As summer was drawing to a close, I decided it was time to get as much as I could out of our happy little mint plant. We also had precious little grilling weather left, so that was a must! Since I was pairing it with grilled chicken and vegetables, I omitted quite a few ingredients, and then substituted pine nuts for the almonds because… well… I felt like it. :-)
This is, perhaps, my first time using mint in a savory dish, and it turned out really good. I tried it once in mint ice cream and found it way too grassy for my taste – so I guess that’s why it works so well here. The pesto is great, and a nice variation to have on hand for when the basil plant isn’t being quite so fruitful. Next time I will definitely have to go the tuna and almond route – I can see how that would be a fabulous pairing!
Source: Clean Eating Magazine, Sept/Oct 2009, page 63
- 1/2 lb whole-wheat pasta, any shape
- 3 cups tightly packed baby spinach (3 ounces)
- 1/2 cup packed fresh mint
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
- Zest and juice of one large lemon (2 tsp zest and 1/3 cup juice), divided
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup unsalted toasted almond slivers
- 1 6-ounce can solid white tuna, packed in water
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cored seeded and diced small
- 1 small zucchini, diced small
- 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans (or 1 15-ounce can low sodium white beans, drained and rinsed)
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water to stop it from cooking further. Set aside.
- Put spinach, mint, garlic, cheese, and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse to form a chunky paste. Combine lemon juice and oil in a liquid measuring cup. With food processor running (on but not pulsing), add juice-oil mixture through the food chute in a slow drizzle until a thick, smooth pesto forms. Combine pesto with cooked pasta in a large bowl.
- Put almonds in processor and pulse about 10 times, until finely chopped. Stir almonds into pasta.
- Drain tuna and flake with a fork. Add it to pasta, along with yellow pepper, zucchini and beans. Toss to combine and season with salt and black pepper.