mint pesto

Mint Pesto

Out of basil? Turns out mint makes a pretty mean pesto also. I tossed mine with whole wheat pasta and lots of Parmesan cheese. Very tasty!


Mint Pesto

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Mint is one of my favorite spring flavors. It has such a distinct flavor that even a tiny bit of it can easily be tasted in a dish. Mint doesn’t hide well. That’s why I was really intrigued when I saw a mint pesto. It doesn’t use mint as an accent. The dish is pretty much all mint.

Honestly, I wanted to try this because I thought it’d be interesting, but I was 100% ready to report that the mint was very over-powering. That’s what I assumed would happen. Shows how much I know. Mint pesto worked just perfectly.

What’s funny about this pesto is that if you just taste a single sprig of mint, the flavor is intense, but when you grind down a lot of them, they lose some of that intensity and mixed with the other ingredients it just becomes a really delicious, light pesto.

mint pesto

Mint Pesto

Out of basil? Turns out mint makes a pretty mean pesto also. I tossed mine with whole wheat pasta and lots of Parmesan cheese. Very tasty!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Main Dishes, Pantry Staples
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 Servings



  • 1 ½ Cups loosely packed fresh mint
  • ½ Cup loosely packed flat leaf parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Cup Parmesan cheese
  • Cup olive oil maybe a bit more
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  • Wash the mint and parsley well. Toast the pine nuts for a few minutes in a dry pan.
  • Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until they resemble a coarse paste.
  • Taste the pesto and adjust the flavors. It might need a bit more oil or salt and pepper.
  • Toss pesto with hot pasta and serve with extra Parmesan cheese.


Adapted from Body & Soul Magazine.


Serving: 1plateCalories: 243kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 5gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 144mgPotassium: 184mgFiber: 2gSugar: 0.3gVitamin A: 1415IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 155mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Easy Fresh Pesto, Homemade Pesto, Mint Pesto, Mint Recipes

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Making Pesto

This pesto is just like any other. It’s not rocket science. The only note is to make sure your mint leaves are well-washed. They have a tendency to accumulate tiny dirt bits on the leaves. When you buy your mint by the bunch, it’ll come with stems obviously. When you make the pesto try to get mostly leaves but you don’t have to be crazy about it. A few stems won’t mess up the situation.

pesto ingredients
Lots of mint…

Now you can use a lot of different tools to make pesto. The traditional way to do it is to use a mortar and pestle or even just a large knife which you keep working over the basil (mint in this case) until it’s a coarse paste.

For this version, I just whipped out my new food processor. Have I mentioned that getting married rocks?!

Kitchen Gadget of the Century.

Of all the gadgets I’ve received as wedding gifts, I think I’ve used this one the most so far. It’s so simple to use. Besides pestos, I’ve started making hummus every week which is really awesome and I’ve used it for a few different dips also. Basically, I’m in love.

For this pesto, it’s as easy as throwing all the stuff in the processor…

making pesto
A good start…

And pulsing it a few times until it’s a coarse paste. You don’t want to over-process it.

pesto grinded
I love my processor so much.

Taste Testing

This really goes for any dish, but I think tasting is essential for pestos. Based on your ingredients, you’ll need to adjust some things. Feel free to add a bit more olive oil if the pesto is too dry or more salt and pepper if needed. Try to identify what flavors the ingredients are contributing to the pesto and then adjust for those flavors if you need to.

Once you get it just right, you can mix it right in to your pasta. Make sure your pasta is really hot and freshly cooked. That’ll help the pesto flavors meld into the pasta.

pasta and pesto
Together at last!

Mix it all up and you’re good to go! I used a whole wheat penne pasta for this dish, but you could use your favorite obviously.

mixed pasta
Man this smells good.

If I were to re-make this dish (and I just might!), I think I’d add some fresh spring peas to the dish. Peas and mint work really well together and it would add one more great flavor to this pasta dish.

pesto on a plate
Ok. So peas would’ve been a good idea.

As is though, I just grated some extra Parm on the pasta (because why not) and it was a great dinner. Turns out this dish is also great the next day. The pesto, as pesto has a tendency to do, got even better as the flavors blended a bit.

It was kind of surprising to me how good this was, but if you are used to a basil pesto, this isn’t that much of a step away but it’s a great alternative.

12 Responses to “Mint Pesto” Leave a comment

  1. Made this tonight for dinner as we have always had fresh mint growing in the backyard. Very affordable and very light; of cours,e I added a handful or two of petite peas per suggestion; very tasty indeed.

    I was also surprised how muted the mint becomes once blended with the rest of the pesto; what a wonderful alternative.

  2. I love basil and sundried tomato pesto, but I’ve never tried mint before. I love how it looks on the pasta – so light and tasty, and it seems so easy to make – I’ll definitely have to try it. I just have to get me a food processor now!

  3. There’s a Mario Batali recipe around these interwebs somewhere that flips this around, pureeing a bunch of peas for sauce and adding slivers of mint. It’s awesome, so I bet peas would indeed be totally fabulous here.

  4. Thanks for this! The perfect way to use up the huge amount of mint in my garden, and it made a quick and easy lunch. I used walnuts instead of pine nuts, though, since I can't afford pine nuts. It was still really great.

  5. Also try cilantro instead of mint. With a pepper (serrano / jalapeno) and a bit of lime juice. Fabulous. Toasted pepitas are an inexpensive substitute for pine nuts.

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