Something new that I’m doing in 2021 is getting farm box delivery. I have really enjoyed the pandemic practice of minimizing trips to the grocery store, but running out of fresh vegetables is the pits. It’s been great having a box full of veggies show up at my door ever couple of weeks.
I’m a big fan of vegetables in the crunchy water family (I believe that’s the technical term) – celery, cucumbers, etc. and one of my favorite things to get in my farm box delivery is radishes.
One week, I noticed that the greens on the radishes were looking particularly lovely. Were they edible? Yes! What could I make with them? Pesto!
Since this was an experiment with bonus vegetables (radish greens are now on my list with beet greens as a vegetable gift-with-purchase), I didn’t worry about not having all the right ingredients to make pesto (such as basil or pine nuts). I just threw the radish greens in the blender with some other things I had on hand to see what would happen.
It turned out good enough to share the recipe with you here.
Radish Greens Pesto
- Bunch of radish greens (cleaned)
- Handful or two of walnuts (I don’t keep pine nuts on hand, but I always have walnuts around)
- Couple cloves of garlic
- Lots of lemon juice
- Plenty of olive oil
- Some salt
Blitz the radishes, garlic, and lemon juice in the food processor until the greens are mostly broken down.
Throw the walnuts in and keep blitzing until it resembles a lumpy paste (so that you can’t tell that they are walnuts anymore and the whole thing has taken on a pretty, light green color).
Now comes the fun part, let the food processor run and drizzle in olive oil until the concoction sort-of smooths out (I feel like Ina Garten when I do this which is why I think it’s so much fun).
I like it on the thick side but add as much olive oil as you like (at least enough to get to a creamy-ish texture).
If you taste it at this point, it will taste very bitter and you will be sad, but don’t despair! Just add salt! A good bit of salt, not just a wee sprinkle.
Now taste it. Magic? Yes. Salt magic. It will be a little more bitter and earthy than a basil/pine nut pesto, but still plenty tangy/zesty.
Now that you have your pesto, what are you going to do with it?
You could put in on pasta, sure. You could use it as a spread or a dip. You could use it to dress a green salad. I use it for a roasted vegetable salad that I have been experimenting with and it is perfect for bringing all the random ingredients I found in my cupboard together.
Lentil and Roasted Veg Salad
- Cook ½ cup (or so) lentils (use the kind that stay firm) w/ salt and thyme in water until just done, drain and cool. *or substitute a can of garbanzo beans for the lentils – even easier!
- Dice one sweep potato, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast until tender.
- Optional (but delicious): dice some turnips and roast with the sweet potato.
Let everything cool a bit, throw it in a bowl, cover, and throw it in the fridge.
- A good amount of chopped parsley
- Some artichoke hearts
- Some sliced radishes
- Maybe a scallion
- Maybe some grated parmesan
- Whatever else is in the fridge/the cupboard/the garden that looks interesting
- Lots of your delicious homemade pesto
Get it all mixed together and it’s ready to eat. Or you can throw it back in the fridge for later.
Both the pesto and the roasted vegetable salad feel like good foundations for improvising as the seasons change and different produce is available. What would you add/change?