How to Use Radish Greens

We might think of radish greens as scraps, but in fact, they're just as delicious as radishes themselves. Find my favorite ways to cook them below!

Radishes

Don’t toss those radish greens! I don’t know who got the idea that radish and turnip greens, carrot tops, kale stems, broccoli stalks, and other common veggie scraps should be discarded, but I’m here to tell you that it’s not true. At this time of year, I’m equally happy feasting on lush radish tops as I am spinach or Swiss chard. They’re not as popular, but they have a lovely peppery flavor, and they’re easy to cook. Best of all, they come with radishes attached! What’s not to love?

Below, you’ll find my best tips for cooking radish tops, as well as two simple radish green recipes. If you’re lucky enough to find spring radishes with good greens attached, think twice before you toss them. Try one of these recipes instead!

Radish greens

What to Do with Radish Greens

When you bring a bunch of radishes home from the farmers market or grocery store, the first thing you should do is clip the greens from the roots. Otherwise, the leaves will pull moisture from the radishes, and they won’t stay fresh for long. If you’re not using the greens right away, wrap them up and store them in the crisper drawer of your fridge.

When you’re ready to cook, wash and dry the greens well. Then, use them in any recipe that calls for radish greens, or try one of these two simple preparations:

Radish top pesto recipe

Radish Greens Pesto

Making pesto is one of my favorite ways to use almost any type of herbs or greens. It’s traditionally made with basil, but I commonly swap in mint, parsley, cilantro, carrot tops, kale, arugula, and more. When I make radish green pesto, I use a 50/50 blend of radish leaves and basil to create a fresh, peppery flavor. Here are some of my favorite ways to use it:

Find the complete recipe at the bottom of this post!

Sautéed radish greens

Sautéed Radish Greens

If I’m not making pesto, I most often sauté radish greens. They’re a quick and easy side dish on their own, but they’re also a great addition to stir fries, frittatas, scrambled eggs, rice bowls, quesadillas, tacos, and the Leek and Radish Green Tart on page 181 of Love and Lemons Every Day. Here’s how I make them:

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the radish greens and cook, tossing, until the greens are just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove them from the heat and season with a squeeze of lemon juice, salt, and pepper. That’s it!

What’s your favorite way to eat radish greens? Let me know in the comments!

Radish greens pesto

More Favorite “Scrap” Recipes

If you love this radish greens recipe, try experimenting with other common veggie scraps! Here are a few recipes to get you started:

Radish Greens Pesto

rate this recipe:
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time: 5 mins
Serves 8
Don't toss those radish greens! I love to sauté them to make a simple side dish or blend them into this vibrant radish green pesto. Spread it onto bread, toss it with pasta, dollop it onto salads, and more!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup pine nuts or pepitas
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup radish greens
  • 1 cup basil
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, more if desired
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, optional

Instructions

  • In a food processor, combine the pine nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper and pulse until well chopped. Add the lemon juice and pulse again.
  • Add the radish greens and basil and pulse until combined.
  • With the food processor running, drizzle in the olive oil and pulse until combined. Add the Parmesan cheese, if using, and pulse briefly to combine. For a smoother pesto, add more olive oil.

Notes

Makes about 1 cup

28 comments

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  1. Shannon
    06.02.2020

    They are also great in a salad or on their own with a light dressing! I love your books – I am slowly cooking my way through both of them. 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.09.2020

      Hi Shannon, I’m so glad you’re loving the books!

      • Leesuh
        08.19.2020

        5 stars
        Yum! This was great! Radishes were the only sad thing that grew for me this year.

        • Jeanine Donofrio
          08.30.2020

          I’m so glad you loved it!

  2. Helen
    06.02.2020

    The backside of the leaves are a little prickly – do they soften when you sautee them?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.02.2020

      yep, they soften!

  3. Lei @ Chop Sizzle Feast
    06.02.2020

    5 stars
    Awesome, finally find the way to use the radish green,

  4. Christine
    06.02.2020

    Thanks for calling attention to the fact that we don’t need to toss these greens! I put them in my juicer this morning and radish greens were great in my green drink!

    • Gingersnap Judy
      11.26.2020

      Excellent idea! What did you mix in with the radish greens?

    • Christine Talaga Morgan
      11.26.2020

      I generally put some more greens of any kind ( kale, chard, collards ) apple, lemon , celery. Enjoy.

  5. Sabrina from newkitchenlife.com
    06.03.2020

    radish greens pesto, wow, sauteed work too, but the pesto is really creative, love all of these new ingredients, for me at least, thank you

  6. Praveen kumar
    06.05.2020

    5 stars
    Wow very nice reddish green recipe

  7. JJ
    06.15.2020

    How many ounces for basil and radish greens? Can’t figure out how much is actually 1 cup. Should I pack the cup or not pack? Is it 1 cup chopped or not chopped?

    Anyway, thank you for the recipe. I used to throw out the greens now I know how to use them!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.15.2020

      Hi JJ, 1 packed cup, un-chopped. I realize it’s kind of awkward, but doesn’t have to be perfect down to the gram.

      • Sarah
        06.22.2020

        Can you use almonds instead of pine nuts?

        • Jeanine Donofrio
          06.22.2020

          yep! I’d chop them a little bit.

  8. Colleen
    07.05.2020

    5 stars
    I made the radish greens and basil pesto today. I used roasted garlic rather than raw and lightly toasted almond slivers because didn’t have pine nuts. Really like the combo of the radish greens with basil. Will use the pesto on turkey breast tonight. This recipe is a keeper. Thanks

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.10.2020

      Hi Colleen, I’m so glad you loved it!

  9. Pooja Singh
    07.19.2020

    So the traditional Indian way (where we waste nothing) is to saute radish leaved in oil, garlic and chilli! We eat this with roti or as a side to anything is my modern Indian way of cooking. We also use them in Indian salads, chopped with some tomatoes and cucumber, salt and lime (and chilli, yes indian salads have chilli).

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.19.2020

      yum, that sounds so delicious!

  10. Mike
    08.07.2020

    Use them as a substitute for spinach in cooking. I use them in my Palak dal in place of spinach. They have a great texture and flavor in dishes.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      08.08.2020

      I love that idea, thank you!

  11. Diane
    09.05.2020

    Can radish tops ever be too big to use? The radish tops I brought home from the farmers market this morning are at least twice as big as yours in the picture. The farmer wanted to cut them off, but I said I’d find something to do with them and I did!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.05.2020

      Hi Diane, I don’t think they can be too big to use, but it’s possible that they can vary in bitter flavor from bunch to bunch. There shouldn’t be a noticeable difference in the sautéed greens. If you make the pesto and it’s too pungent, add more oil or cheese to offset it. I hope you put them to good use!

  12. Judith
    09.15.2020

    how would cilantro work instead of basil

  13. MelDinner
    10.21.2020

    Can you use all radish greens for the pesto?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.21.2020

      You can, it’s just a bit more bitter (not necessarily a bad thing), depending on your greens which is why I did a 50/50 mix.

  14. Ananda Devi
    11.07.2020

    5 stars
    Delightful! Used Raw Shelled Hemp seeds in place of pine nuts. Enjoyed on salad

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Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.