One would think that cramming 4 cups of mint leaves into less than 1 cup of paste would yield an overpowering sauce that was impossible to eat. In fact, the mint maintains its freshness without taking over. This recipe is very likely to become your second-favorite pesto, and it is available to cooks well ahead of the classic made with basil. Mint is ready to pick before the first of May and keeps going into June. If you’re not growing mint yet, be sure to plant it in a pot when you do, or it will take over your garden.

We squirted this pesto over classic white beans and spinach for the photo (the beans were dressed with vinaigrette). But it would also be delicious rubbed on grilled meats, mixed into salad dressing, stirred into pasta or soups, added to meatball or meatloaf mixtures. Or thin it with a little olive oil and brush it on long strips of zucchini, squash, eggplant and potatoes to ready them for roasting or grilling.

By | May 30, 2017


Toast almonds in a small skillet over medium heat, shaking, or in a toaster oven, until lightly brown. Transfer to a food processor or blender. Add mint, garlic, lemon zest and juice. Blend in bursts to chop and mix ingredients, scraping down the sides of the containers a few times. With the machine running, slowly pour in the olive oil. You will need to stop and scrape a few times. Blend into a smooth, thick paste. Makes ¾ cup.

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  • ¼ cup slivered almonds
  • 4 cups packed fresh mint leaves, rinsed and dried
  • 4 medium garlic cloves
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
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