Pesto happens to be one of my favorite foods in the entire world. When fresh basil, garlic and olive oil are placed before me, I can’t help but turn to classic pesto. When I’m assembling bruschetta, grilled cheese or pasta, pesto usually happens to sneak it’s way in. I can whip up a batch of this green goodness and it would barely make it through a weekend. Besides the beautiful bright green presentation of homemade pesto, I know I’m getting an extra large serving of cleansing, beautiful basil.
Classic pesto always includes basil and you may find recipes with a few other herbs thrown in, most popularly, parsley. This time, we are experimenting with something else – mint! If you have fresh mint leaves that are crisp and new and are begging for a special use, this recipe is for you.
What are your first thoughts of a mint pesto? Too strong? Too strange? Let your mind rest knowing that while the flavor of mint is present, all the ingredients fuse together for a deliciously balanced spread. A few drizzles of maple syrup add the faintest sweetness while adding another dimension of creaminess. We love pesto that’s creamy and this sweetener helps give a creamy, smooth base. Basil and lemon help create a harmonious sauce that balance out the sweet. This pesto is still wonderful on all your favorite dishes with a twist. With lemon, garlic and olive oil, this pesto is familiar, yet intriguing and you’ll find it’s a perfect spring treat.
Mint Pesto (vegan, raw & gluten free)
1 cup Fresh Mint Leaves
1 cup Fresh Basil Leaves
1/3 cup Walnuts
1/4 cup Pine Nuts
1 teaspoon Fresh Lemon Zest
2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
Dash of Garlic
5-6 Tablespoons Olive Oil*
In a food processor combine the mint, basil and nuts and process until a rough paste. Add the other ingredients except for the oil and pulse until it just starts to come together. Add the oil, a little at a time, while pulsing on and off. Add enough oil to your desired consistency and you’re done!
*We like the consistency of our pesto to be different based on what we are making. This pesto is a little thicker, which is perfect for grilled cheese sandwiches or bruschetta. If you want this for a pasta sauce, you will want the full 6 tablespoons of oil, plus maybe a little more.