Radish Top Pesto

If you’re throwing out your radish tops, stop. Mix them into a Radish Top Pesto, which is just a Green sauce with a good nod to traditional Pesto. If you have a little spinach or kale, or other random greens, do the same! This is a great recipe for carrot or beet tops, too.

Radish Top Pesto

Radish Top Pesto


So I’m playin’ fast & loose with the name “Pesto” which in Italy would be a big deal. If you’d like to read more about the original Pesto Genovese, that link will take you to a marvelous article. But I gotta admit, calling this a “Pesto – Like Green Sauce” just doesn’t have the same panache as Radish Top Pesto, does it?

About Radish Top Pesto:

First of all, though, comes the question “Why on earth would you want to make a Radish Top Pesto?” There are bonuses:

  • Radish tops are super nutritious, and the leaves offer a lot of the same benefits as other cruciferous veggies. A quick search will reveal all kinds of info, but I spent some time on this article from Well & Good.
  • Radish leaves, although often unattractive (which is part of the reason I don’t often toss them in salads) are tasty and so is the Pesto made from them.
  • While some find traditional pesto almost overwhelming in flavor, pesto made with radish tops is still super fresh, just a little milder.
  • And of course, finding a way to make use of radish tops means less produce waste. You’ve paid for them, after all, why not use them?

Speaking of waste, green smoothies are a marvelous way to put all kinds of potential kitchen waste to use, including radish tops. Even if you don’t make this pesto, if you’re into serious green smoothies, check out my Big Fat, Green Smoothies on a Budget.

My Big Fat Green Smoothies made from wasted vegetable parts

My Big Fat Green Smoothies

Making Radish Top Pesto:

First of all, you are gonna need enough radish tops to make pesto, or else you’ll need to supplement them with something else. One bunch is probably not going to do it. Now a gardener will probably have no issues coming up with enough, but the rest of us might have to raid the fridge. Toss in any greens you might have handy or maybe have wilting away in the fridge. A little parsley will do, too, or some of the traditional basil. You’ll need about two cups worth combined.

Next are the nuts. When you’re making a pesto like this, you can use the traditional pine nuts which are great, because they blend up creamy and taste marvelous, but they’re a little pricey. Experiment with any nut you like. Walnuts are creamy as well, and so are Pecans. Almost are hard and tend to be a little grainy but still taste great.

And of course, you’ll want a good olive oil; something you like the taste of. I’d say you do you when it comes to the oil, strong extra virgin or a milder one, whichever you prefer. Even the traditional Parmesan and Pecorino isn’t hard and fast since we’re tossing out all the rules. Try Romano or Asiago or some other pungent, hard grated cheese.

Radish Top Pesto

Radish Top Pesto

How to Use, Besides over Pasta:

Use this Green Sauce to dress any type of pasta, of course. I use Pesto in my recipe for Pesto Pasta Salad with Grilled Vegetables. If you just want to dress the vegetables with the Pesto, that’s fine, too. Dress green salads with it (check out use this recipe for Pesto dressing). That dressing is fab with my Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Apple & Feta.

Spread Pesto in your sandwiches; pesto, I think, has an affinity with turkey or chicken breast. Spread it on crostini or other toasts, maybe with a few shaving of Parmesan on top.

How to Store Radish Top Pesto:

Store your Radish Top Pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for two to three days. Remember, there are no preservatives. Some people like to add a thin layer of olive oil over the top of pesto to prevent any oxidation.

If you are not going to use all of pesto, freeze it for another time. It freezes beautifully and will keep several months in your fridge’s freezer and closer to a year in a deep freeze.

Radish Top Pesto

Radish Top Pesto


Radish Top Pesto

  • Author: mollie kirby
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: about 2 cups 1x
  • Category: Sauce
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • 2 cups total of radish tops or a mixture of radish and basil or parsley or other edible green
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (pignolia) or another nut of your choice
  • a good pinch each of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup plus of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan or other hard cheese grated


Add greens, nuts, salt, and pepper to food processor. While pulsing, drizzle in olive oil.  Scrape down the sides.  Add cheese and pulse about 2 to 3 more times.  If too thick, add a little more olive oil.

Will keep in fridge for a couple of days and freezes very well.

Keywords: Cheese, nuts, Nuts and Seeds, parmesan, Pesto, pine nuts, radish

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I’ll be posting this recipe on Fiesta Friday #189; Fiesta Friday is an ongoing “link” party where bloggers join together and share their best recipes and party ideas of the week.

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26 thoughts on “Radish Top Pesto

  1. Beautiful color on the pesto Mollie! I’m thinking I have some spinach about to get past it’s prime in the fridge– think I’ll use your recipe to use it up this weekend! thanks! Hope the move is going well–be careful with all the heavy lifting!! xox

  2. Good idea. I’ve tried spinach with basil, and a bunch of other different herbs, but never radish tops. Think I’m going to have to give this one to try because it looks really good.

    • Thanks! I’ve been using more greens and herbs in so many ways lately: pestos and gremolatas, chermoulas and chimichurris and dressings….marinades…

      Just think how many dishes from the world over are available through blogging and sharing! 🙂

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