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!
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!
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 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:
- Toss it with fresh or dry pasta to make my Easy Pesto Pasta.
- Slather it onto crusty bread.
- Dollop it onto a grain bowl.
- Spoon it over polenta topped with roasted radishes, fennel, and/or asparagus and roasted chickpeas.
- Swirl it into a soup like my Asparagus Soup or my Carrot Ginger Soup.
- Thin it to a drizze-able consistency to make a dressing for a spring salad or grilled veggies.
Find the complete recipe at the bottom of this post!
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!
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:
- Broccoli Rice
- Cauliflower Rice
- Carrot Greens Chimichurri
- Beet Salad with Pistachio Beet Green Gremolata, page 127 of Love and Lemons Every Day
Radish Greens Pesto
- 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
- 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.