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Mint walnut pesto for grilled vegetables or pasta

Mint walnut pesto makes a great topping for grilled zucchini, or pasta, or slathered on a sandwich.

My friend Sarah has the greenest thumb of anyone I have ever known. On a small plot of land in the local community garden, she grows a lush variety of flowers, herbs and vegetables. Recently a big bunch of her mint, newly trimmed, found its way to my kitchen -- thank you, thank you -- so much, so fragrant, that I wanted to keep it forever. Well, not forever, but for the summer, and I think I found a way.

In the freezer, I found a bag of chopped walnut pieces, intended for baking in cookies. Into the food processor went the large bunch of mint leaves, plus walnuts and a few more things from the pantry. Voila! A mild-tasting, yet garlicky, pesto that's perfect on grilled vegetables or pasta, or on caprese salads or panini sandwiches. If you think you don't like the flavor of mint, believe me when I tell you this tastes nothing like peppermint toothpaste. The mint flavor is subtle and light. The pesto will hold for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator, or for several months in the freezer (be sure to label the container, because all pestos look the same). Stock up on homemade pesto during the summer, and enjoy it all winter long.

It takes just minutes to make this mint walnut pesto, and you can keep it in the freezer for months.

Mint walnut pesto for grilled vegetables or pasta {vegan, gluten-free}

From the pantry, you'll need: garlic, lemon, walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, fresh black pepper.

Makes 1 cup; can be multiplied.


2 cups mint leaves, washed and dried
2 cloves garlic
Zest of 1 lemon
Scant 1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1/4 tsp each: kosher salt and fresh black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


In the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, add the mint, garlic, lemon, walnuts, salt and pepper. Process to a smooth paste.

With the machine running, slowly dribble in the olive oil in a steady stream, until it is all incorporated with the mint.

Transfer to a container with an airtight lid, and store in the refrigerator or freezer.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More pesto:
Penne with roasted red pepper pesto, from The Perfect Pantry
Spicy pesto soba with chicken and snow peas, from The Perfect Pantry
Cilantro pesto, from Simply Recipes
Kale and basil pesto with lemon and parmesan, from Kalyn's Kitchen

Mint walnut pesto makes a great topping for grilled vegetables or pasta, or slathered on sandwiches.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


I love the sound of this! I have three relatively healthy mint plants in my windowsill that might get transplanted to pots outside soon, so I need to try it. And I always love fresh mint in the summer; so fresh tasting!

Kalyn, I do miss my herb garden, and I'm grateful for friends who share their mint. This pesto makes such a nice change from basil pesto.

I'm leaving this photo up on the screen. Maybe it will inspire my outdoor pot of mint to grow enough for a pesto splurge?

Susan, if only this blog could inspire your garden to grow! I'm going to work on that!!

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