Recipe of the Week: Mint and Basil Pesto Sauce

Photo by Brogan Wu

My boyfriend’s favorite dinner of all time would probably be lamb chops. He’s happy with a good grilled cheese, casserole, or chicken dish any night of the week, but if it’s a special occasion I know that lamb is what he really wants.

I like lamb, I do, but its not going to be my first pick if I see it on a menu. However, it is no secret that I love pasta. I mean, obviously, what’s not to love? Carbs covered in butter or sauce just speaks to me. So my favorite compromise on Valentine's Day or an anniversary is that I make the lamb chops, but we’re having them with pasta (sorry mashed potatoes).

This mint basil pesto can really be used in a million ways. It’s great with lamb, or in this specific case, on fettuccine that is served with lamb, but it's not limited solely to this use. It’s great with grilled shrimp, as a sandwich spread, on roasted vegetables, or in the warmer months on a slice of toasted baguette with a generous schmear of goat cheese and tomato.

This is more of a basil pesto with mint, than it is a true mint pesto. It has the big basil and pine nut flavor, but the mint has this subtle presence that lightens everything up. I also love the addition of roasted tahini, because I think it brings even more creaminess, but you could choose to leave it out if you didn’t have any tahini on hand. I also use a blend of toasted pine nuts and walnuts, because walnuts and mint are one of those odd couples that just go so well together.

This is so easy to make, and can last in the fridge in a mason jar for a little over a week. Basil and pine nuts are always going to be a bit pricey, but so is any store bought pesto you find, and it is so worth it to just make it homemade. So here it is, my date night secret: he gets the lamb, I get the pasta, and we both get a breath full of garlic (it cancels each other out when you both have it, right?).

Mint and Basil Pesto Sauce

You Will Need:

-1 ½ cups of fresh basil

-½ cup of fresh mint leaves

-2-3 cloves of garlic

-1 tablespoon roasted tahini

-⅓-½ cup of evoo

-2 tablespoons pine nuts

-2 tablespoons walnuts

-¼ cup grated parmesan

-juice of ½ a lemon

-salt & pepper to taste


1. In a large saucepan begin toasting our nuts by moving them around quickly on medium low heat until they begin to get some color. Remove from heat and set aside.

2. In a food processor, combine remaining ingredients, and begin to pulse together slowly adding our olive oil until desired texture is achieved.

3. Serve over pasta, meat, or as a spread. Lasts for about a week in the fridge.