Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mint & Pistachio Pesto (In Pasta & On Flatbread)

I went through a phase of having lukewarm feelings for pesto a awhile back. It seemed like every roasted veggie sandwich or vegetarian dish on a restaurant menu was slathered with it and it usually overpowered the other ingredients. Lately, I have become fond of pesto and its versatility--as a spread for crackers or a dip for veggies, over a piece of grilled fish, or with the traditional pasta. I like pestos that are a bit different from the normal basil/pine nut combo--like this Mint Pesto from Donna Hay. 

The recipe did call for pine nuts but I was feeling like lightly toasted pistachios instead. I also added fresh lemon juice to brighten things up. I ate most of it on top of labneh (yogurt cheese) on crisp flatbread crackers, paired with Donna's Green Pea & Basil Soup and the rest the next day, stirred into pasta with more freshly grated parmesan and chopped toasted pistachios on top.  

Mint & Pistachio Pesto
Adapted from Donna Hay Simple Essentials: Salads + Vegetables
(Makes about 1 1/4 cups)

1 cup mint leaves
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup roasted pine nuts (I subbed pistachios)
1/4 cup finely-grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
(I added 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice)

Roughly chop the mint, parsley, pine nuts and parmesan cheese in a blender or food processor. Add the olive oil and blend until combined and slightly thickened.

Notes/Results: A simple pesto with fresh flavors and a cool brightness from the mint. You could of course use any nut but I like both the nutty and slightly sweet flavor of the pistachios and the green color. The lemon livens it up and with the mint, would be excellent with salmon (or lamb if you swing to the meat side of things) ;-) I will make this again.

This pesto is linking up to I Heart Cooking Clubs where this week's theme is the "Eating of the Green."  You can see all of the dishes with green-hued ingredients that everyone makes by checking out the post and the picture links on it.  



  1. I like the change-up from basil, especially for seasons in which basil is less plentiful! The.Boy isn't a huge fan of raw garlic so I don't get to make pesto as often as I'd like! Have to make this and eat it all myself.

  2. I also like pesto that is different than the traditional. I've had many types, but have never tried a mint version. Perfect for spring!

  3. Pam Armstrong GreerMarch 15, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    I'm saving this for when my mint comes back to life.

  4. What a great way to use up some of that mint my garden produces in such abundance! Sounds delicious, especially with pistachios.

  5. I love that you substituted pistachios in place of the traditional pine nuts. I love pesto, but I never have much luck when I try to make it at home. Can't seem to get the ratio right. Love this on the flatbreads and the pasta. I'd love to try it on lamb like you suggested!

  6. Hi Deb,
    Such interesting pesto! I have not made one with mint before. And your sub for pistachios rather than the usual pine nuts sounds good to me. I shall keep this in mind, as pine nuts are way too expensive!

  7. Couscous & ConsciousnessMarch 22, 2014 at 11:24 PM

    Deb, I love experimenting with different flavours in pesto other than the traditional basil/pine nut. Mint and pistachio sounds like a great combo, and the colour looks wonderful too.


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