I will never get tired of pesto. It’s the perfect pasta topping, sandwich spread, pizza topping, and veggie dip. But I like to mix it up from time to time, and not just make straight basil pesto. Which is why I’m now eating noodles covered in vegan mint basil pesto.Jump to Recipe
Mint is having quite a moment in the garden right now, as is the basil.
As a person who could eat herbs instead of lettuce in a salad, this is fantastic news. Mint limeade? Mojitos? Fresh basil on pizza? All good things.
Herbs can really transform a dish. Can you imagine if you made pesto from lettuce or kale? Yeah, no thanks. I’ve been playing around with different herb combinations of herbs recently, which has been delicious. Herbs make food so bright and cheerful! They can really change the personality of a dish, which makes me happy.
I was inspired by my love of pasta and Vietnamese food when creating this recipe. I’m always happy to eat a large bowl of noodles, and I’m often thinking about new saucy things to cover them with. I also a huge fan of the pile of herbs I get with soups and noodle dishes at Vietnamese restaurants, basil and mint being two of my favorites.
I used Italian basil for this recipe, but you could also use Thai basil, for a slightly different experience!
Making the Minty Basil Pesto
I used a food processor to make this recipe, but you could also use a blender.
If you don’t have either, you can still make pesto! It takes way more human powered energy, but people have been making pesto without high speed blade technology for years! When I was in college and had no blender and no money to spare, I would chop the herbs, garlic, and nuts until they were just the tiniest little specks. It took about 45 minutes. Then mix in a bowl with olive oil and toss into the pasta. Then I was gifted a giant mortar and pestle, and would pound the garlic, chopped herbs, and chopped nuts, with olive oil. I remember this pesto tasting better than any pesto I’ve made in my food processor. Although this might be because things you reeeeeally work for sometimes taste sweeter.
Moving on with modern technology
If you’re not using a high-powered food processor or blender (such as a Vitamix) you will probably need to soak your cashews. I’ve found that if you pour boiling water over the cashews, they really just need five minutes to soak, and then you can drain them. But everyone’s blender is different, so if you’ve needed to soak your cashews for other recipes, go forth with the soaking!
Add ½ c cashews, ¼ c olive oil, and 4 cloves of garlic to the food processor. Pulse until the cashews are a fine, mealy mixture. Add 1 c basil leaves, 1 c mint leaves, ½ avocado, and 2 tsp salt, and leave the food processor on until it’s that smooth, pesto constancy. If it seems like it’s having a difficult time combining, add some more olive oil, one tbs at a time. Add salt and pepper to taste.
This pesto freezes well! So if you are not planning on eating it right away, I recommend popping it in the freezer. Freezing it will preserve its bright green color, which you will lose after a day or two in the fridge.
Now you can cover your noodles or your breads or whatever you want with herby goodness!
Minty Basil Pesto
- Food processor or high speed blender recommended
- ½ cup cashews soaked in boiling water for five minutes if not using a high speed blender or food processor
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 cup fresh basil
- 1 cup fresh mint
- ½ avocado
- 2 tsp salt
- Cover the cashews with boiling water and soak for five minutes if you are not using a high speed blender or food processor.
- Add cashews, olive oil, and garlic to a food processor. Pulse until cashews are a fine, mealy texture.
- Add the basil, mint, avocado, and salt. Mix in food processor until the pesto is smooth and creamy. If your pesto is having a difficult time blending together, add a little bit more oil, 1 tbs at a time.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Use immediately or freeze. Freezing is the best way to preserve it's brilliant color!