The bounty of herbs in summer is my utmost pleasure, and the spearmint cutting I brought with me from Lebanon about 24 years ago loves the soil in my garden! It grows abundantly every summer, never failing me with its fresh aroma and fruity taste. Add a few fresh leaves to your labneh or shawarma sandwiches, or chop a few ones in any summer salad, and enjoy the burst of bright flavours!
No wonder that this fragrant herb is one of the most dried herbs in Lebanon; always available in the pantry! It tastes as much as good in salads, dips, meat balls, and it is a quintessential ingredient in all cooked yoghurt dishes like shesh barak or laban ummuh.
After drying quite a big amount this year, enough for more than one household, I tried my luck with a new mint pesto recipe. I think I have landed a hit! I have already consumed my first jar, and already prepared my second.
Prepared like the traditional pesto, it is a blend of fresh mint, fresh parsley, garlic, pine nuts, and extra-virgin olive oil. I omitted the Parmesan to make it an all-Lebanese kind of pesto!
I have been using a dollop in all the salads, as well as on grilled vegetables and Halloumi, in pasta and vegetarian dishes.
- ½ cup peeled garlic cloves
- ½ cup pine nuts roasted
- 2 cups rinsed and drained green mint leaves
- 2/3 cup rinsed and drained parsley leaves
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Heat a non-stick heavy pan over medium heat and roast pine nuts in one layer until golden, shaking the pan occasionally. Remove immediately onto a plate and let cool completely.
- In the bowl of a food processor or in the tall cup of a blender pulse all ingredients into a smooth pesto. Store in a covered container. Add an extra drizzle of olive oil on top before covering. Keep up to 4 weeks in the fridge.