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:
4.97 from 31 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

52 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Kelly
    11.12.2022

    5 stars
    So so delish!!! Word of caution. I thoroughly rinsed my greens knowing they can be sandy. Apparently that was not even enough. It was a little gritty here and there. I also added a spicy pepper and it really rocks!!!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)
      11.17.2022

      Hi Kelly, I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe. (And yes, radish greens can be quite sandy!)

  2. Mel W
    07.21.2022

    5 stars
    Oh my goodness! I made this today since I am new to gardening and did not thin my radishes early enough so all I have are greens and stunted roots. This is amazing!! I found Recipe for radish butter so I can use my bitty radishes so they don’t go to waste either. Definitely keeping this one in the front of my recipe box! Thank-you so much for sharing this!

  3. Wendy Hankin
    06.15.2022

    Can I freeze this… I just made a batch without the parmesan cheese

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.18.2022

      Yep, you can!

  4. Natasha
    06.12.2022

    5 stars
    I just made the pesto . It was divine.
    I had an almond flour pancake with a egg and pesto . Amazing. You can put the pesto on anything. I just marinated pork chops with it as well . Very good recipe. Used something that was going to be tossed out and tasted delicious.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.18.2022

      I’m so glad you’ve been loving it so much!

  5. SANDY ALDERN
    06.02.2022

    5 stars
    Loved this! I used it on your Navy bean and roasted radish salad. Who would have thought radish greens would add another level of flavor to pesto. I shared the recipe with my community garden members today.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.03.2022

      I’m so glad you loved them!

  6. Linda Eaton
    03.21.2022

    I have always discarded the radish greens, probably because most of the time they are kind of sickly when I get them home. But, was fortunate to get a bunch this week with abundant nice greens so I made this pesto recipe. I used 1/2 radish greens and 1/2 basil. Fabulous! Tonite I mixed a couple TBLS of the pesto with about a 1/4 C plain Greek yogurt and used it as a dipping sauce for roasted veggies with roasted chicken breast. Life changing!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.24.2022

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the radish greens!

  7. Sara
    08.22.2021

    You did not lie about that delicious peppery taste! And, I have always been a fan of a lot of Parmesan in my pesto. However with this recipe I found that the Parmesan creaminess sort of masked the bright peppery flavor the radish greens provides. I would definitely leave the Parmesan out if I made it again!

  8. I make a winter soup of all the greens in my garden. Saute in a little olive oil Onion and garlic tops, celery, parsley, turnip and radish tops, spinach and lettuce and my all time favourite lots and lots of beautiful nasturtium leaves. Chicken stock cube, black pepper . Cook and blitz smooth and serve with a dollop of cream and some nasturtium flowers on top for decoration.

  9. Tara S
    06.27.2021

    5 stars
    Amazing Pesto! Started my first garden and was trying to find something to do with all my radish greens. So glad I made this recipe. I will definitely make it again. My husband loved it just as much as me. Used is to make an amazing pasta salad and used it on some crusty garlic bread. In my opinion, the added peppery taste from the radish greens made this better than an average pesto. I did use Parmesan cheese in mine.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
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.