Mint Pesto

Mint Pesto with Walnuts

This Mint Pesto is made with fresh mint, roasted walnuts, garlic and parmesan cheese blended together with olive oil. It takes ten minutes to make and all you need to do is stir it into a bowl of cooked pasta for an quick and easy supper.

I love traditional pesto made with basil. Once or twice each summer, I will buy a bunch of fresh basil and make it from scratch at home. I also often buy the ready-made pesto that you can find in chiller cabinets at the supermarket. My inspiration to make Mint Pesto was simply that I have a huge amount of mint growing in my garden. Each year, my patch of mint seems to get larger and I struggle to find culinary uses for it.

Mint and Walnut Pesto

What you need to know about Mint Pesto

  • It is not too strongly minty. Before I tried making pesto with mint, I was concerned that it might taste too strongly minty. However, the mint is balanced by other strong flavours – garlic and parmesan – so it actually has quite a delicate flavour.
  • I use walnuts, rather than the pine-nuts which are used in traditional pesto, in this recipe. I think the flavour of walnuts goes particularly well with mint. However, if you prefer, you can use pine-nuts or hazelnuts instead of walnuts.
  • Whatever kind of nuts you use, it is really important to dry fry them (step 1) as this really brings out their nutty flavour. Simply put the nuts in a frying pan, with no oil, and heat gently for about five minutes. Stir occasionally to turn the nuts and keep an eye on them to make sure that they do not burn.
  • When you are making this recipe, it really helps with the blending (step 3) if you crush or chop the ingredients roughly before you put them into the food processor.
  • It is very easy to increase (or decrease) this recipe depending on the number of people you have to feed. My recipe serves four people but you can halve it to serve two or quarter it to serve one.
  • If you have any left over Mint Pesto, you can keep it in a covered bowl in the fridge for up to five days. The bright green colour will become dull if the pesto is kept in the fridge. You can add a squeeze of lemon juice or pour a thin layer of olive oil over the top of the pesto to prevent this. This pesto also freezes well so you can make a big batch if you come across a lot of fresh mint.
How to use Mint Pesto

You can use Mint Pesto in all the ways that you can use pesto made with basil. I think it is great just stirred into cooked pasta. However, there are various additions that you can try.

  • You can add some green vegetables to the dish. I think peas and broad beans go particularly well with the delicate mint flavour of the pesto. However, runner or french beans are also a good option. Five minutes before your pasta is cooked, add 200 g of the vegetables to the pan. Drain and then stir in the pesto.
  • Adding some extra walnuts gives extra texture and flavour. When you dry fry the walnuts (step 1) add an extra 100 g (4 oz). Set these aside and roughly chop them. Add to the drained and pesto-coated pasta.
  • If you are not a vegetarian, you could stir in some pieces of chopped cooked ham or crispy bacon to the drained and pesto-coated pasta.
  • Another good addition is to stir in some pieces of soft white cheese to the warm pesto-coated pasta. They will melt slightly and boost both the flavour and “mouth feel” of the finished dish. You could use feta, which gives a hit of salty flavour, or mozarella which will add some extra creamy deliciousness.
Other simple pasta suppers

This recipe for Mint Pesto is a great week-night supper option. It is easy, tasty and uncomplicated and can be made in ten minutes. Here are some of my other simple pasta supper recipes.

  • Basic Tomato Sauce – this is an easy recipe for a rich sauce using store-cupboard ingredients. Delicious stirred into pasta as it is and open to lots of variations and additions!
  • Creamy Mushroom Pasta – this is simple vegetarian sauce combines mushrooms and chestnuts and lots of garlic. It can be used with any kind of pasta but I prefer it with short pasta such as gigli or penne.
  • Spaghetti with Smoked Salmon – this simple recipe can be made in 15 minutes. Smoked salmon trimmings are combined with fennel and chives and a squeeze of lemon.
  • Prawn Pasta with Herb Butter – this is another super-simple and super-quick recipe which can be adapted according to the herbs that you happen to have available.
  • Macaroni Cheese – this is a brilliant make-ahead vegetarian recipe which has a secret layer of caramelised onions and a bit of cayenne to balance its rich cheesiness. Topped with a layer of crisp breadcrumbs it is perfect served with a simple green salad.

