The arrival of spring is somewhat bittersweet for me; my excitement for the blooming season is always tempered by the return of pollen, which means allergies for me.
I’ve been thinking about lighter meals that is in tune with the season, and this mint and basil pesto is it; zesty and tasty – in a word, perfect. It’s simple and soothing for wretched days ahead.
I make this pesto usually from mint and basil leftover from other recipes, they make an exceptional pair; aromatic, stimulating, and not too overpowering. It has a little bit of heat from red pepper flakes because I like heat in my pesto; it’s probably an African thing
It’s not for just tossing with pasta, it’s delectable mixed with rice or tossed with roasted vegetables and salads. It enhances the flavour of soups, I slather it in sandwiches and flatbreads.
Mint and Basil Pesto
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves, packed
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup olive oil
- Combine mint, basil sunflower seeds and garlic in a food processor and pulse until you get a rough paste
- Add the red pepper flakes, lemon juice and zest, and salt; give it a few pulses to mix
- Gradually add a stream olive oil while the food processor runs, add enough oil to achive your desired consistency
- Alternatively, half the oil and replace the other half with warm almond or coconut milk (or water)
- Use immediately, tossed with your favourite pasta, or keep in an airtight jar or container covered in a thin layer of olive oil