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Homegrown Garden Mint Recipes

Photo 1 - Mint

Mint is a surprisingly versatile herb, but for some reason, I’ve found that many people only consider mint as a garnish or as an addition to dessert recipes — Of course, mint when paired with chocolate is simply divine (Oh, how I love mint chocolate ice cream!). However, low and behold, there are many other uses for mint, including an array of delicious, and might I say beautifully simple savory dishes.

Perfect in soups, salads, drinks, and sauces to accompany meat or pasta, the options are endless — have you ever tried braised lamb with a side of mint sauce? It’s sublime.

Because mint is such a prolific plant, and can (and does) take over your garden in a blink of an eye, it’s great to know that we can put much of it to use in our kitchen, because, as anyone who’s grown mint will tell you, there’s always bountiful amounts of this fragrant herb to go around.

With hundreds of species available, mint can come in a dizzying array of flavors. From hints of chocolate to fruity undertones such as lemon, grapefruit, strawberry, and even banana, to more traditional crisp notes found in Moroccan mint and peppermint, the options are all there for your taste perusal.

This leads me to some exciting mint-infused recipes that I’d like to share since they’re not only ridiculously simple but are also delicious.

Let’s start with my top three suggestions, which are sure to please:

Watermelon, Feta, and Mint Salad

Photo 2 - Watermelon Salad

Having discovered this recipe a few years back at a friend’s party, I simply cannot get enough of it (nor can my family). And, as I’ve discovered, it’s quite a popular side dish ranging across several Mediterranean countries, from Greece to Egypt, and elsewhere.

With a surprising pairing of watermelon, feta, and mint, this salad certainly sounds strange, but trust me, it’s delicious, and is the answer to a hot summer’s day!

A light and delightfully juicy summer salad, these ingredients tie perfectly together for a sweet, yet slightly salty flavor with a zap of mint for freshness, and makes for a great addition to any picnic or potluck.

For this recipe, you’ll want to pluck some fresh mint from your garden, and if you’re lucky enough to have grown cucumbers and/or watermelon, now’s the time to put them to use as well.

Ingredients:

Salad —

  • ½ a watermelon (medium-sized)
  • 1 cucumber
  • ¼ cup fresh mint
  • ¼ cup feta cheese

Dressing —

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch fo black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons light olive oil
Directions:
  1. Cut watermelon into bite-sized cubes
  2. Dice cucumber into small pieces
  3. Finely chop mint leaves
  4. Combine into a large bowl
  5. Crumble feta cheese into the mixture
  6. Gently toss together and set aside
  7. In a second, small bowl, squeeze the juice of one lime
  8. Add in salt and pepper to taste
  9. Whisk in the olive oil
  10. Pour over chopped salad and toss lightly
  11. Enjoy freshly prepared!

Rotini Pasta with Mint, Peas, and Lemon

Photo 3 - Mint Pasta

Having had the opportunity to visit Italy, I can’t stop raving about the food. And, years later, I find that I’m still trying to emulate those simple, yet satisfying pairings of ingredients that make Italian food so incredible.

And, after exploring a variety of recipes, my conclusion is that the secret to a good pasta meal is to keep it basic — Which leads me to our next dish.

Not only is this dish a family favorite, but it checks all the boxes — simple to make, wonderfully flavorful, and authentically Italian! Of course, like most pasta recipes, there are many varieties out there, some which include onion, others which include asparagus, and so forth, so test and discover to your liking. For me, however, simplicity takes the cake — especially on those frantic Mondays (or worse, Tuesdays), when everything seems to go sideways, and making dinner is sometimes a dreaded chore.

For this recipe, you’ll again want to grab a handful of fresh mint from your garden, and either fresh or frozen peas (either work well).

Ingredients:

(makes 3 servings. If you want more, you’ll want to double the recipe)

  • 3 cups of Rotini pasta (or whatever pasta you like)
  • ¼ cup of fresh mint
  • 1 cup of peas
  • ⅓ cup of sliced almonds (or pine nuts)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ⅓ cup of parmesan cheese (or, to your liking)
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch fo black pepper
  • Butter
Directions:
  1. Bring well-salted water with a liberal dash of olive oil to a rolling boil.
  2. Add Fusilli (or other pasta), and cook on high for 8-10 minutes until Al-dente* (read the timing instructions on the box depending on the pasta you’re using).
  3. Finely chop garlic and fry in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a dab of butter until golden.
  4. Add in the peas and fry until the color “pops” (don’t overcook).
  5. Add the chopped mint and nuts to the pan and lightly fry for a few moments longer.
  6. Drain pasta (but don’t rinse since it’ll take away the starchy coating that will make the ingredients stick to the noodles).
  7. Drizzle fusilli with 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
  8. Squeeze the juice of one lemon over pasta
  9. Add grated parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Toss together with the garlic, pea, mint, and nut mixture.
  11. Serve hot with a pairing of your favorite white wine**

*Please, for the love of humanity, don’t overcook your pasta.
** The wine’s optional, but highly suggested!

Pearl Couscous Salad with Mint

Photo 4 - Couscous Salad

Colorful and pleasingly texturized, this salad makes for a perfect (and healthy) lunch option that can be made in advance with little effort, and will keep you feeling satisfied and full of energy.

Not only does this salad look divine, but it tastes divine as well. I just love how the couscous perfectly works with the sweet and chewy dried cranberries, crunchy cashews, and refreshingly crisp notes of mint and lemon, along with the juiciness of ripe tomato and cucumber — all for a perfectly balanced dish!

Having come upon Pearl Couscous, I simply can’t get enough of the stuff and would suggest using it for this recipe. However, you can also substitute this for your standard couscous mix. The results will be equally satisfying.

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups Pearl Couscous
  • ¼ cup fresh mint
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 cups of cherry tomatoes (or 1 large tomato)
  • ½ cup of cashews (or almonds)
  • ½ cup of dried cranberries
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • ¼ cup light olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ⅓ cup of Goat cheese
Directions:
  1. Bring 3 cups of salted water to a boil.
  2. Add in pearl couscous along with a dollop of butter and bring back to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes (ensure you stir occasionally to prevent sticking).
  4. Once water is fully absorbed, fluff with a fork.
  5. Pour olive oil and lemon juice over couscous.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Cool in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.
  8. In a large bowl, combine halved cherry tomatoes and diced cucumbers, cranberries, nuts and minced mint.
  9. Once cooled, add couscous to the mixture.
  10. Add in goat cheese and toss gently.
  11. Serve chilled.

Mint is not only ridiculously easy to grow but also happens to be a fabulous addition to many meals — which is good news considering this hardy plant grows at an incredible rate (if you’ve ever grown mint, you know what I mean).

If you want to enjoy mint in a delicious drink, check out Veronica’s Morning Mint Vitality Drink which will energize and invigorate your mornings!

Considering all the fantastic recipes that you can indulge in, why not put all this mint to use?! After all, with such a variety of flavor, there’s no doubt that you’ll find inspirational uses for it within your kitchen.

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