Radish Leaf Pesto

Without music, life would be a mistake.

– Friedrich Nietzsche

The other day I was in the underground – yes, another underground adventure – when a guy sat next to me, took out some score sheets and started reading them. He was looking at the second page.

I know it’s really rude to do so, but obviously I peeked over his shoulder to read the notes. I sang the notes in my head.

I tapped him on the shoulder.

Excuse me, is that a Chopin waltz?

He turned around, surprised. But of course his face lit up. Yes it is!

We struck up some music conversation until one of us had to get off. I love these kinds of little random encounters and chats. Have you had one recently?

Radish pesto recipe

Making radish pesto

Radish leaf pesto recipe


I think radishes are great, just raw on their own. Until now I had never made anything with the radish leaves, though the intention has been there for some time. A while back I had caught of a glimpse of pesto made with radish leaves through another blog, so I had been wanting to make use of radish leaves for pesto since then. Now that it’s winter and my basil plants have withered away, it’s a good moment to make pesto with alternative leaves.

I have to say that the flavour was, em, rather detoxing. It tasted quite green, grassy perhaps. Not that I’ve eaten grass… It did taste good, don’t worry, it’s just that with was a tad more green flavoured than how normal basil pesto turns out. I also added a few radishes in there. Just for the sake of it. And for the extra crunchiness.

I used Manchego cheese because that’s what had in the fridge at that moment. You could use any other hardish textured cheese, and as much as you want.


1 bunch radish leaves, 3 radishes, 1 handful pine nuts, 1 clove garlic, Manchego cheese, salt, black pepper, 1/3 cup olive oil

Wash the radish leaves. Peel the garlic and remove the innermost core. Put everything in a blender and blend.

Radish leaf pesto

Thank you for reading!

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  1. Sue 2015-01-16 at 19:22

    Wonderful, I will have to try this!!!

  2. phantomcoast 2015-01-16 at 19:55

    This looks delicious! I’m always looking for a dairy-free pesto- perhaps I can substitute something for the cheese? I’ll find out! 🙂

    1. Sofia 2015-01-17 at 19:34

      Maybe some extra pine nuts and olive oil?

  3. Darya 2015-01-16 at 23:00

    Wonderful ! I usually make radish-green soup, but I have made a kind of pesto before, and I love the sound of this one, with the addition of actual radishes and manchego cheese. Must have been delicious!

    1. eatdirtcake 2015-01-17 at 17:08

      The soup sounds like a really great idea. Do you make it like a French sorrel soup?

      1. Darya 2015-01-17 at 18:12

        Well yes, I usually make an onion-carrot-celery-potato soup, and instead of adding sorrel or spinach, you can add radish tops. It is a great way of not wasting, and it tastes nice too.

        1. Sofia 2015-01-17 at 19:35

          Hey yes it is a great way of not wasting 🙂

  4. Guillermina Stover 2015-01-16 at 23:06

    Random encounters? Me? All the time! I am naturally talkative and inquisitive, so I’m always striking up a conversation with complete strangers. It is so refreshing! And my husband is even WORSE than me! It makes for an interesting and delightful life. The last one was with two young women, clerks in the records office of our local hospital. They were in an office space far from windows, plus the windows were covered in closed blinds. I told them that they needed to get over to the window several times a day and just gaze outside at nature. It’s very therapeutic, I insisted. They smiled indulgently and sort of agreed. As I left, I jokingly added, “Dr. Stover has spoken!” and they laughed out loud. My work here was done…!

    1. Sofia 2015-01-17 at 19:43

      Haha I can just imagine you chatting with people everywhere. I hope the nurses took note and will do it!

  5. Sunny 2015-01-16 at 23:33

    Hey Sofia, aww that’s a cute story!

    I’ve honestly never thought you could make anything with radish leaves, or that you could make pesto with anything but basil. This is such an eye-opener!

    1. Sofia 2015-01-17 at 19:41

      This one tasted so GREEN. Basil gives a way smoother taste…

  6. Mabel Kwong 2015-01-17 at 06:21

    What a random encounter. Nice that the guy was friendly. I suppose if two people are passionate about something, you have something to talk about and the conversation goes on much easier.

