Summer Sunday Pesto made with Mint, Basil & Parsley

Summer weekends at the cottage, the need to get back to the city leaves no time for a proper supper on Sunday, so I try to make a nice mid-afternoon lunch. Warm weather demands that the meal feel light, but it must be substantial enough to hold us through the long ride home (allowing, of course, for a stop for ice cream along the way). Leftovers from Saturday night’s dinner help round out the meal and keep the trunk empty going home.

I love setting the table for lunch at the cottage – something we rarely, if ever, do at home for lunch. Gathering around the table gives us a chance to sit with friends to talk or play one last game of scrabble. Sometimes, we’ll take a picnic to the lake instead if that’s where we decide to spend those last precious hours.

This past weekend, I wanted to use the basil and parsley growing in the herb garden, but traditional pesto seemed too heavy tasting for a hot summer afternoon. Lemon and mint came to mind, and luckily, I had both leftover from dinner the night before. The combo got rave reviews, and made for a great flavor for serving room temperature pasta at a lakeside picnic.

I’m looking for ways to use the remaining two cups of this minty pesto that I’ve stored in the freezer. Any ideas?

Summer Sunday Pesto made with Mint, Basil & Parsley

I decided to toast the pine nuts and garlic slightly for a more mellow flavor, although I think this pesto would have just tasted just fine if both were used raw. This recipe makes about 3 cups pesto – use one cup for the penne and freeze the rest.  Serve the pasta with sliced tomato and mozarella on the side, and tall glasses of iced seltzer with a splash of lemonade and a sprig of mint.  

  • 1- 1 lb box penne pasta
  • 2 cups lightly packed basil leaves
  • 2 cups lightly packed flat leaf Italian parsley
  • 2 cups lightly packed mint leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed whole
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt to taste

Put a large pot of lightly salted water to boil.

Toast the pine nuts and garlic over medium-low heat in a large skillet, shaking frequently to toast lightly and evenly.  Cool. Put basil, parsley and mint leaves into bowl of food processor, along with garlic and pine nuts, and pulse till combined. (You may have to stop and scrape down the sides a few times.) Continue processing till fine, adding oil and then lemon juice through feeding tube. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the pesto into a large bowl. Fold in the cheeses. Salt to taste. Remove two cups of pesto for freezing, leaving about a cup of pesto in the bowl.

Cook the penne till al dente. Drain and add to the remaining one cup of pesto in the bowl. Toss to coat. Let cool and serving a bit later at room temp.


I’m submitting this post to Weekend Herb Blogging, a long running weekly carnival of recipes using fresh herbs and plants, hosted this week at  Almond Corner.

4 Responses to Summer Sunday Pesto made with Mint, Basil & Parsley

  1. I am so going to make this on the weekend…Visiting vegetarian girlfriend alert! Thank you! You always save the day for me, one way or another…As for more: And why not grill or oven toast some thinly sliced baguette, spread this on, and top with some toasted pine nuts? Or grill lamb chops with it? Or turkey burgers? Or, with pasta again, but add pine nuts and peas (I just used frozen baby peas and toss in the water at the last minute for this kind of thing)?

  2. I agree with the pesto on toasted bread. It’s also good on other things that taste mild besides pasta–white beans, tofu, and mozzarella cubes for a bread salad.

  3. Great recipe! I often tweak my pesto recipes and the lemon mint parsley is a great one! We have an abundance of basil so feel free to raid our garden next time you’re in the “Mere”!

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