Loved this recipe? Checkout the Recipe Index.

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Mint and Walnut Pesto

Mint Pesto with Walnuts

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Total Time: 10
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x
  • Category: Sauce
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This quick and easy pesto uses fresh mint combined with toasted walnuts, garlic, parmesan and olive oil.   Stirred into cooked pasta, it is the perfect no-fuss vegetarian supper.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 100 g  (4 oz) walnut halves
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 100 g (4 oz) parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 50 g (2 oz) fresh mint leaves (roughly chopped)
  • 10 tablespoons oil (I use 5 extra virgin olive oil and 5 rapeseed oil)
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Put the walnuts in a frying pan and dry fry for around five minutes until toasted.
  2. Put the walnuts in a food processor or blender and add the crushed garlic, grated parmesan cheese and chopped mint leaves. 
  3. Add the oil and blend until you get a rough paste.
  4. Add salt to taste

Keywords: mint, pesto, sauce

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with Lost in Food and #Fiesta Friday with Fiesta Friday and  Laurena @ Life Diet Health

Loved this recipe? Checkout the Recipe Index.

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Creamy Mushroom Pasta

Creamy Mushroom Pasta with Chestnuts – the perfect week-night supper

This Creamy Mushroom Pasta, with sweet chestnuts and caramelised onions, is just what I want at the end of a busy working day. It is savoury, full of flavour and, even better, is quick and easy to make and the sauce can also be made in advance.

Mushrooms and sweet chestnuts are great flavour partners and are two of my favourite ingredients. The savouriness of this dish is enhanced by using both fresh and dried mushrooms. You can use any type of dried mushroom in this recipe – most of the supermarkets sell a range including porcini, shitake and mixed. They add a real depth of almost meaty flavour to recipes that do not contain any meat! Ready-to-eat sweet chestnuts are also available widely in supermarkets. They are inevitably associated with Christmas but I use them all the year round. They have a sweetness and also a soft but firm texture that is fantastic in all kinds of savoury dishes.

Due to its deep savouriness, this dish is a great one to serve to meat-eaters. In addition to its flavour, it also has a good range of textures and a good “mouth feel” which means the lack of meat is not likely to be noticed! There are several variations that you can make to this recipe depending on your dietary preferences.

  • Vegetarian – I include anchovies in my recipe but, if you are vegetarian, you can leave them out. You may just need to add a little additional salt to the sauce.
  • Vegan – You can replace the butter with an additional tablespoon of oil, omit the anchovies and the cream. In order to make the sauce creamy, crush one third of the chestnuts into a paste and stir this into the sauce.
  • Healthier – Replace the butter with an additional tablespoon of oil and omit the cream. As above, crush one third of the chestnuts into a paste and stir this into the sauce.

You can use any kind of pasta to make Creamy Mushroom Pasta. I generally use a shorter pasta such as gigli (I love gigli!) or penne but I’ve made it with pretty much every type of pasta depending on what I have in my cupboard at the time.

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Creamy Mushroom Pasta

Creamy Mushroom Pasta with Chestnuts

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Pasta

Description

This Creamy Mushroom Pasta with Chestnuts is the perfect week-night supper.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 25 g butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 onions
  • a handful of dried mushrooms (any kind)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tin of anchovies (optional)
  • 485 g fresh mushrooms 
  • 180 g pack of peeled chestnuts
  • 2 tablespoons of double cream
  • Fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 350 g pasta

Creamy Mushroom Pasta


Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large frying pan.
  2. Peel and finely chop the onions and add them to the pan.  Crumble the dried mushrooms and add to the pan.  Cook over a low heat for around 15 minutes until the onions are sweet and caramelised and the dried mushrooms have softened.
  3. Peel and crush the cloves of garlic and roughly chop the anchovies. Add to the pan.
  4.  Finely chop half of the fresh mushrooms and slice the other half.  This gives some variety in texture to the pasta sauce.   Add the fresh mushrooms to the pan.
  5. Cook for ten minutes until the fresh mushrooms are cooked through.
  6. Roughly chop the peeled chestnuts into large chunks and add them to the pan.   
  7. Stir in the double cream and heat for a few minutes until the sauce thickens slightly.  Chop the parsley and stir into the sauce.   Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper as required.  You may not need to add salt as the anchovies will add saltiness to the mixture.
  8. In a separate pan, heat water to boiling point, add the pasta and cook according to instructions on the packet.  When done, drain and stir in the mushroom and chestnut sauce.

 

Creamy Mushroom Pasta


Notes

If you want to make this a vegetarian recipe, you can omit the anchovies.  Just make sure that you add a little salt to the sauce to compensate for the loss of their saltiness.

If you want to make this a vegan recipe, you can replace the butter with an additional tablespoon of oil, omit the anchovies and the cream. In order to make the sauce creamy, crush one third of the chestnuts into a paste and stir this into the sauce. 

If you want to make this a healthier recipe, replace the butter with an additional tablespoon of oil and omit the cream. As above, crush one third of the chestnuts into a paste and stir this into the sauce.

Keywords: pasta, mushroom, chestnut

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare at Recipes Made Easy
Cook Blog Share

Loved this recipe? You may also like the following recipes. Or checkout the Recipe Index.

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Spaghetti with Smoked Salmon, Herb Fennel and Chives

Spaghetti with smoked salmon
Smoked salmon, herb fennel and chives

Spaghetti with Smoked Salmon, Herb Fennel and Chives

Spaghetti with Smoked Salmon, Herb Fennel and Chives is probably the  quickest and easiest pasta dish.   It is done in the time that it takes to cook the pasta – which is usually around 10 to 15 minutes – and only needs a single saucepan.   It is also extremely tasty with the cream absorbing the savoury, salty smoked salmon flavour and allowing it to permeate the whole dish.   Although smoked salmon is often considered a luxury food, and can be expensive,  a little goes a long way and it is fine to use smoked salmon trimmings which are sold in most supermarkets and are a lot more affordable.

The use of fresh herbs to enhance dishes and the ease with which this can be done – you just chop them up and add them at the end of cooking – is highlighted in this dish.   I have referred to Herb Fennel, to differentiate it from the bulb fennel, often used in Italian cooking.  Both the Herb and bulb fennel share an aniseed taste.  Therefore, if you do not have Herb Fennel, dill is a good substitute.

My daughter, who is a pescatarian and therefore eats fish but not meat, describes this pasta sauce as being like spaghetti carbonara for non-meat eaters.  I think she is right – there is definitely an echo in this dish of the creamy, salty taste created by pancetta and eggs in a carbonara.

Uses

I often make this dish as a quick family supper but, as the smoked salmon makes it seem luxurious, it is also a really good easy option for a dinner party or for a date night!    It would certainly be a good choice for a romantic meal as it is so quick and tasty and is easy for those with little cooking experience to prepare (and, unusually for my pasta recipes, it does not include garlic!)

 

Spaghetti with smoked salmon
Smoked salmon, herb fennel and chives

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Smoked salmon, fennel and chives

Spaghetti with Smoked Salmon, Herb Fennel and Chives

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: for 4 people 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This quick and easy pasta dish combines delicious smoked salmon with fennel and lemon.   It takes a matter of minutes to prepare and is perfect for supper after a long day at work.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 500 g dried spaghetti
  • Salt
  • 100 g smoked salmon (smoked salmon trimmings are fine)
  • 2 fronds of herb fennel (or dill)
  • Bunch of chives (about 6 stems)
  • 150 ml double cream
  • A knob of butter
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • Black pepper

Instructions

  1. Fill the large saucepan with water and bring to the boil.   When boiling, add a pinch of salt, put the spaghetti in the saucepan and cook according to instructions (generally this will be for around 10 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, cut the smoked salmon into small pieces and finely chop the herb fennel and chives.
  3. When the spaghetti is cooked, drain it and return it to the saucepan.  Stir in the smoked salmon pieces, chopped herbs, double cream and knob of butter.   Grate a little lemon zest over the pasta – the amount will depend on how lemony you like your pasta.   Season with black pepper.  There is no need to add any extra salt as the smoked salmon will be very salty.
  4. Remove the pasta from the pan and serve.

