So you guys may know that when it comes to plants, I kill them. Not on purpose. But I just cannot keep them alive (I also once accidentally killed a pair of canaries, but that’s another story. Birds and plants are not my thing.)

But I love to grow herbs because I use them so frequently that it’s so much cheaper and more convenient to have a pot of them on my back patio than to buy those tiny little packets. Last summer, I planted some big pots full of herbs. Then winter (an unusually long, cold, snowy winter by Louisiana standards) came and most of my herbs died. The rosemary and basil are kind of poking through, but the dill is long gone.

But the mint…you guys, I’ve found my plant. I cannot kill this.

This happened with literally zero work on my part. I probably couldn’t kill it if I wanted to. We’re a match made in heaven.

It’s funny because you’d think that being a food blogger, I’d make everything from scratch. The truth is that sometimes it’s easy to get into bad habits. The last few months, I kind of burned out on cooking and we have wound up eating out more than we really should have. So during the last couple of weeks, I’ve really been working hard at getting us back into the habit of rarely eating out.

One of the first things I made after my “resolution” was tortellini with mint-basil pesto from the May 2014 issue of Cooking Light (it’s not even available online or in stores yet, so hold tight and I’ll link it soon.) The whole dinner was so delicious–light and fresh and wholesome and feel-good and even my pickypickypicky eater (like the one who makes me not want to cook because things either end in tears or pouting) cleaned his bowl. But the pesto was the star of the show.

Sometimes traditional basil is a little heavy for me, and I’m not a huge fan of pine nuts, but the mint here isn’t super minty, it just brightens up that strong basil flavor. It’s delicious on pasta, pizza, garlic bread, spread on flank steak or pork tenderloin and grilled, anything with a little Mediterranean flair.

You’re going to need fresh mint leaves, fresh basil leaves, toasted almonds, garlic, a green onion, fresh lemon zest and juice, freshly grated Parmesan, and extra-virgin olive oil (I used Our Best Bites Garlic Olive Oil, which is still on sale if you haven’t snagged any yet!)

Chop the almonds

and grate the Parmesan.

Place the herbs, garlic, green onion, almonds, parmesan, lemon, and lemon juice in the small bowl of a food processor or in a small blender jar. Process until the herbs have broken down. With the blender/processor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream until desired consistency is reached.

This makes about a cup of pesto.

Our Garlic Olive Oil is delicious in this (and the lemon would be, too!), so if you haven’t tried them out yet, now’s the perfect time because they’re on sale!

15 comments

  1. I live in the arctic tundra of Upstate NY (think Canada, not the Hudson Valley) and I grow mint in pots on my front deck. I store the pots in my unheated garage for the winter and they still insist on popping back up in the spring year after year (along with the thyme, oregano, and sage…most of the time, although this winter will be a true test). So far I’ve only ever used the mint to make mojitos, but maybe I’ll branch out and try this recipe.

    Even though I’m sure everyone knows this…just a word of warning not to plant your mint directly in the ground, unless you want to enjoy an entire garden of one species of unkillable plant. That “unkillable” trait isn’t as endearing when it’s taking over your entire yard (although it smells nice when you mow it)!

  2. Do you grow spearmint or peppermint? Which is used in this recipe? I read that spearmint is better for savory uses (like meat sauces) and peppermint is better for sweet foods like dessert.

  3. Just don’t plant mint somewhere that you don’t want it to spread! It will take over your front yard if you’re not careful! Pots- yes; bare ground – NO!

  4. To keep the mint from taking over a garden; either plant it in a large pot or sink a chimney flue in the ground and plant the mint in that.

    Mint and basil are a wonderful combination. Try it with lime juice instead of lemon. Or replace the almonds with pistachios. Once variation I’ve done is to mix mint and spinach with lemon and pistachios. It made a wonderfully different pesto.

  5. Yes! My mint was HUGE by the end of last summer. My mom was kind enough to remind me that it’s a weed so it’s not terribly surprising I did well with it 😉

  6. The mint plant that cannot be killed made me laugh. My mom wasn’t much of a gardener, but our flower bed was always full of mint. I guess now I know why!

  7. You’re right…you can hardly kill mint here in the South. It’ll take over your lawn quickly. Good thinking, keeping it in a pot :). Mmmm…mint tea…

  8. How do you measure the mint and basil? When it says 1 C. does that mean 1 C. smooshed and packed down or is it just loose fluffly leaves 1 C.?

  9. Okay, I actually stopped being lazy, reread the post and saw that you listed what else you could put it on! I think it might be good on grilled chicken, too?

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