Minty Spring Pesto

It’s finally spring!!

I’ve waited months to write that last sentence. Here, in the Northeast, we faced the longest, coldest, snowiest winter, one that felt like it would never end. Then, just when we all packed away our puffy down coats at the end of March, Mother Nature slammed us with one final snow storm. She’s temperamental, that one. 

However, this weekend proved that spring is officially here, for real this time. Jay popped the top off our Jeep. I wore boat shoes without socks. We both ordered iced coffees in the mornings and slept with the windows open in our bedroom at night.

This time of year signals my annual spring cleaning spree. As strange as it sounds, I enjoy the act of cleaning our home (there’s something about freshly washed and steamed curtains that just does it for me). It feels like an opportunity for a fresh start, a chance to reorganize our lives, a welcome chance for a clean slate.

While spring cleaning usually gets pretty good coverage in magazines throughout the spring, the focus is typically on purging drawers and collecting dust bunnies. However, around here, our kitchen undergoes a pretty good cleanse too. In recent weeks, we’ve given our pantry a thorough overhaul, finally tossing all the sugars and tiny wrapped candies leftover from the winter months and replacing them with more whole foods that better complement all the beautiful spring produce that has begun to pop up at our local market. 

As a final nod to that, I’ve been clearing out our freezer to make space for all the veggies from our home garden that I plan to freeze during this upcoming summer. While doing so, I’ve found several gallon-sized plastic bags filled with fresh herbs from last year’s garden, still hanging out behind some ice cube trays.

This Minty Spring Pesto is a perfect way to use up the last of those herbs, or any stray herbs hanging out in the back of the fridge or freezer, or those that are overgrown in your herb garden. I’ve tossed this pesto with baked tofu, spread it across roasted vegetables, mixed it with quinoa and whole wheat pasta and drizzled it across quickly tossed together afternoon salads. If, like me, you plan to eat the pesto raw, I recommend you use decent quality olive oil. Other than that, there really are no rules. Mixing assorted herbs is encouraged. So is eating the pesto straight from the jar. When kept covered and refrigerated, it will last you a good two weeks. Ours, however, made it about a day and a half. 

 I hope you’ll enjoy keeping a jar of this on hand throughout the spring to add a little something special to all your recipes. 

P.S. – You might have noticed that this site was also the target of my spring cleaning spree. I hope you’ll like the updates. Please let me know what you think.  

Minty Spring Pesto

from Eating Well

  • 1/4 cup whole almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups packed basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup packed mint leaves  
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, quartered
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the almonds in an even layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 8-10 minutes, being sure to stir the nuts mid-way through. Add the almonds, basil leaves, mint leaves, lemon zest, lemon juice and garlic clove to a food processor or Vitamix and blend until the ingredients are chopped. With the machine turned on low, drizzle in the olive oil and process until the pesto is smooth. If desired, lightly season the pesto with sea salt.