Spring Pasta Salad with Dill Frond and Radish Green Pesto


Hello friends! Tomorrow is Earth Day, so I hope you have something sufficiently crunchy planned. We'll be spending the morning at the farmer's market then the rest of the day planting in our backyard.

To celebrate, the Recipe Redux crew (aka the lovely group of healthy food bloggers I'm a part of) is sharing a recipe that helps reduce food waste by using up some of the scraps that would normally be thrown out. Because composting is great, but eating is way more fun.


Did you know that one third of all food produced worldwide is wasted in production or consumption systems? That fact is appalling in a world where one in nine people are suffering from chronic undernourishment. Here in the US, food is the second largest component in landfills, which is the largest source of harmful methane gas. The average American wastes 20 lbs of food every month!

The little things we do add up, so be smart with your purchases. Buy what you need (meal planning helps!), love your leftovers, and get creative with scraps leftover from cooking.


For most of my vegetable scraps, I keep them frozen in a big heavy duty freezer bag along with chicken bones to make stock. But whenever I have something leafy and green or extra herbs that are about to wilt, I make pesto. I rarely follow a recipe - I just throw random mixtures of greens into the food processor along with a minced garlic clove, a handful of toasted nuts and olive oil. It's really easy and leftovers freeze well too.

This spring pasta salad was inspired by a trip to the farmer's market where I came back with the most gorgeous French breakfast radishes and a our local organic farm's first fennel crop. Normally, radish greens and fennel fronds would get tossed out, but they're actually packed with lots of bright green flavor, especially the fennel, which tastes just like spring to me. I used both to whip up this pesto, then served it in an easy pasta salad with perfect farmer's market fresh asparagus, which I simmered in lemon water, and crisp snow peas.


Spring Pasta Salad with Dill Frond and Radish Green Pesto

Serves: Serves 4


  • Pesto:
  • Fronds from 1 head fennel
  • Greens from 1 bunch of radishes
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pasta:
  • 1 1/4 cups orzo pasta
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus
  • 1 cup chopped snow peas or snap peas
  • 2 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 handfuls watercress leaves
  • 1 large scallion, thinly sliced


  1. First, make the pesto. Place fennel fronds, radish greens,parmesan, almonds and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, then stream in olive oil with the motor running. Season with salt and black pepper to taste then pulse again until well combined.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil then cook orzo according to package directions, drain, and set aside.
  3. Next, make the asparagus. Fill a large sided skillet with a couple inches of water. Add lemon slices to the skillet, a teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. While water is coming to a boil, fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. When lemon water comes to a boil, add half the asparagus, reduce heat and cover with a lid. Simmer 2 minutes, then immediately transfer asparagus with tongs to the bowl of ice water. Repeat with remaining asparagus.
  4. Place pasta with 3/4 cup of the pesto in a large bowl. Chop asparagus into 1-inch pieces and add to the bowl with the pasta. Add snow peas, radish and watercress and toss to combine. You can reserve some of the watercress and radish for garnish along with the sliced green onion.

Explore more food waste saving recipes from my fellow Recipe Reduxers: