Mint And Pesto Is The Pairing You'll Want To Use Over And Over Again

Pesto has much brighter qualities than its rich counterparts of marinara or alfredo. It's a great pick for a light pasta dish and packs a ton of flavor. Parmesan, garlic, basil, pine nuts, and olive oil come together in what most people think of when they picture pesto. Basil pesto is the classic pesto frequently paired with pasta and other Italian cuisine. It can be used to liven up breakfast eggs, thinned out and tossed into a salad, or even drizzled over avocado toast. Pesto's potential is limitless, especially when you begin to consider other herbs that can be added to the mix.

One of these fresh herbs to consider adding to basil pesto is mint. In fact, mint and basil both belong to the Lamiaceae family, which is known for its fragrant leaves that often get cultivated as herbs. Pairing the two herbs may not be obvious at first, but their different flavors can play off each other to bring extra herbaceousness to the pesto.

How to use mint in pesto

Mint can be described as sharp yet cooling, while basil is earthy and savory. The ideal combination of the two will result in a nutty and refreshing pesto that gives your tastebuds something new to enjoy. 

The type of mint you use matters, as does the ratio of mint to basil. There are around 25 different types of mint to choose from, but some are more frequently found in the kitchen. Spearmint is a common classic, and one well worth considering for a mint-basil pesto. Its uncomplicated flavor makes it a versatile mint — used for salads, lemonades, and meats alike. On the other hand, peppermint (another common mint) is much stronger, making it good for teas and mint oil. A mint to potentially avoid is chocolate mint. As its name suggests, its taste is similar to that of mint chocolate, and so it is ideal for chocolate desserts.

Don't be afraid mint pesto will come out tasting like toothpaste. Mint pesto, with mint and only mint, is one of many varieties of pesto in Italy and is often added to grilled meats and fish. When combined with basil, a mint pesto will be even less minty, so there's no need to worry. A one-to-one ratio of mint to basil is ideal for those who want to put mint closer to the forefront (its sharper flavors will slightly overpower the basil). With a one-to-two ratio of mint to basil, the mint will still cut through the basil's flavor and the pesto will taste more balanced. Mint-and-basil pesto can replace basil pesto in any dish to bring fresh and unexpected flavors.