How to Sauté Radish Greens
Don’t toss those radish tops! Learn how to make sautéed radish greens for a simple wilted greens side dish that’s big on flavor and reduces food waste. Root-to-stem cooking at its finest!
Do you throw out the leaves of radishes? If so, don’t! Reduce food waste by using radish greens in place of other leafy greens in sauces, soups, salads, and even as a side dish.
Radish leaves are an edible leafy green that are a great replacement for herbs and light lettuces like chard and spinach. In fact, radish greens are also great as a side dish on their own when lightly pan fried with garlic, red pepper, and olive oil.
Want to learn how to sauté radish leaves? Let’s do it!
👩🍳 How to sauté the leaves of radishes (step-by-step)
1️⃣ Step One: Prep the radish greens
The first step to pan frying radish tops is to cut them from the stem and give them a good wash. Because radishes are a root vegetable, meaning they grow in the ground and come into direct contact with dirt, the leaves and stems usually need a washing before eating.
First cut radish greens from the root, then cut the stiff stems right under where the greens start to grow. The stems are actually edible as well, but can sometimes be very tough so we want to use the softer stem areas, which are right under where the leaves begin to grow.
To wash radish leaves, you can either run them under water or soak them. We prefer to soak, and to do this we fill a large mixing bowl with cold water and submerge them for a few minutes, stirring or moving the leaves around with your hands to make sure as much dirt is removed as possible.
Next, remove the leaves from the water and use a salad spinner to remove water or put into a bowl or lay flat to dry (about 5 minutes).
2️⃣ Step Two: Sauté the greens with garlic and red pepper
Next it’s time to saute the radish tops. Add olive oil to a medium frying pan and heat over medium-low heat. Add minced garlic and cook until it begins to brown and become fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
Next add the red pepper and cook about 20-30 seconds more, or until the pepper begins to release its color into the oil (do not overcook or the pepper will turn black and have a strong burnt flavor).
Then add the radish greens to the pan and stir continuously until they are covered in oil and completely wilted and cooked down, about 2-3 minutes.
Radish leaves are a very soft leaf, similar to spinach, so they cook quickly and reduce to about ⅓ the size of when they are dry.
When the greens are done, remove them from the pan and plate. Serve immediately for best flavor, and enjoy!
❓ Questions + quick tips about radish greens
The leaves on radishes are not only edible, but they’re delicious. Radish leaves are not poisonous, and in fact they are a nutritious green that tastes similar to chard (in fact, they are in the same family of cabbages as kale and broccoli).
Radish roots, radish leaves, and radish stems are all edible. However, the part of the radish stem that is closest to the root is typically very stiff and doesn’t soften when cooking. Unused radish stems and greens are perfect for flavoring stock.
Radish leaves are a healthy leafy green that are high in vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, and have about 20 calories per serving (about 1 cup of chopped greens) (USDA Food Nutrient Database).
Radish leaves can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. Simply remove the greens from the radish at the thickest part of the stem, and then wash and dry them before storing in an airtight freezer bag wrapped in a kitchen cloth or paper towel.
♻️ Sustainable kitchen tips, tricks, and tools
- Stock up on greens during radish season! The best time to make recipes using radish greens is during the height of radish season. In California that’s actually year round, but check out Seasonal Food Guide’s produce seasonality calendar to find when radish greens are in season near you.
- Store cut stems in water to keep them fresh. If you’ve cut the greens from the radish roots before using, keep them fresh by placing the stems in a glass of water and storing in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The water will keep the stems and leaves from wilting.
- Use the discarded radish stems in vegetable broth. Don’t toss the thick stems! Use them in a food scrap vegetable broth for flavorful soup stocks.
🌱 More recipes using non-traditional greens
Love this simple sautéed greens recipe using radish tops? Check out our other plant-based recipes using vegetable leaves that typically get thrown out, like:
- Sautéed Carrot Greens
- Sautéed Beet Leaves
- Carrot Top Pesto
- Radish Greens Pesto Sauce
- Radish Greens Pesto Pasta
- Radish Greens Chimichurri
- Carrot Top Vegetable Broth
- Roasted Radish Tops Chips
- 4 cups radish greens (or amount from 1 bunch)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
- Pinch of salt
- Prepare radish greens: First cut greens from the radish root, then cut the stiff stems right under where the greens start to grow. Fill a large mixing bowl with cold water and submerge radish stems for a few minutes, stirring or moving the leaves around with your hands to make sure as much dirt is removed as possible. Next, remove the leaves from the water and use a salad spinner to remove water and put into a bowl or lay flat to dry (about 15 minutes).
- Sauté the greens: To a medium pan heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add minced garlic and cook until it begins to brown and become fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Next add the red pepper and cook about 20-30 seconds more, or until the pepper begins to release its color into the oil (do not overcook or the pepper will burn). Then add the radish greens and stir constantly until they are covered in oil and completely wilted and cooked down, about 2-3 minutes.
- Serve: Remove to a plate and serve immediately.
- Notes: Radish greens have a hearty, earthy taste and chewy texture, unlike softer greens like arugula. However, like softer greens the radish leaves will cook down to a very small amount (1 cup ends up being about ⅓ cup cooked).
- Tools Needed: glass mixing bowl, medium pan, knife set, cutting board, salad spinner
- Prep Ahead: Cooked soft leafy greens are best eaten immediately, so we do not recommend cooking these radish tops ahead of serving. However, you could wash and prep the greens up to a day ahead of time so they’re ready to be cooked. Any more than this and the greens will wilt and not look their best.
- Leftovers and Storage: Store any leftover greens in the refrigerator for up to two days and reheat over the stovetop or quickly in the microwave. We do not recommend freezing.
- Nutrition notes: Nutrition information is estimated using all included ingredients. This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and is a good source of vitamins C and K, and potassium.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 206Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 761mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 9gSugar: 2gProtein: 8g