Vegan Pesto With Radish Leaves & Toasted Almonds
With its origins in Genoa, the capital of Liguria, Italy Pesto is an easy sauce to prepare that can be used in pasta, fish, chicken, salads (your imagination is limitless). I eat it on toast with Roasted Tomato and White bean stew. Traditionally Pesto consists of garlic, basil leaves, hard cheese and pine nuts, all ground with olive oil. But this time, we’re stepping away from the traditional to prepare a pesto that is peppery and nutty made with radish leaves, roasted almonds and vegan parmesan cheese, yum!
I personally like to add radishes to my salads to add crunchy texture. Radishes are an edible root that comes from the mustard family which are normally in season in late winter through spring. Most of us only eat the root, but what can we do with the radish leaves? Some of us would throw it in the trash or maybe in the compost (which I believe is the second best option). However, if you are like me, you want to utilize everything from the vegetable and minimize your food waste.
In addition to being a great substitute for making pesto, radishes are an exceptional source of fiber that helps improve digestive function. According to the article published in healthline.com by Annette McDermott, it helps control blood sugar levels in addition to reducing cholesterol and has been linked to weight loss.
Yield: 1 cup
Serving Size: ¼ cup
Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 30 min
142g or approximately two bunches of Radish leaves
64g or 1/2 cup Slivered Almonds, roasted
8g or two Garlic cloves with the germ removed
½ cup of Vegan parmesan cheese
⅓ cup of Extra virgin olive oil
15 ml of Lemon juice or approximately ½ of lemon
1 tsp Kosher salt, or to taste
½ tsp black pepper, or to taste
In a saucepan bring water to boil
In the meantime, wash and rinse radish leaves thoroughly to remove any dirt
Add radish leaves to the saucepan and blanch them for approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Blanching brightens the color and helps retain vitamins. Then transfer the radish leaves to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Drain the leaves and squeeze them gently to extract as much water as possible. Set aside until ready to use
4. In a preheated pan at medium low add slivered almonds and stir constantly for
approximately 3 minutes until roasted and fragrant. Remove them from the heat and let them
5. Add garlic to a food processor and pulse 3 - 4 times, then add almonds and process until
almonds are almost fully chopped
6. Add radish leaves, vegan parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and lemon juice to the food processor
and pulse 5 times
7. While the processor is on, drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil slowly to create a partial
emulsion until desired consistency.
8. Adjust ingredients to taste.