Friday, March 18, 2011

Radish leaf pesto with green garlic and pumpkin seeds

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When basil is out of season (a short time in southern California, longer in the rest of the world, you poor souls) I look for other greens to turn into pesto. Last weekend I bought some amazing radishes at the farmers' market. "Use the leaves, too," said the grower.

Radish leaves? I tasted one when I got home and it had a nice bite to it - like arugula with more texture. I ground the leaves in the food processor with some young stalks of green garlic, a handful of pepitas (pumpkin seeds), some grated cheese and a slug of olive oil. The pesto emerged bright green and held onto its color for days in the refrigerator. And the taste - assertive, peppery, and completely mysterious.

I spread the pesto on fresh mozzarella grilled cheese sandwiches, mixed it with goat cheese to pipe into little cucumber cups, served it on pasta, and ate a whole lot of it on baguette slices straight up. Divine, every time. And the best thing about radish leaf pesto: You can make it all year long.



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Radish leaf pesto with green garlic and pumpkin seeds
You'll never throw away your radish leaves again. Use this pesto just as you would basil pesto. It will keep at least a week in the refrigerator.
Ingredients
2 cups radish leaves1 large stalk green garlic (or 1 clove regular garlic)1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)1/2 cup parmesan cheese, gratedjuice of 1 lemon1/2 cup olive oil salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
Wash the radish leaves well to remove any grit. Place the leaves, green garlic, pumpkin seeds, grated cheese, lemon juice and olive oil in the food processor and whizz until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 cup

17 comments:

~ Lyndsay The Kitchen Witch said...

That sounds truly amazing - something I would never think to do but will try. Thanks for an interesting an awesome alternative to traditional pesto!

The Cilantropist said...

I love this idea, so creative! Now you have me imagining what other greens I can do this with... :) I love spring.

~ Chef Louise said...

hmmm i love the idea of using other greens for pesto. i think it makes a very complex pesto. great light and color in your photo- nice!

happy friday
louise

Jeanette said...

What a great pesto recipe, so interesting!

Tickled Red said...

I never would have thought to make pesto out of radish leaves. Now i can't wait to plant some in the garden and to hit the farmers market. Looks delicious.

Dorothy at Shockinglydelicious said...

Fantastic idea! Will try this with my home grown radishes this year!

Marly said...

What a great idea! So simple and yet so delicious!

Erika said...

Thanks for all the compliments. And guess what? I was at the farmers' market again this morning and the woman next to me didn't want her radish tops. Guess who brought them home? :)

Cookin' Canuck said...

Okay, I have never used radish leaves and I am so excited to try this pesto. Very inventive!

Lentil Breakdown said...

I recently heard you could use the radish leaves but still haven't tried it. I love beet greens though. A few weeks ago I made arugula walnut pesto for the first time. I ended up adding pine nuts since I didn't think the walnuts had enough of a kick. Ok, TMI, but your pesto looks lovely and very nice pic!

Nancy said...

Another great way to use those greens! Love making pestos with different greens and herbs but I haven't tried radish yet.. that of course is now going to change after this post!!!

Kelsey, at Happyolks said...

How interesting! I would have never thought to use the radish leaves! Very cool, I'll have to give this a try sometime soon with all the radishes I've been buying at the farmers market

Mom on the run said...

Erika, again you have me obsessing over green garlic! I've even researched growing it myself. This dish looks amazing, but until I can find green garlic, I think I might have to substitute something else.

Cathy @ ShowFoodChef said...

Love this inventive idea! I've used almost every green I know of for pesto and never thought of these. It looks really fresh, can't wait to try it. Great pic, too!

Hilary Cable said...

This looks so good! I grew up in a household where things like radish leaves and mushroom stems got thrown away. Slowly I'm learning to look at them differently. Thank you!

Crafty Moira said...

I just made a version of this and it's crazy good! Thanks for the inspiration! (I subbed cashews for pepitas & cotija cheese for the parm... just because that's what I had in my house!)

Erika said...

Moira, that's what I love about pesto - it's a method, not a recipe, really. Whatever you put in, it always seems to work!

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