, so that's what I used. I made pesto pasta salad out of my pesto, combining a container of cooked pasta with the pesto and peas. The color was beautiful, and it was cheap, made mostly from an ingredient I would have thrown away.

This recipe is by by food blogger Clotilde Dusoulier, woman number 18 on Gourmet Magazine's list of 50 women game-changers in food history. Of the selection, Gourmet wrote: Dusoulier's 2003-vintage blog Chocolate and Zucchini is the Francophile's dream. She posts from Montmartre about cheese and brioche--but also, to be fair, mochi and muffins. Her fifth book--her translation and adaptation of the 1923 French equivalent of Joy of Cooking, Ginette Mathiot's Je Sais Cuisiner ("I Know How to Cook")--is already iconic. 

Be sure to visit the other women who are paying tribute to Clotilde Dusoulier today!
Val - More Than Burnt Toast
Joanne - Eats Well With Others
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan - The Spice Garden
Claudia - A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Heather - girlichef
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney
Jeanette - Healthy Living
April - Abby Sweets 
Katie - Making Michael Pollan Proud
Mary - One Perfect Bite
Kathleen -Bake Away with Me
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen
Sue - The View from Great Island
Barbara - Movable Feasts
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds
Amy - Beloved Green
Jeanette - Healthy Living 
Linda - Ciao Chow Linda
Linda A - There and Back Again
Martha - Lines from Linderhof

Radish Leaf Pesto
recipe from Chocolate and Zucchini

2 large handfuls of radish leaves, well washed (I used the leaves from one bunch of radishes)
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated
1 ounce nuts (avoid walnuts as they are too bitter; I used pumpkin seeds)
1 clove garlic, cut into four pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Put all the ingredients into the food processor, and pulse together until smooth. You'll have to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice during the process. This produces a thick pesto. Add more olive oil to get the consistency you prefer.

Taste. Adjust the seasoning. Package into an air-tight container. Use within a few days or freeze.


  1. I woild imagine radish leaves have a peppery note that would revive our pesto recipes.

  2. I really, really love the idea of using the radish greens to make pesto! While I am guilty of throwing away the greens occasionally...usually if I'm feeling particularly lazy...I try to make myself clean them up. They make a fantastic soup, as well. I will definitely go this route next time, though. YUM!

  3. Did processing eliminate that sort of prickly quality of the radish leaves? We occasionally use radish micro-greens in salad, but the texture of the mature leaves wasn't something I thought I'd want to eat. It would be great to do something with them other than composting - I just might give this a try!

  4. Wow, who knew? I always throw those away also, but I will give this a try the next time I have radishes as I usually get them 1-2 times a month. The pasta looks wonderful, by the way.

  5. I recently started cooking radish greens and they were terrific. Next time I get more radishes, I'll have try them in this pesto.

  6. Very clever....have not seen that before, but I had read someplace never to throw out radish leaves. Nice to see a pesto made with them!

  7. Jeanette--I didn't know you could cook radish greens! I'm going to have to look for recipes for those.

    Tug's Girl--The leaves weren't prickly at all after they were processed. I ground them up quite a bit though!

    Girlichef--I didn't realize you could use them in soup. I'm going to have to get more creative around here!