Fresh herbs. A true sign of Spring springing. While our garden is slowly starting to grow back into its lush old self, the huge mint patch is still a dead heap of brown stalks. So the next best thing was to buy a little bunch of organic mint leaves from the store. I used it all up in two delicious meals - and can't wait for our own mint to grow again!
As well as being a wonderful stomach soother, fresh mint offers many other health benefits, including:
- Antimicrobial properties in peppermint oil, inhibiting the growth of certain bacteria and types of fungus
- Natural breath freshener
- Relief from nasal symptoms associated with seasonal allergies
- Excellent source of vitamins C & A, and the mineral manganese
- Nerve soother, especially in the form of fresh mint leaf tea
Mint livens up a grainy salad like no other. The first dish I made was a farro salad with a classic combination of mint, feta, and pomegranate (although not in season, if you can find a package of the arils - the juicy red seeds - they are such a nice treat every once in a while). Watermelon chunks would be great as an alternative when we're in the thick of summer, or slices of fresh peaches.
Farro Salad with Pomegranate, Feta & Mint
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Keywords: simmer entree salad side wheat free vegetarian soy-free nut-free spring summer
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 1 1/2 cups farro
- 3-4 celery stalks, sliced
- 1 cup pomegranate arils (or diced watermelon or 1 peach, sliced)
- 1/2 cup sheep or goat feta, crumbled
- 1 large handful fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
- sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Cook the farro according to package instructions (usually takes about 25-35 minutes in twice the amount of water). Leave to cool slightly before tossing with the remaining ingredients.
Serve warm, or place in the fridge to cool completely for a refreshing summer salad.
Another fabulous use of mint is in homemade pesto. I saw a wonderful recipe in the May issue of Real Simple magazine that I had to try - and all of a sudden I've found a new love. Mint Pesto is bright, fresh, and zesty and takes all of 5 minutes to make yourself. It came paired with steamed artichokes in the magazine recipe, but you could also serve it with fish, lamb, or in a salad with thinly sliced zucchini.
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp lemon zest
Combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.