Reserved pasta water helps create a creamy sauce for this 30-minute pasta recipe, which is based on pasta con cime de rapa, an Italian dish made with spring turnips and their tops. Radishes and their greens tops have a similar mild flavor. No tops on your radishes? No problem. Simply swap in 4 cups baby kale for the radish greens.

By Mary Margaret Chappell,


  • 2 large bunches radishes with green tops (30 to 40 radishes)
  • 12 oz. dry whole wheat orecchiette (3 cups)
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast, plus more for sprinkling
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper


  • Trim greens from radishes, remove any tough stems, and wash 2 to 3 times in cold water to remove any grit. Drain well. (You should have about 4 cups.) Halve or quarter radishes.
  • In a large pot cook orecchiette and radishes according to package directions for pasta, adding radish greens the last 5 minutes of cooking. Reserve 3 cups cooking water. Drain pasta and radishes.
  • Add nutritional yeast, garlic, and red pepper to the still-hot pot. Add 2 cups of the reserved cooking water. Return pasta and radishes to pot; toss to coat. Add additional reserved cooking water if desired for saucier pasta. Sprinkle with additional nutritional yeast.

Comments (10)

(5 from 5 votes)

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This would also work well with Asian Radish or Daikon. They like to be seared which seems to bring out their sweetness. In the right Asian store you can find them with their tops still on.


This was not good. Usually if I make a recipe and I don’t care for it I can think of a way to salvage the recipe with additional seasonings or ingredients, but not this one. Straight to the compost bin!


I don't have orecchetti but have just bought a box of organic chickpea Fusilli so will try this!


I love cooked radishes but don’t have many ways to consume them. This sounds yummy and may be another recipe for my spring rotation. Thank you.

Shauna W

I have radishes in my garden, but the greens have spiny edges. Is this recipe only for a very young radishes/leaves?


i find my radish leaves lose their 'spininess' once cooked.

Courtney Davison

Hi Shauna, We checked with the recipe developer, Mary Margaret, about your question. Here is her response: "Spiny leaves are OK. (The leaves I get are spiny and ticklish as well). The 5 minute cooking time softens them to a spinach-like texture. If the leaves seem REALLY tough, you can add them earlier." Hope this helps. Happy cooking! Thank you, Courtney Davison Editor, Forks Over Knives


Just love how the radishes loose their BITE when cooked but retain all the flavor!! And that they are a cruciferious veggie


Thankyou. This is delish. I love radish greens and nut yeast


I made this when I saw it in the magazine...doesn't get easier than this, when it comes to healthy cooking.

About the Author

Headshot of Mary Margaret Chappell

About the Author

Mary Margaret Chappell

When Mary Margaret Chappell first started out in the plant-based food world as a writer, editor, and recipe developer, she was a bacon-loving former pastry chef who didn’t think she could ever cook without butter. Fourteen years, four cookbooks, dozens of cooking classes, and hundreds of recipes later, her favorite thing in the world is sharing the tips, techniques, and recipes that show just how easy and delicious whole-food, plant-based cooking can be. The former food editor of Vegetarian Times magazine has done away with her dependency on butter and is honing her skills at baking with natural sweeteners. Chappell lives in France, where plant-based eating can often be a challenge, but the fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes available are simply amazing. Find her on Instagram and Facebook.
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