The warmer seasons come with fresh, natural flavors. And while many are ready for the berries and vegetables to arrive on the scene, you can’t forget about herbs. Fresh herbs give your sweet and savory dishes naturally earthy flavor, and they, too, pop up in markets and backyard gardens this time of year. Mint, especially, is a popular herb that finds its way into dishes in the spring. And its cool flavor pairs with sweet and savory dishes of all kinds.
Whether you’re mastering a simple, light meal or going for something more complicated and impressive, mint can play a major role in baking or cooking. Check out these mint recipes that will help you get ready for the warmer temperatures, and say hello to spring and all it promises.
1. Chopped Salad with Feta, Lime, and Mint
When the temperature rises, cravings for heavy comfort food hibernate for the summer. People desire lighter meals that energize them without weighing them down. And that’s exactly what a lunch or dinner like this chopped salad from Smitten Kitchen accomplishes. It’s simple enough that it won’t keep you slaving away in the kitchen on a nice day, but it’s still rich in flavor and satisfying. You get your flavor and texture from crunchy vegetables, mint, sunflower seeds, and cheese. And the chopped salad gets tossed with a homemade dressing of lime juice, olive oil, and spices. Serve this fresh chopped salad as a main meal or as a side dish, and enjoy the extra crunch the salad promises.
- 3 cups chopped, crunchy vegetables
- ½ cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta, queso fresco, or ricotta salata
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- ⅓ cup well-toasted sunflower seeds, salted or unsalted
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon coarse or kosher salt, plus more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder or ⅛ teaspoon each your choice combination of chili powder, cumin, cayenne, or sumac
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 to 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
See recipe directions from Smitten Kitchen.
2. Minted Chicken with Asparagus
Give your weekday chicken dinner a kick by adding mint, coriander, and lime to the mix. This recipe from Delish teaches you how to make it happen. It’s all about the mint mixture that is made by pulsing together lime peels and juice, fresh mint, garlic, sugar, oil, and coriander in the food processor. You’ll top your chicken with the mixture before it goes on the grill for minutes, and then you can get to work on your asparagus. The green vegetable is in season in the spring, and it’s the perfect complement to your fresh and zesty chicken. Weekday dinners are a lot more fun when fresh seasonal flavors are involved, and this recipe keeps the cooking easy.
- ½ teaspoon grated lime peel
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1½ cup fresh mint leaves
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1¼ pounds thin chicken cutlets
- 1 bunch thin asparagus
- .13 teaspoons salt
- 4 slice multigrain bread
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 cups mixed baby greens
See recipe directions from Delish.
3. Spaghetti with Pistachio-Mint Pesto and Spinach
When your cravings for carbs come back, satisfy them the worthwhile way. That would be by mastering this spaghetti with pistachio-mint pesto from Cooking Light. A meat-free dinner starring a lot of green has never tasted so good. You can easily make a fresh spring pesto that coats your carbs and leaves no extra room for meat. Your tastebuds will be too busy enjoying the homemade pesto to miss the meat, and the fresh green sauce is made from mint, basil, parsley, lemons, cheese, garlic, oil, and pistachios. This dinner might sound and look too complicated and sophisticated for you, but the fool-proof instructions make it possible for anyone to make in under 45 minutes.
- ⅓ cup packed fresh mint
- ⅓ cup packed fresh basil
- ⅓ cup packed fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about ½ cup)
- 2 small garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup shelled dry-roasted, unsalted pistachios
- ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- ⅓ cup finely chopped shallots
- 4 cups unsalted vegetable stock
- 12 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti or linguine
- 1 (5-ounce) package fresh baby spinach, cut into ½-inch-thick strips
- 3 ounces burrata cheese
- 1½ tablespoons chopped shelled dry-roasted, unsalted pistachios
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
See recipe directions from Cooking Light.
4. Quinoa, Corn, and Mint Salad
Back to the salad game, we come to this hearty grain dish from Coastal Living. Even salad naysayers will love the quinoa, corn, and mint salad, as there aren’t any greens in the dish, and crunchy grains and carbs steal the show. The colorful quinoa and corn salad gets a fresh kick from the mint on its ingredients list, and a simple homemade dressing elevates the flavor of dish rather than smothering it. Combine your favorite tastes of spring and summer in one easy, nutritious meal, and you’ll become even more excited for the changing of the seasons.
Serves: 8½ cups
- 2 cups quinoa
- Kosher salt
- 3 cups fresh corn kernels (6 ears)
- 1 bunch green onions, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- ¾ cup chopped fresh mint
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
See recipe directions from Coastal Living.
