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Kalyn's Kitchen

Cooking with Fresh Mint

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 all the recipes you need to use your fresh mint, plus some tips for growing mint without it taking over your yard! 

PIN Cooking with Fresh Mint to try some recipes later!

Cooking with Fresh Mint top collage

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’m feeling like more people than ever will be interested in growing their own food, so 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 absolutely everyone can grow successfully, and the distinctive flavor adds that extra something to so many dishes!

I love fresh 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. In my new house I have a hearty patch of mint by the garage door, and every simmer I have to clean out the border so it doesn’t brow into the lawn! In the past I’ve used those plastic borders that you pound into the ground to control my 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.

Other than that, 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. 

I hope you enjoy these great recipes using mint from Kalyn’s Kitchen and some of my blogging friends.

Middle Eastern Tomato Salad photo with text overlay

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.

Mediterranean Lettuce Salad with Purslane and Mint

This Mediterranean Lettuce 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!)

Roasted Summer Squash with Lemon, Mint, and Feta finished dish in serving bowl

Roasted 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!

Moroccan Cabbage Slaw with Carrots and Mint photo of finished salad in bowl

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 finished salad in serving bowl

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 Garlic-Cumin Vinaigrette, Feta, and Herbs cooked eggplant on baking rack

Grilled Eggplant with Garlic-Cumin Vinaigrette, Feta, and Two 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 finished salad in bowl

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 photo of four finished lettuce wraps with sauce

Thai Turkey Lettuce Wraps are an amazing dish, and the fresh mint really shines here with the other Thai flavors!

Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Mint and Feta photo of finished salad in bowl with text overlay

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.

Thai-Inspired Turkey Larb Salad finished salad on plate text overlay photo

This Thai-Inspired Turkey Larb Salad is another recipe with Thai flavors that includes plenty of fresh mint, and I absolutely LOVE this salad!

Cucumber and Avocado Salad with Lime, Mint, and Feta top photo of salad in bowl with text overlay

And finally, another recipe with so many of my favorite flavors is this Cucumber and Avocado Salad with Lime, Mint, and Feta.

Fresh Mint with Beans and Grains:

Chickpea and Edamame Salad with Lemon and Mint from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Cannellini Beans in Mint Marinade from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Bulgur Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Parsley, Mint, and Lemon from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Garlicky Roasted Chickpeas with Feta, Mint, and Lemon from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Chickpea Salad with Red Pepper, Mint, and Sumac from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Chickpea, Barley, and Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Mint and Feta from The Kitchn
Red Rice and Mint with Soy Dressing from White on Rice Couple
Quinoa Salad for a Crowd from Vintage Mixer

Fresh Mint with Salads:

Whole Wheat Orzo with Cucumber, Mint, Feta, and Olives from The Perfect Pantry
Spicy Shredded Carrot Salad with Mint from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Thai Cabbage Slaw from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Thai Cucumber Salad from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Cucumber Salad with Mint and Feta from Simply Recipes
Thai-Flavored Raw Broccoli Salad with Mint and Peanuts from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Israeli Salad with Pickles and Mint from The Shiksa in the Kitchen

Fresh Mint with Vegetables and Fruits:

Spicy Grilled Eggplant with Red Pepper, Parsley, and Mint from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Melon with Lime, Peanut, and Mint Topping from The Perfect Pantry
Greek Stewed Swiss Chard with Tomatoes, Mint, and Lima Beans from The Taste Space

Fresh Mint with Meat, Poultry, or Fish:

Spicy Shrimp and Cucumber Salad with Lemon, Mint, and Cumin from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Middle Eastern Spicy Ground Beef with Mint, and Cilantro from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Grilled Middle Eastern Turkey Burgers with Yogurt Sauce from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Lamb Chops with Cilantro-Mint Sauce from Leite’s Culinaria

More Fresh Mint in Sauces, Dressings, and Dips:

White Bean Dip with Kalamata Olives and Mint from Cookin’ Canuck
Roasted Red Pepper Dip with Feta and Mint from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Vegan Basil Mint Parsley “Pesto” from Gluten-Free Goddess
Mint Chutney from The Perfect Pantry
Mint and Coriander Chutney from eCurry

Pinterest image of Cooking with Fresh Mint

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    17 Comments on “Cooking with Fresh Mint”

  1. Your blog is very nice,so rich and beautiful to see.

  2. So happy to hear from so many mint lovers!

    Janet, love the sound of that chickpea dish!

  3. Hey Kalyn,

    I find mint so under-appreciated.. it grows like weeds but most people don't even cook with it!

    Thanks for including the Greek stewed vegetables – defintiely one of my favourites.

    This is another one of my favourite savoury mint dishes: http://tastespace.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/chickpeas-and-chana-dal-cooked-together-in-mint-sauce/

  4. In our house, mint used to be relegated to mojitos and dessert garnishes. Now that I've discovered how fantastic it is in savory dishes, I find that I'm actually able to make a dent in our very prolific mint plants. Now…on to your recipes!

  5. I haven't grown mint in a while but I remember it taking over my garden – wish I had known there were so many versatile ways to use it back then. Great roundup Kalyn!

  6. I have tons of mint in my garden and i was just looking for recipes. Great ideas!

  7. Mint is one of my favorites. I like adding some in meatballs with a bit of cumin as it really adds an interesting flavor.

    For those who grow it, be sure to dry what you don't use as fresh and store in a spice jar. Crumble it in your fingers or palms to release its flavor. It's just as tasty in most recipes as the fresh and is like a breath of fresh air in winter.

  8. For anyone else who is interested, I just googled "Moroccan Mint" and it looks just like what I have in my garden, so it's just a variety of spearmint I'm guessing.

  9. So glad people are finding this useful. And of course Mojitos are always good. (I decided not to include drinks, because some people think that's all mint is good for.) I have not tried Moroccan Mint but would love to try some.

  10. I love mint as well! Its so versatile, can be used in sweet and savoury dishes.

    I feel it depend on the mint type and where u grow it (climate and soil), because not every mint picks up a full power growth.

    My favourite mint type is the Moroccan mint.

  11. I have mint that comes up in one of my planters and when it fills out, I start wondering what to do with it. I haven't always been a fan of mint, so am continuing to experiment. You've got some delicious ideas here that will keep me busy! Thanks for including one of mine.

  12. I love this new series. So much delicious inspiration. I'm definitely underutilizing my mint! 🙂

  13. Thanks for the great ideas. My neighbor started growing mint and it's spread under the fence. The only thing I've used it for is mint tea which is delicious.

  14. I don't have a garden but I rarely know what to do with mint! Thanks for this great post!

  15. And don't forget the Mojitos to wash down all these tasty dishes! 😉

  16. I love this series of cooking tips for gardeners. Even those of us who have lots of mint (I call mine "free range mint"!) in the garden can find lots of new ideas here. Thanks so much for linking to some of my recipes.

  17. I need to expand my horizons, too, when it comes to mint. I have used it in a wild-rice and corn salad from the American Institute for Cancer Research – it was great! Anyway, your recipe links are incredible, and pretty darned exhaustive – thank you!

    I don't know where to start – they all look great.