Basil Mint Pesto
This easy recipe for basil mint pesto is a fresh take on classic Genovese pesto sauce, with fresh, lively flavor and a bright green color.
It tastes of summertime in the garden, and you’ll love the way the fresh mint enhances the flavor. We use readily available almonds instead of pine nuts, and the recipe only takes about 10 minutes to make.
The pesto freezes well and I portion it into 1/4 cup portions so that we can easily thaw a little to toss with hot linguine, whisk into salad dressing, or spread on a homemade pizza when summertime is a distant memory.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Basil and mint pesto sauce is full of flavor, with a hint of mint that perfectly compliments the peppery flavor of fresh basil.
This pesto recipe is easy to make, and ready in less than 10 minutes.
Pesto is a versatile sauce that is delicious on pasta, meats, pizza, appetizers, veggies and more.
Pesto sauce freezes very well, so you can harvest the fresh mint and basil and enjoy its summery flavor for many months.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Here’s what you’ll need to make pesto sauce with fresh mint:
1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves – Remove the stems, which can sometimes be bitter, before measuring.
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves – If you have fresh mint in the garden, this is the perfect way to use it. You can also buy one of those little packages of fresh mint at the store if it’s not in season. Remove the stems, which can sometimes be woody, before measuring.
1/4 cup fresh parsley – We like flat leaf parsley, but you can use regular curly parsley, too. Stems are fine.
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed – Feel free to reduce this to 1 garlic clove if you don’t like fairly strong garlic flavor.
1/4 cup blanched almonds – Look for peeled, blanched almonds in the baking aisle of the grocery store. If you prefer, you can substitute walnuts or pine nuts.
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese – Freshly grated Parmesan cheese will add the best flavor.
4 to 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil – Use your best quality olive oil for this recipe.
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
While traditional pesto sauce is sometimes made in a mortar and pestle, we prefer the ease and control of a food processor. It’s hard to be a classic Cuisinart food processor for power and control.
We used the stainless steel chopping/mixing blade to make this recipe. The large feed tube and removable pusher makes it easy to drizzle in the olive oil while the mixture is blending.
You can also use a powerful blender to combine the ingredients if you prefer.
15 Best Ways to Serve Pesto
Wondering how to serve pesto? Here are 15 of our favorite ideas:
- PASTA: Pesto is a classic pasta sauce that pairs well with many different types of noodles from spaghetti and linguine to bowtie pasta and fusilli.
- BREAD: Spread pesto on slices of crusty bread for a simple and tasty appetizer or snack.
- SALAD DRESSING: Use pesto as a salad dressing, either by whisking it into Italian dressing or drizzling it directly on the ingredients such as a classic tomato and mozzarella salad.
- PIZZA: Use pesto instead of tomato sauce on a pizza, or drizzle it over the top of a hot, freshly baked pizza for extra flavor.
- GRILLED MEATS, POULTRY or FISH: Use pesto as a marinade or sauce for grilled chicken, fish, or steaks.
- SANDWICHES: For a tasty twist, spread pesto on your favorite sandwich instead of mayonnaise or mustard.
- BRUSCHETTA: Top toasted slices of baguette with pesto, cherry tomatoes, fresh minced garlic, and grated Parmesan for a flavorful appetizer.
- GRILLED VEGGIES: Brush pesto onto grilled vegetables, such as zucchini, Vidalia onion, eggplant, or bell peppers for a flavorful side dish.
- OMELETS: Add a drizzle of pesto to your favorite omelette for an extra burst of flavor.
- POTATOES: Toss roasted or fried potatoes with pesto for a flavorful side dish.
- CROSTINI: Spread pesto on small slices of toasted bread and top with goat cheese or roasted vegetables for an easy, tasty appetizer.
- GRILLED CHEESE: Use pesto instead of butter on the bread for a delicious and easy grilled cheese sandwich. Pesto’s peppery flavor pairs especially well with milder cheeses like Havarti or Fontina.
- RICE: Stir pesto into cooked rice for an easy and flavorful side dish.
- FLATBREAD: Top fresh flatbread or naan with pesto, chopped tomatoes and shredded cheese, and heat in the oven until hot and crispy for a quick and easy snack or dinner.
- SOUP: Swirl pesto into minestrone or tomato soup for a burst of flavor
What to do with Leftover Pesto?
Store any leftover pesto sauce in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Make sure it’s tightly wrapped or stored in an airtight container.
For longer storage, we like to freeze pesto. It freezes amazingly well and will last for up to 6 months in the freezer if you wrap it tightly.
We divide it in smaller portions and freeze it in an ice cube tray. Pop the cubes out when frozen and store in a freezer bag. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
About Eliza Cross
Eliza Cross is the author of 16 books, including Small Bites, 101 Things To Do With Bacon, and BERRIES. She enjoys sharing ideas to simplify cooking, gardening, and home projects. She blogs at Happy Simple Living and is also the founder of the BENSA Bacon Lovers Society.
Basil Mint Pesto
- 1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves, no stems
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, no stems
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 1/4 cup chopped blanched almonds
- 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Put the basil, mint, parsley, garlic and almonds in a food processor. Blend at low speed for a few moments until the ingredients are coarsely chopped.
- Add the cheese and half of the olive oil and blend again.
- Scrape the mixture down from the side of the container. Turn the speed to low and trickle in the remaining olive oil while blending.
- By hand, stir in salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 1 cup.
- Store leftover pesto sauce, tightly wrapped or in an airtight container, for up to 2 days.
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