I love fresh mint in summer salads and other interesting dishes, and this post has my favorite ideas for Cooking with Fresh Mint! This has fun recipes for using fresh mint, plus tips for growing mint without it taking over your yard!
I’m a long time gardening fan and my blog is full of recipes using garden produce and fresh herbs. Many years ago I wrote a series of posts on the blog called Cooking Tips for Gardeners, where I spotlighted an ingredient and shared my favorite recipes using it.
This summer I’ve decided to update those posts to make them more useful and include current recipes. So today let’s give a big cheer for mint, which starts in the garden ultra early and lasts long into the fall.
Mint is something that everyone can grow successfully, and the distinctive flavor adds that extra something to so many dishes! I love mint, and have some favorite ways to use it, and over the last few years I’ve really expanded my horizons with this hearty garden herb. So here are a few thoughts about Cooking with Fresh Mint and recipe ideas using this flavorful herb.
Tips for Growing Mint:
Mint is an ultra hearty perennial that grows like a weed, but there are a few things to know about growing it. First, and most important of all, if you are planting mint for the first time it is VERY important to put it where the plant is contained or your entire yard will get taken over with mint. I used to have mint in a small raised bed that was divided into thirds, so the mint is contained to the center part. I’ve also used those plastic borders that you pound into the ground to control the mint, and it also grows well in pots.
Mint is easy to grown from seeds, and it can be started almost any time during the growing season. But if you want some mint to enjoy right away, just pick up a couple of mint plants from the gardening center to get you started. You don’t need many plants, because as I mentioned above the mint will spread and take over as much area as it can! It’s also a relatively quick-growing plant.
Trim the Mint if you’re growing it!
The only other thing to know about growing mint is to trim the ends of the stems when the plant starts to produce seeds. (Trimming also helps the plant produce more leaves, so snip away at your mint often!) And mint can be frozen if you want to keep using it when fresh herb growing season is over.
What foods go with the flavor of fresh mint?
Mint complements so many other flavors, especially summer foods like tomatoes, eggplant, squash, cucumbers, watermelon, melons, and peppers. It goes well with other summery herbs like parsley, cilantro, basil, and dill and also with citrus flavors like lemon and lime, and spices like cumin, sumac, ginger, garlic, and curry powders or pastes. But mint is much more versatile than many people realize, and I also love mint with beans, carrots, feta cheese, chicken, mushrooms, radishes, shrimp, mild-flavored fish, and mixed herb sauces.
Recipes using fresh Mint for you to try:
Middle Eastern Tomato Salad is one of my all-time favorite things to make with mint and this is a recipe I made every summer when the tomatoes and cucumbers are so good and fresh mint and parsley is plentiful.
This Mediterranean Salad with Purslane and Mint is something I could eat all summer. And this salad is extra flavorful from the Sumac-Lemon Vinaigrette and loaded with healthy ingredients. (And if you’re not familiar with purslane, it’s a tasty ultra healthy plant that grows like a weed; check it out!)
Baked Summer Squash with Lemon, Mint, and Feta is an amazing recipe for summer squash, where it’s roasted with the mint and lemon and then tossed with tangy Feta Cheese! I was skeptical about the idea of cooking squash with mint, but this was a wow for me!
Mint adds a nice touch to this Moroccan Cabbage Slaw with Carrots and Mint and the flavorful dressing has lemon and cumin!
Kalyn’s Tabbouleh with Almonds is a recipe I’ve made and enjoyed for many years. Nowdays it’s a carb splurge for me, but I do use a generous amount of almonds and lots of mint and parsley to balance out the bulgur wheat which makes it a more carb-conscious version of Tabbouleh.
Grilled Eggplant with Feta and Herbs is an amazing way to cook eggplant, and the combination of mint and Feta is fantastic on top of the grilled eggplant.
Fattoush Lebanese Salad is one of the first salads I think about when I have fresh mint and parsley, and I use my favorite low-carb pita bread for this. And if you’ve ever enjoyed Fattoush in a restaurant you’ll love this easy recipe for making it at home!
Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps are an amazing dish, and the fresh mint really shines here with the other Thai flavors!
This Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Mint and Feta is a simmer classic and there’s a special preparation method here that brings out the flavors.
This Thai-Inspired Turkey Larb Salad is another recipe with Thai flavors that includes plenty of fresh mint, and I absolutely LOVE this salad!
And finally, another recipe with so many of my favorite flavors is this Cucumber Avocado Salad that’s loaded with flavor from lime, mint, and Feta!
Fresh Mint with Beans and Grains:
Fresh Mint with Salads:
Fresh Mint with Vegetables and Fruits:
Fresh Mint with Meat, Poultry, or Fish:
More Fresh Mint in Sauces, Dressings, and Dips:
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