Fresh Mint Forever
You really only have to plant spearmint once. I can’t remember when I made the fateful move to put a little mint plant in my garden, but it was years ago. The mint flourished and spread and persists, year after year. After we eat tabouli and minty salads and make lots of fresh mint tea, I often have to rip out rafts of the fragrant plants just to keep them from choking out the tomatoes and basil. As much as I love the bracing flavor of fresh mint, it has to be willing to share the space.
All this lovely fresh mint means I need to get creative, and this New Potato Salad with Mint Pesto is one of many quick minty dishes I serve in summer.
Fresh Mint is Great in Savory Dishes
While we often associate mint with sweet flavors, like mint-chip ice cream and minty chocolates, it takes on a different character when you go savory with it. Take away the sugar and add some olive oil, and you start to see how similar it is to sweet basil, in some ways.
T’is the Season for Potato Salads
New potatoes are happening at my farmer’s market, so I boiled some young Yukon golds and quartered them. I chilled them in the refrigerator, which made them a little dark in color, but still full of that buttery Yukon flavor. To keep it easy, I used canned chickpeas (saving the aquafaba for later in the freezer) and just rinsed and drained.
I’m so in love with pistachios, I keep both raw and roasted ones around at all times. In this dish, they make a lush pesto and also a crunchy garnish.
The fresh mint melds with the olive oil, garlic, and pistachios for an herbal, slightly peppery taste. With a jolt of lemon, the flavors feel fresh and lively. Red bell peppers add a pop of red against the green background, and a bit of juicy crunch.
This recipe barely made a dent in my fresh mint crop, but that’s ok. I’m thinking that a Minty Iced Tea is in my future. Mint is known to help with digestive upsets and have a decent amount of antioxidants, like most green leafy foods. It’s even associated with improving memory, so I should definitely eat more of it!
If you don’t have a mint plant, your farmer’s market should have some big fat bundles of it. Enjoy it in potato salad, and you might just remember some passwords while enjoying a delicious meal.
New Potato, Chickpea and Mint Salad with Pistachios
- 1 pound new potatoes cooked and cooled, halved
- 1 can cooked chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1/2 large red bell pepper slivered
- 1 large scallions chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh spearmint packed
- 1 clove garlic peeled and sliced
- 1/4 cup raw pistachios divided
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- mint sprigs for garnish
- In a large bowl, combine the new potatoes, chickpeas, peppers and scallions.
- In a food processor, combine mint, garlic and half of the pistachios. Process to mince finely, scrape down and process a few times, then add olive oil and blend. Scrape down and add the lemon and salt, blend again until smooth.
- Scrape over the potato mixture and toss to coat.
- Serve topped with reserved pistachos and garnished with mint sprigs.