5. Fruit Salad with Mint
Fresh fruit and berries are many people’s favorite thing about spring and summer, and this fruit salad from FoodieCrush takes your typical summer dish up a notch. Pineapples, melon, oranges, raspberries, grapes, and blueberries are still on the salad’s ingredients list, as well as mint leaves, honey, and lime. The honey and lime will coat the berries with a natural sweet flavor, and the mint gives the fruit salad a refreshing cooling kick. The end result is a fruit salad that looks good and tastes great, too, all while helping you take advantage of all of the produce and herbs spring and summer have to offer.
Serves: 8 to 10
- 2 to 3 cups melon such as cantaloupe or honeydew, cut into chunks
- 2 cups pineapple, cut into chunks
- 3 oranges, 2 of them peeled and sliced into chunks and 1 orange juiced
- 1 pint raspberries
- 1 pint strawberries, sliced
- 1 pint blackberries
- 1 pint blueberries
- 1 cup seedless grapes
- ¼ cup honey
- Juice of 1 lime
- ⅓ cup chopped mint leaves
See recipe directions from FoodieCrush.
6. Chilled Cucumber Mint Soup
You can serve soup in the spring and summer, too, when it’s of the chilled variety. See this chilled cucumber mint soup from Martha Stewart as an example. It’s a refreshing soup that serves as a great appetizer or as a main dish with an accompanying side. The chilled soup is packed with fresh and natural flavor from the cucumbers, garlic, lemons, and mint, and everything comes together simply and painlessly in a blender. Serve bowls of the chilled cucumber mint soup to eaters of all kinds, and enjoy a refreshing soup that is nothing like the creamy chowders you ate all winter.
- 4 cucumbers, peeled and seeded
- 1 small or ½ large clove garlic
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
- ¼ cup water
- 4 scallions, white and green parts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- ¾ cup fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
See recipe directions from Martha Stewart.
7. Pork Tenderloin with Cilantro-Mint Marinade
The secret to a tasty meat meal is a flavorful marinade, and that’s what this next recipe from Food & Wine is all about. The cilantro-mint marinade is the main feature of the pork tenderloin recipe, and it’s made from coriander, cumin, fennel, cilantro, oil, mint leaves, and oranges. The pork will soak in the marinade for at least two hours before it’s ready to go on the grill. After that, it’s time to eat. Instead of resorting to your tried-and-true marinades this spring, go a different route, and see how well cilantro and mint complement each other. When your marinade features two herbs, along with the seeds of coriander, cumin, and fennel, you can feel good about flavoring your food the natural way.
- 1½ teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1½ teaspoons cumin seeds
- ¾ teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 cup cilantro
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- ½ cup mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 5 pounds whole pork tenderloins
- Freshly ground pepper
- Vegetable oil, for the grill
See recipe directions from Food & Wine.
8. Basmati Rice Salad with Peas, Mint, and Lemon
Peas and mint are classic spring flavors, and the two come together in this basmati rice salad from Simply Recipes. It’s a simple side dish you can prepare in 15 minutes, and it’s both colorful and flavorful. You have pops of green and yellow from the peas and golden raisins and flavor from the minced fresh mint, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Everything will top the soft basmati rice that serves as the base of the dish, and you can add toasted cashews to the rice salad if you’re looking for an extra crunch.
- 2 cups uncooked basmati rice
- 3 cups water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 2-inch strips of fresh lemon zest
- 2 cups shelled English peas or 2 cups of frozen peas
- Salted water for blanching
- ¼ cup golden raisins or currants, plumped in enough water to cover the raisins for 5 to 10 minutes, then drained
- ½ cup minced green onions, including the greens
- 1½ teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
See recipe directions from Simply Recipes.
9. Roasted Beets with Cumin, Lime, and Mint
Flavor your sweet beets this spring with a dressing made from cumin seeds, lime juice, honey, and oil. The end result is this roasted beets dish from The Kitchn. It’s simple cooking at its best, and your guests will be wowed by the deep flavor of the roasted beets highlighted by the naturally sweet dressing. When spring and summer produce is at its best, you don’t need a lot of ingredients to make your meals shine, and this dish proves it. As long as you know how to wrap and roast your beets and whisk together a dressing, you can master this beets dish that will look lovely on your dinner table and taste great on your plate.
- 8 medium beets (2 pounds without greens)
- Olive oil
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- ¾ tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- ¼ cup mint leaves, sliced
See recipe directions from The Kitchn.
10. Smashed Tomatoes and Cucumbers with Mint
Here’s one last simple spring dish from Bon Appetit. Make this plate of smashed tomatoes and cucumbers with mint any time of day, and you’ll get in your vitamins and nutrients the easy way. You’ll love the crunchy cucumbers and tomatoes coated in olive oil and lime juice. And the garnish of mint adds one more refreshing flavor. With only a handful of ingredients and just minutes of prep time, you’ll have yourself a main meal or side dish full of natural, fresh flavors.
- 4 medium Persian cucumbers
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice, divided
- ¼ cup olive oil, divided
- Flaky sea salt
- 2 teaspoons crushed dried mint
See recipe directions from Bon Appetit.