The radish is a easy-to-grow vegetable that can thrive in nearly any location as long as sun, soil and water are available. The radish is actually the root of the plant and grows beneath the surface, and the leaves are typically dismissed as inedible. However, radish leaves are not poisonous and can be eaten in a variety of ways.
Radish leaves are peppery in flavor and lend the same flavor profile when chopped, pureed or eaten raw. For an appetizer using both the root and leaves of the radish, combine 4 tbsp butter, salt and pepper to taste and radish leaves from one bunch of radishes in a food processor. Once combined, spread the radish leaf butter onto crusty bread and top with sliced radishes. Sprinkle additional salt on the radishes if desired.
Used as a dip or sauce, radish leaf pesto is an alternative to traditional pesto made with basil. The measurements do not have to be precise, as all ingredients can be adjusted to personal preference. Combine two handfuls of radish leaves, approximately 1 oz. grated Parmesan cheese, 1 oz. almonds or pistachios, 1 clove garlic and enough olive oil to achieve the texture you like, usually 2 tbsp. in a food processor. Pulse the ingredients until the mixture is smooth. If the radish leaf pesto is too thick, add additional olive oil and pulse again. Salt and pepper may be added to taste as well.
When combined with other vegetables, radish leaves provide the base for a green soup with a slight watercress flavor. Combine 4 tbsp. butter and 1 cup onion in large fry pan, and cook approximately five minutes. Add 8 c. radish leaves and continue cooking over low heat for approximately 10 minutes, or until the leaves are wilted. Add 2 cups diced, peeled potatoes to 6 cups water or chicken stock and 1 tsp. salt. Once the potatoes are soft, add the radish leaves and onion to the pot and continue to simmer for five minutes. Pour the contents into a food process or blender and pulse until the mixture is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Combine clean, crisp radish leaves with nearly any type of greens for a spicy twist on a salad. For the best results using this type of preparation, select radish leaves that are brightly colored and do not show signs of aging, such as wilted edges, discolored areas or holes. Always ensure all leaves and salad greens are washed thoroughly to prevent food-borne illnesses.