Fall in love with fresh Basil Mint Pesto, with its bright, refreshing complexity of flavors, its versatility, and the quick and easy process of making it! Spread it on sandwiches, toss it with pasta, use it as a base for flatbread pizzas, or serve it with a cheeseboard. There are endless ways to use this vibrant sauce!
So you love basil pesto, who doesn’t?! But have you ever paired basil and mint together and fallen in love with how well they work together in a whole new, yet totally familiar, pesto sauce?
No? Ok, great, let’s dive into the world of your new favorite pesto variety: Basil Mint Pesto. It’s not just any ol’ basil pesto (although no knocking the classic favorite), and it’s not fully mint pesto, either. It’s a beautiful mix of the two fresh herbs, resulting in a bright, vibrant sauce that needs to be used on…oh, well, probably everything. While mint may conjure up memories of being overly bright, refreshing, and slightly cooling, the flavor mellows in the pesto and compliments the basil perfectly.
It’s easy to make and ready in less than 5 minutes! Not to mention there is just about every way under the sun to use it (more on that later!). It’s made with simple ingredients, and if you have a backyard garden that’s overflowing with mint and basil, it’s going to be your new summer go-to recipe.
What You’ll Need for Mint Basil Pesto
With just 6 simple ingredients, this sauce comes together to transform dinnertime. Or snack time. Or patio happy hours complete with appetizers (because what is really better than that?!).
Like classic basil pesto, you can easily substitute ingredients and work with what you’ve got as far as nuts and even herb quantities are concerned. As always, be sure to check the recipe card for the full recipe and instructions.
- Fresh Basil – of course we’re starting with fresh basil for this pesto! There are many varieties of basil in the world, but the sweet basil you’ll find in grocery stores is the one you want! Stay away from Thai Basil for this recipe, as it will be too pungent.
- Fresh Mint – you can use peppermint or spearamint in this recipe, whichever you prefer or have on hand!
- Walnuts – traditional pesto uses pine nuts, however, in this recipe I love using walnuts. Pine nuts can be quite expensive to purchase, and I always have walnuts on hand. They have amazing health benefits, are more affordable, and still contribute to a silky texture with a mild flavor. You could also use pine nuts or almonds.
- Garlic – there’s no sauce recipe I would make without garlic TBH, but fresh garlic in pesto is key. It adds so much flavor and a bit of pungent flavor to the sauce (in a good way). Add more or less, depending on your tastes.
- Parmesan Cheese – nothing compares to the salty, nutty bite of parmesan cheese in pesto. You can use Romano if you’re looking for a more bold cheese flavor, or omit the cheese entirely if you’re dairy-free or would like a vegan pesto. I highly recommend freshly shredding your parmesan for best results and flavor!
- Olive Oil – a key component of pesto, using high-quality olive oil will give your sauce the most flavor. If I’m serving the pesto raw, I’ll definitely break out the highest quality olive oil in my cupboard. If, however, I know I’ll be cooking it like in a pasta, I’m more inclined to use my everyday olive oil.
HOW TO MAKE PESTO
And, I present to you, an incredibly easy, unique sauce recipe that is going to change your summer sauce game. Are you ready for it?
To start, grab your food processor or blender. Either will work for this recipe. Start by pulsing together all of the ingredients except for the olive oil. In goes the fresh basil and mint, garlic cloves (you can absolutely just add them whole!), parmesan cheese, and walnuts. I also like to add a bit of salt here, but remember to taste test after you mix it together and adjust as needed.
Once those ingredients are pulsed together and are a medium to a fine mixture, begin drizzling in the olive oil while the food processor is running. Slowly drizzling it in helps the sauce emulsify and combine, creating a smooth luxurious sauce.
It’s worth mentioning again, taste test for salt levels, adjusting those and/or the parmesan or olive oil as desired. If you want a smoother sauce, pulse in more olive oil. You can also up the amount of mint in the recipe for a more vibrant mint flavor as desired. Really, at this point, you can absolutely play around with it and make it what you want!
WAYS TO USE PESTO
Oh, let me count the ways I love to use pesto! The beauty of basil mint pesto is that it can easily be substituted in recipes that call for a traditional pesto.
Of course, one simply magical way to use pesto is to use it in pasta.
- Like this Salmon Pesto Pasta with Corn
- Toss it with gnocchi
- Use it in pasta salad with veggies and cheese
There are also endless ways to use it as an appetizer.
- Make a creamy baked cheese dip with pesto and sun-dried tomatoes (MY FAV)
- Layer it with roasted tomato jam and burrata cheese
- Add it to a cheese board, dip baguette slices in it, or spread it on crackers
- Add it to bruschetta or make a caprese salad with pesto
Of course, I love pesto on summer flatbreads.
- Mediterranean Flatbread Pizza has all the flavors and pairs wonderfully with basil mint pesto!
- This fresh, sweet, and savory Grilled Peach, Pesto, and Burrata Flatbread
- When summer produce is a plenty, make this Grilled Corn, Burrata, and Pesto Flatbread
- Easy Bruschetta and Burrata Flatbread has all the classic tomato and basil flavor combos
- And you know it’d be amazing drizzled on top of a margherita flatbread
You can literally do anything with this pesto recipe. Drizzle it on top of roasted veggies, bake it into a quiche, spread it on top of pan-seared fish or a protein of choice, or add it to a sandwich for a burst of flavor. There are endless possibilities and I can’t wait to hear how you enjoy it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can, with some warning. Pesto will oxidize as it sits, so if making it ahead of time cover with a thin layer of olive oil or plastic wrap to help slow down this process.
Store pesto in an airtight container, preferably a jar its size to prevent oxidation. Add a thin layer of olive oil on top or layer plastic wrap pressed against the top for best results. It will keep in the fridge for about 5 days (if it lasts that long!).
Yes, you can! I like to freeze pesto in a Souper Cube tray or an ice cube tray to make it easy to use when I need some. If you’re worried about the cheese and freezing, you can make the pesto without the cheese and add it in once you’ve thawed the pesto and are ready to use it.
Basil Mint Pesto
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 3-5 garlic cloves
- 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves tightly packed
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves tightly packed
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese freshly grated
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Fine sea salt to taste, approximately 1/2 tsp
- Optional: Toast the walnuts. Layer the walnuts in a small skillet over low to medium heat. Toast walnuts for 3-5 minutes, just until fragrant. Be careful not to burn them, or they'll be no good.
- In a food processor, add basil, mint, garlic, parmesan, and walnuts. Pulse several times until a finely chopped mixture forms.
- While the food processor is running, begin drizzling in the olive oil until the sauce is fully combined. Add additional olive oil if needed for desired consistency. Taste test for preferred salt level, adding more as needed.
- Pesto is ready to use immediately, otherwise, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You may want to cover with a thin layer of olive oil or plastic wrap to prevent oxidation.
By the Way…
This recipe is part of our collection of savory homemade sauce recipes. Check it out!