Radish Greens Pesto

This is not a precise recipe: this was a recipe driven by desperation, by my realization that I was on my own for dinner with nary an ingredient in sight. Truth be told, I’ve had quite a few of those this week: our bank account is a bit low, and we’ve decided to eliminate food waste anyway, by pushing ourselves to use what we have on hand rather than buy groceries when at all possible. This, so far, has resulted in a few pretty decent meals: a lemon-ricotta pasta with basil that we devoured for dinner a few days ago and which I will tell you about later, my learning that pasta can sometimes work as a reasonable stand-in for bread, a chickpea salad with poached egg (lunch for two: can of chickpeas, drained; a bit of leftover avocado mashed with juice of half a lemon; a quarter of vidalia onion, diced; a cup or so of chopped fresh basil; stir, spoon into 2 bowls, put a poached egg on top of each, nom).

Though these were all good, I think I might be happiest with this pesto recipe. It tastes good, but it’s also the meal that took the most thought and creativity. See, I had a few bunches of radish leaves left over that I knew I needed to do something with… and then not a lot else. I mean, I had a couple eggs, some tofu, a couple servings of leftover rotini, a chunk of parmesan, some nuts languishing in the pantry, grapes, about half a cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice… you get the picture. I felt I had NOTHING, yet really needed to eat something. Then inspiration struck! Pesto.

I hope it also serves as inspiration to all of you to KEEP YOUR RADISH GREENS! Don’t throw them out. In fact, don’t throw out any of your veggie greens. Beet, carrot, turnip, radish – all edible! And all super nutritious, and super delicious. Enjoy! (ps – sorry for no picture. i was way too hungry to stop eating and snap a few shots)

Radish Greens Pesto

2 bunches radish greens, washed well
2 garlic scapes, minced
1/2 cup – 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup – 1/2 cup hazelnuts
4-5 TBL lemon juice
a couple TBL olive oil
salt, to taste (I probably tossed in about 1 tsp)

Toss the greens in the food processor and blend. I found that I had to do puree one bunch before the second would fit in the bowl. I also had to toss in a bit of olive oil to lubricate the whole process. Then I minced the garlic scapes and threw them in, and kept the machine running as I added the hazelnuts.  I stopped the machine and took the top off to throw in the parmesan cheese, then put the top back on and blended some more, adding in a couple TBL of lemon juice as it was running.

This is the point at which stopping to taste and check texture becomes important. You may need more or less lemon juice, salt, and olive oil than listed here – especially because I’m not even sure that these were the quantities I used. I do know that when I got the blend right, it tasted wonderful: a bit more peppery than basil-based pesto, with a wonderful lemon flavor and a great almost earthy quality from the hazelnuts. Of course, you should season to your tastes, which might be different from mine!

Makes a couple cups (not including the couple spoonfuls I took out to put over my leftover pasta!)

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