With a rich smoky flavor, Smoky Radish Greens is an easy, tasty vegetable side, flavored with bacon and smoked paprika. A 5-ingredient recipe!
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This dish was created out of a CSA surprise. You have to love an unplanned recipe that turns out amazing! And with spring coming (who else is chomping at the bit for fresh local food!) I though it deserved updating!
You see, a couple years back, my CSA farmer decided to share all the beautiful greens that topped his turnips, etc. He gathered them into bundles, then left them next to the CSA boxes as free extras. Sadly, many people don’t know that radish leaves are edible along with lots of other greens like turnip greens and kohlrabi tops!
Alas… not too surprisingly, at the end of the pickup day, there were many bunches left. Since I host one of his pickup sites, I knew it was up to me to finish. But even I had to admit, I barely knew what to do with them, having just one greens recipe (Spicy Turnip Greens) in my repertoire.
Which is how this sauteed radish green recipe was created. With a beautiful smoky flavor from smoked paprika highlighted by a richer smokiness from the bacon bits, it’s extra easy if you use packaged, chopped bacon!
Yes, this is a simple 5-ingredient recipe with zero compromise on flavor!
What are Radish Greens?
Radish Greens are simply the radish tops, the leafy green part of the radish that sticks out above ground. Most people don’t know that the greens are edible in addition to the root! They’re surprisingly delicious, and a great way to be sustainable by not wasting any of the vegetable.
Why You’ll Love This!
- Easy. With only five ingredients, it doesn’t get much simpler than this!
- Unique. This dish is a wonderful way to try something new while using a part of the radish you’d ordinarily throw away.
- Tasty. The delicious, smoky flavor will definitely have you reaching for seconds.
- Frugal and Healthy. In these days of high grocery costs, it pays to use everything you can. Especially something as healthy as greens! For more on radish greens benefits and nutrition, see Organic Facts.
What You’ll Need
- Radish Greens.
- Smoked Paprika. This creates the smoky flavor.
- Bacon Bits. This adds a savory element and enhances the smoky flavor.
- Butter or Olive Oil. This is what the greens are cooked in.
- Salt. This adds a bit of flavor to the dish.
- No special tools are required.
Step by Step Directions
The hardest part is to chop the greens into smallish pieces. I usually use an Ulu Knife which is a pretty efficient way to do this. Another way is to place the greens in a large cup and chop them up in the cup using kitchen shears.
Types of Greens
Who would have thought that eating radish greens would be so tasty! And I was also happy to learn that many of the other greens that top root vegetables are edible! People use carrot tops for pesto and I have made this recipe with radish greens, turnip greens and kohlrabi tops that I would normally have discarded.
You can also use greens that don’t top a root crop like kale. You just need to cook it a bit longer (probably 45 minutes) to make sure it is tender. Collards would be another option!
How to Serve
Radish Greens are a great side dish! The smoke flavor from this recipe would pair wonderfully with some grilled ribs or pork chops. You could pair it with my popular Dutch Oven or Slow Cooker Ribs or my Thyme Marinated Tender Pork Chops.
Leftover cooked greens should keep for 3-4 days, covered and refrigerated. And in case you run into a super bonanza like I did, they will also freeze well.
Very fresh uncooked greens should keep in the refrigerator a week or more, loosely packaged.
Can I freeze fresh greens? Yes, if you have an abundance of greens, they are easy to freeze. Just blanche, squeeze out excess water and pop into a freezer container or zip loc bag. Come winter, they will be so welcome!
Tips and FAQs
The most labor-intensive part of this is chopping the greens. I like them medium-fine chopped (see picture above) to ensure they are tender. In a hurry I’ve been known to pulse them in a food processor but since that takes them pretty fine, I usually I chop by hand with an Ulu Knife. Another way is to place the greens in a large cup and chop them up in the cup using kitchen shears.
The cooking time can be longish, but it’s hard to overcook greens. So, as long as you can be sure they won’t burn, you can focus on other things while they cook.
I usually use the pre-cooked chopped bacon that is shelf stable until opened (after which I keep it in the freezer). You just pour out what you need and it makes any dish with bacon super easy. The downside is that it’s not organic, and usually not nitrate-free, but I figure given the mere tablespoon per serving, perhaps the lower stress makes up for that :).
For vegan greens you can add vegetarian bac’uns bits instead of bacon and olive oil rather than butter.
Smoky Radish Greens
- 8 cups chopped greens lightly packed
- 1 t smoked paprika
- ¼ cup cooked bacon bits pork or vegan
- 1 T butter or olive oil
- Salt pepper to taste
- Chop the greens into smallish pieces, no more than 1 inch wide.
- Simmer/steam in a little water until very tender, 20-45 minutes depending on the type of green. I recommend erring on the side of overcooking.
- When tender, drain off the water. Add butter or oil, bacon bits, and smoked paprika. Mix, then add salt & pepper to taste.
Originally published Jul 1, 2021.
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