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Creamy Lemon Mint Pesto elevates any dinner or meal, to make it special. Fresh tasting herbs and lemon blend up creamy with olive oil and pine nuts — lovely each summer when mint is fresh and abundant, or year round when you need an easy condiment!
With only 5 ingredients, Lemon Mint Pesto is dairy-free, garlic-free, Paleo, Whole30, Keto, Low FODMAP, VAD, Vegan and GAPS — and such a nice variation on the usual recipe.
Add a zippy finishing touch to liven up your meal with Creamy Lemon Mint Pesto …
Jump to Recipe
How to keep mint green in pesto … and mint’s mild flavor in this recipe
Many of us grow mint without labor, without lifting a finger: It grows easily, almost like a weed, and it spreads! Here’s a great way to use this abundant herb — but without the super strong flavor it often has.
In this recipe, it’s blanched to keep it green. Otherwise, mint in pesto turns brown.
With blanching, the pronounced mint flavor we all know diminishes into a really lovely subtle herb flavor. I love it, and it goes beautifully with lemon.
What results is a creamy looking pesto, with lots of green bits, that’s herby and lemony – fresh, lively, but not overly minty.
As a result, this pesto is really versatile. It’s great for any American recipe that needs a little life dolloped on top, Mediterranean recipes and really, it will fit most ethnic dishes.
Add fresh slices of mint leaves to your dish if you also want a strong fresh mint flavor.
Dairy-free and garlic-free pesto
This dairy-free, garlic-free pesto isn’t missing a thing.
I didn’t leave the garlic out to make it gentler to digest (Low FODMAP); that’s just a happy bi-product.
The fact is: We don’t always like or want strong garlic, and some of us avoid it on purpose.
How perfect to have a garlic-free pesto!
I left the cheese out, yes, to make it more allergy-friendly.
And you won’t miss it. This refreshing creamy pesto is just delicious!
The lemon and mint have their own personalities in this recipe, and cheese just isn’t needed.
Ingredients in Creamy Lemon Mint Pesto
The 5 easy ingredients you’ll need for this recipe are:
- fresh mint, about 2 cups
- pine nuts
- olive oil
- fresh lemon juice
- sea salt
How to make Lemon Mint Pesto
Two steps are required:
- First, boil water, and quickly blanch the mint (this means to quickly submerge it in the boiling water) — for just 5 to 10 seconds. Then transfer to a bowl with ice and water; swish the mint around for about 30 seconds. Then squeeze most of the water from it.
- Add the mint to a food processor with the remaining ingredients. Blend until creamy.
Use and serve immediately. Or, transfer to a jar, and refrigerate or freeze until you need it.
How long does Lemon Mint Pesto last
Refrigerator storage of Lemon Mint Pesto: Store in a glass jar for up to 5 days.
If you happen to grown your own mint, you may want to double or triple the recipe, so you have this herby treat ready for a variety of meals.
To freeze Lemon Mint Pesto: Freeze in ice cube trays. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a zip-lock bag or other freezer container with lid. Keeps for up to 12 months.
Ways to enjoy & how to serve Creamy Lemon Mint Pesto
This condiment is so versatile and fun that the many ways to use it are inspiring:
- on top of pasta, including alternative grain-free noodles like zoodles
- tossed into pasta salad
- drizzled over salad, especially a main dish salad with protein
- on good bread or toast
- to garnish a galette (recipe coming)
- on any pizza, quiche or frittata
- with lamb, chicken or other meats
- for those who eat dairy, with chèvre
- as part of a charcuterie board
- on grilled veggies
- with broiled or grilled fish
- drizzled on small boiled or roasted potatoes, or on Smashed Potatoes
- added to salad dressing
- with avocado
As with any pesto, use Creamy Lemon Mint Pesto as a finishing garnish. Spread finished dishes with this condiment instead of cooking with it.
Creamy Lemon Mint Pesto (dairy-free, Paleo, Whole30, Keto, Vegan, Low FODMAP)
- large pot for boiling water
- bowl for ice water
- food processor
- 2 cups mint fresh and packed somewhat to measure; thick stems removed, 1-½ to 2 ounces
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice fresh
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt or Potassium Lite Salt
Blanch the mint
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Set a medium size bowl of ice water near to the stove.
- Stir the fresh mint into the boiling water, and leave it for 10 seconds, or just until it wilts.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the mint to the bowl of ice water, and stir it around for about 30 seconds.
- Remove the mint with your hands, and squeeze most of the liquid from the mint.
Blend the pesto
- In your food processor, combine all of the ingredients: blanched mint, pine nuts, olive oil, fresh lemon juice and sea salt.
- Blend until smooth and creamy and the pieces of mint are teeny, about 2 minutes, depending on the size of your batch and the size of your food processor. (Creamy Lemon Mint Pesto will be nicely bright green when it's fresh. If stored, it will become a duller green color.)
You can Pin Creamy Lemon Mint Pesto here:
Other allergy-friendly herbal condiments you’ll enjoy
- Cilantro Lime Ranch Dressing (Avocado Crema!, Paleo, AIP, Keto)
- Maple Balsamic Salad Dressing
- Paleo Teriyaki Sauce
- Paleo & AIP Onion Gravy (Vegan)
- Creamy Tarragon-Hemp Dressing
- Fresh Herb Vinaigrette
Dr. Karen Lee says
Love the idea of adding mint! My family can’t eat dairy so this recipe will work! The link to sprouting pine nuts doesn’t work though. Thx for the recipe!
Megan Stevens says
Thanks for the heads up! I’ll fix it. 😉
This looks so good. I love that is does not have cheese. Basil and mint is such a wonderful combination, and I just bought some walnut oil. I will definitely be trying this. Thanks.
Megan Stevens says
Great, Susanne! 🙂
Vanessa Nixon Klein says
I love that you added mint to this pesto! It sounds delicious. I add nettles to my pesto quite often. Thanks for the recipe. The photo is beautiful too!
Megan Stevens says
Thank you, Vanessa! I need to do what you do too!! Nettles!
Elaina Newton says
Nice! I had never thought to add fresh mint to pesto before. I’ll have to try it this summer cause my apple mint plant grows like crazy!
Megan Stevens says
Apple mint sounds lovely!! I’d love to grow different varieties of mint. That one sounds like it would make nice tea too!