    I’ve never thought of combining radish and pesto together. I don’t eat radish that much, only when my mum boils radish soup then I’ll eat it. And I like it 🙂

    1. Sofia 2015-01-17 at 19:43

      Yeah I couldn’t imagine him being not friendly about it 🙂

  7. Pemberley Cup & Cakes by Rosa 2015-01-17 at 09:39

    I’ve always loved pesto so rest assured that I’ll try this alternative pretty soon! Thanks for sharing your experiences beyond old standards. I’ll give it a try soon.
    Enjoy your weekend!

  8. dedy oktavianus pardede 2015-01-17 at 11:04

    Loos tempting and sexy dish!!!!
    never had taste radish leaves before, tempting to try….

    1. Sofia 2015-01-18 at 13:23

      Give it try!

  9. pianolearner 2015-01-17 at 21:35

    I love homemade pesto. Although u have never tried it with radish leaves i sometimes fo it with kale. We often use manchego in pesto as we have it in the house most of the time.

    1. Sofia 2015-01-18 at 13:21

      Kale sounds like a good idea to make it! Is it easy to find Manchego there where you ilve?

  10. Dalo 2013 2015-01-18 at 03:46

    Pesto looks great… Nothing quite like those little, unexpected conversations. I had one on the train back from the airport the other day…I had just asked for directions (making sure the train was going in the right direction…as I had taken a wrong train earlier in the day (in Frankfurt) thinking I was heading to the airport…), and then it led to other questions and in all a great 30 minute talk about general life 🙂

    1. Sofia 2015-01-18 at 13:22

      Lol, so it is true, you did mention already before that you get the wrong train, like me… Well at least the result o f that was that you had a nice chat on another train. WHere are you now? Have you done your mini flash trip to Spain yet?

      1. Dalo 2013 2015-01-18 at 19:05

        I did my mini-trip to Pamplona…and loved it. Drove from Bilbao to Pamplona and loved the Pyrenees. Once in Pamplona, we had lunch at an incredible restaurant featuring all local meats & veggies as well as bottles of local wine. The beef was INCREDIBLE, just simple grilled large steaks placed on the table ~ perfectly done. I was in heaven… I would move there in a second 🙂

        My getting on the wrong train was too classic. Not thinking, seeing it pull in…hoping on, looking at the next destination and wondering “Hmmm, that doesn’t look quite right…” and then sighing and thinking ‘here I go again…’. Take care 🙂

        1. Sofia 2015-01-18 at 19:52

          Oh yeah there is GREAT food up there! (And there is too here if one knows where to go, I would have taken you to have really good grills too!). Haha I get on the wrong train too once in a while, the last time I did was this summer. It wasn’t only in the wrong direction, which is a classic of mine, but completely on the wrong train. Have a great week Randy!

          1. Dalo 2013 2015-01-18 at 20:30

            Well, I definitely am returning to Spain ~ and this time will spend more than the 16 hours I was restricted too this time…and then definitely can try one of the nice grills in Bcln 🙂 Just hope I do not take the wrong train again… Cheers!

            1. Sofia 2015-01-19 at 08:04

              Don’t worry, whenever you come to visit wherever I am, I’ll make sure you eat well! 🙂 (though ì do know exactly where to take you in Bcn). I’ll make sure I don’t take the wrong train either 😉

              1. Dalo 2013 2015-01-19 at 15:46

                Mmmm, just thinking about good Spanish food 🙂 When I was young, I remember walking through the train station and really feeling free because I thought I could take anyone of these trains and end up in a new city…and thought that was so neat ~ so maybe us getting taking the wrong trains is one of those subconscious decisions 🙂

                1. Sofia 2015-01-23 at 11:51

                  Great analysis, maybe thats why!

  11. Liz 2015-01-25 at 07:12

    fun recipe! And I love that you struck up a random conversation over Chopin 🙂

    1. Sofia 2015-01-25 at 23:09

      Yeah, it was fun! The guy was very surprised, in a nice way 🙂


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