Mint Pesto Sauce, a super simple pesto sauce recipe that uses mint leaves instead of basil. Ready in under 10 minutes and freezes well!
Have leftover mint leaves? Put them in a pesto! Great as a topping for vegetables, fish, or meats, this mint pesto is a tasty way to use up extra mint leaves.
👉 Ready to learn how to make pesto from mint leaves? Let’s do it!
🌿 Ingredients you’ll need
- Mint Leaves: Leafy greens and herbs are the primary ingredients in pesto, and we used mint leaves for this recipe. Not only do they add freshness to pesto, they also provide important vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium, and folate.
- Nuts or seeds: Pine nuts are used in traditional pesto, but you can make it with other varieties of nuts, like cashews or walnuts. You can even make it nut-free with pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds!
- Cheese (or alternative): Parmesan or pecorino cheeses are traditional, but you can also use a vegan cheese-alternative like nutritional yeast.
- Olive oil: Adds flavor to pesto and helps maintain its texture so that it doesn’t become too thick.
- Garlic, salt, and pepper. These are common pesto seasonings that you can adjust to your liking.
- Optional Ingredients: Balance out the pesto with acid and brighten the flavor with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
- Recommended tools: A food processor or blender, knife set, cutting board, and salad spinner
🥣 How to make (step-by-step photos)
1️⃣ Step One: Wash and prep mint leaves
Start with washing the mint leaves by running them under water or submerging in a bowl of water. Remove any dirt from the leaves, then take out of the bowl and lay flat on a plate or kitchen towel to dry. You can also use a salad spinner to dry the leaves.
Before making the pesto, remove any remaining hard stems from the greens.
2️⃣ Step Two: Blend the greens, nuts or seeds, garlic, and oil
Toss the mint leaves in a food processor. Add nuts or seeds and garlic cloves, and pulse until finely chopped.
As the ingredients are being blended, slowly drizzle in olive oil and continue to pulse until the chopped ingredients are well coated in oil but not completely smooth (you will want the pesto to be a little chunky)
Slowly drizzle in olive oil while pulsing the ingredients. Pulse until the chopped ingredients are well coated in oil, but still chunky.
3️⃣ Step Three: Mix in cheese, spices, and lemon juice
Finish off the pesto by slowly adding cheese or nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper. Give it a taste and add more seasoning until the pesto is flavored to your liking!
💡 Ideas for serving
There are so many fun ways to enjoy pesto! Its versatility and deliciousness make it a great addition to just about any dish. Here are some ideas for how to serve mint pesto:
- Use as a sauce or spread. Pasta, pizza, bowls, sandwiches – you can’t go wrong with using pesto as a sauce for just about any dish.
- Use as veggie dip. Pesto and veggies make the perfect pair! You can mix pesto into hummus or use it on its own as a dip. Try it with any vegetable of your choice, like raw carrots, broccoli, or cauliflower!
- Add to salad dressings. Pesto can easily be mixed into salad dressing. Simply combine it with more olive oil and lemon juice, then pour it over your favorite salad.****
- Use it as a topping for soup. Add flavor to your soup by using pesto as a garnish. We suggest trying it with our Roasted Tomato Leek Soup.
🧊 How to store
One of the best things about pesto is that you can make a small amount to use all at once, or make a big batch to store and use to make quick meals. Here are some storage tips for mint pesto:
- Refrigerator storage: Keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
- Freezer storage: Store in a sealed freezer-safe container for up to 6 months.
👉 Pro tip: To prevent browning, it is a good idea to drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on the surface of pesto before putting it in the refrigerator or freezer. You can add pesto to ice cube trays, freeze, and transfer to a freezer-safe storage bag. Having small amounts on hand are perfect for when you need a quick flavor enhancer!
♻️ Sustainable kitchen tips
Making mint pesto is a great way to reduce food waste! Here are some ways to make it even better for the planet:
Make it during mint season! Add mint to your grocery list while it’s in season. The growing season for mint is spring through fall in most areas, but find out where mint is in season near you here.
👉 More herb pesto recipes
Minto Pesto Sauce
- 2 cups mint leaves
- ⅓ cup pine nuts or other nuts or seeds
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast if vegan
- 1 pinch salt and pepper
- Optional: squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- Wash and prep mint leaves: Start by washing mint leaves under running water or submerging them in a bowl of water and shaking them to remove any dirt. Use a salad spinner to dry leaves or lay them flat on a plate or kitchen towel to dry.
- Blend the greens, nuts, garlic, and oil: Toss the cleaned and dried mint leaves in a food processor. Next, add nuts or seeds and garlic cloves. Pulse until finely chopped, slowly drizzling in olive oil until the chopped ingredients are well coated in oil but still chunky.
- Add seasonings to finish: Finish by adding in the cheese (or nutritional yeast), salt, and pepper. Give the pesto a taste and add more seasonings until it's flavored to your liking.
- Nuts or seeds? Traditional pesto sauce uses pine nuts, but any nuts or seeds are perfect for pesto. We used pumpkin seeds in the photos of this recipe.
- Tools needed: food processor or blender, knife set, cutting board, salad spinner
- Prep ahead: Make this simple pesto up to 2-3 days before serving, or freeze until ready to use
- Leftovers and storage: Leftover pesto should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days, and in the freezer for up to 2 months (possibly longer).
- Nutrition notes: This recipe made as written (with parmesan cheese and pine nuts). Using other nuts, seeds, cheese, or nutritional yeast will change the nutrition information of this recipe.