Keywords: smoked salmon, pasta, chives, fennel

Spaghetti with smoked salmon
Mix the sauce with the spaghetti

Loved this recipe?  You may like

Prawn Pasta with Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter

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Prawn Pasta with Sorrel and Chive Butter

Prawn Pasta with Sorrel and Chive Butter

This Prawn Pasta with Sorrel and Chive Butter is an easy and adaptable supper recipe. When fresh sorrel is in season, I make it with my Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter but at other times of the year I either use other herb butters or just regular salted butter. Whatever type of butter you choose, it is a very quick, crowd-pleasing recipe which is good for a week-night supper but is also not out of place if you are entertaining.

Things you need to know about this Prawn Pasta recipe
  • It is really important to allow time for the fennel and onion to cook slowly and become soft and caramelised (step 1) as this makes a big difference to the taste of the finished dish.
  • I think my Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter works well with the flavours of the fennel and the prawns. It has a lemony taste which enhances both ingredients. However, if you can use other herb flavoured butter or just plain butter if you prefer.
  • You can use any kind of pasta for this dish. I suggest using long pasta, such as spaghetti, linguine or tagliatelle as I think this works best wish the buttery sauce. However, if you prefer shorter pasta such as penne, that also works well.

Loved this recipe? Check out the Recipe Index

Other simple pasta suppers

This recipe for Prawn Pasta is a great week-night supper option. It is easy, tasty and uncomplicated and can be made in ten minutes. Here are some of my other simple pasta supper recipes.

  • Basic Tomato Sauce – this is an easy recipe for a rich sauce using store-cupboard ingredients. Delicious stirred into pasta as it is and open to lots of variations and additions!
  • Creamy Mushroom Pasta – this is simple vegetarian sauce combines mushrooms and chestnuts and lots of garlic. It can be used with any kind of pasta but I prefer it with short pasta such as gigli or penne.
  • Spaghetti with Smoked Salmon – this simple recipe can be made in 15 minutes. Smoked salmon trimmings are combined with fennel and chives and a squeeze of lemon.
  • Macaroni Cheese – this is a brilliant make-ahead vegetarian recipe which has a secret layer of caramelised onions and a bit of cayenne to balance its rich cheesiness. Topped with a layer of crisp breadcrumbs it is perfect served with a simple green salad.

Recipe for Prawn Pasta with Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter

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Sorrel and Chive Butter

Prawn Pasta with Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: for 4 people 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Cuisine: English

Description

Prawn Pasta with Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter is an easy and tasty supper dish.


Scale

Ingredients

  • Half bulb of fennel
  • 1 onion
  • 25 g  (1 oz) butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 clove garlic (optional – there is garlic in the Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter)
  • 165 g (6 oz) peeled raw prawns 
  • 1 portion of Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter
  • 350 g (12 oz) dried long pasta (eg spaghetti, linguine or tagliatelle)

Instructions

  1. Melt the 25 g butter in your frying pan over a low heat.  Finely chop the fennel and onion and add to the pan.  Season with salt and pepper and cook slowly for around 15 minutes until soft and sweet.  Either chop the garlic clove finely or squeeze through a garlic press and add to the mixture and cook for a further couple of minutes.  
  2. Add the raw prawns, and the tiger prawns if you are using them,  to the pan  and fry for around five minutes until pink and cooked.
  3. Meanwhile, boil water in a big saucepan, add salt to taste, and cook your pasta as specified on the packet.  This would usually be for around 10 minutes.
  4. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the frying pan with the fennel, onion and prawns.  (It is always best to add the pasta to the sauce rather than the other way around as this makes sure that the balance of pasta to sauce is as you like it.).
  5. Add your Sorrel and Chive Herb Butter to the frying pan, let it melt into the pasta and prawn mixture and serve.

 


Keywords: prawn, sorrel, pasta

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