18 Ways To Use Fresh Mint Leaves

#18 ways to use fresh mint leaves


Fresh mint is often overlooked in American cuisine, but it's an amazing seasoning that can be used in everything from drinks to dinners and desserts. It's also surprisingly easy to grow yourself—you may even have some springing up of its own accord in your backyard as we speak.

 

#18 ways to use fresh mint leaves
Peppermint
#18 ways to use fresh mint leaves
Spearmint

There are many varieties of mint, including chocolate mint, apple mint, and corn mint, but the kinds you're most likely to find at the store are common peppermint and spearmint.

Spearmint is particularly common in the US as well as globally and is the mint of choice for many drinks, salads, and dinner entrees, while peppermint can be an excellent choice for desserts and herbal teas.

Gardening Mint

#18 ways to use fresh mint leavesDifferent mint varieties prefer slightly different treatment when it comes to gardening, but most are very hardy and will tolerate some shade, meaning they can be grown indoors by a mostly sunlit window.

They do best in moist but well-drained soils and can grow to be 1 to 2 feet tall. If planted outside, they will sprawl out horizontally as well, and you'll quickly have large beds of mint (though they can easily be reined in by physical barriers, unlike pesky ivies).

Using Mint

Whether the mint in your life comes from the grocery store or the backyard, do yourself a favor and pick up a few sprigs today, because there are tons of awesome recipes waiting for you when you do!

If you're struggling to find mint inspiration (mint-spiration, if you will)* then check out these 18 recipes for everything from drinks to dinners and desserts. We promise you'll find something to tickle your fancy.

Minty Drinks


Mint is perfect in everything from cocktails to teas to lemonades. A simple mint tea can be made from hot water, fresh mint leaves, and a little sugar, and is excellent either hot or cold (cold mint tea is amazingly refreshing on a summer afternoon). Or throw some mint into one of these delicious beverages.


Pineapple Mint Mojito

#18 ways to use fresh mint leavesYou could always make a classic mojito, but this is a great twist on the classic that's perfect for summer.

Sweet Tea Mint Juleps

#18 ways to use fresh mint leavesMint juleps just got even more Southern...and even more refreshing! While Southern sweet tea typically uses plain old black tea, the early grey in this recipe adds a floral citrusiness that goes beautifully with the rest of the ingredients.

Spiked Strawberry Mint Lemonade

#18 ways to use fresh mint leavesMint and strawberry are amazing together, and so are mint and lemonade. Throw in some booze and you've got yourself a refreshing cocktail that's perfect for a hot afternoon.

Ginger Mint Lemonade

#18 ways to use fresh mint leavesIn case booze isn't on the menu for you, here's a non-boozy version that's just as good. With the ginger in this mint lemonade, it almost tastes like a non-boozy moscow mule.

Salads with Mint

Mint makes a great addition to a lot of salads, especially summer salads with fresh fruit. It's also perfect for mediterranean and middle eastern salads; since these cuisines often use mint to excellent effect.

Peach Salad & Mint Pesto

#18 ways to use fresh mint leavesThis summer salad with grilled peaches pairs wonderfully with a mint and basil pesto. In fact, mint pairs well with a lot of grilled fruits. If you're looking for more grilled fruit recipes, check out these 13 Grilled Fruits For a Sweeter Summer.

Middle Eastern Fattoush

#18 ways to use fresh mint leavesFattoush is a Middle Eastern style of salad that uses fresh cucumber, tomato, mint, and toasted pita, resulting in a satisfyingly crunchy and light side dish.

Mint in Indian and Southeast Asian Cuisine

Mint is abundant in South and Southeast Asian Cuisine, as these examples from Indian, Malaysian, and Vietnamese cuisines demonstrate. If you're looking for ways to incorporate mint into a main dish, take a cue from some of the places where they do it best.

Slow Cooker Indian Spiced Chicken

#18 ways to use fresh mint leavesThis slow cooker Indian chicken is amazingly savory and well-spiced with onions, garlic, ginger, garam masala, tomato, and plenty of other seasonings. Adding the mint just before serving allows it to add something really special to this comforting and rich dish.

Indian Style Nachos with Tamarind Chutney

#18 ways to use fresh mint leavesNot really Indian, we know, but these Indian-style nachos are amazing, and the mint helps this dish uplift you instead of weighing you down in the way nachos sometimes can.

Green Papaya Spring Rolls

#18 ways to use fresh mint leavesThese Vietnamese spring rolls have green papaya, rice noodles, and plenty of veggies, but they're not complete without some fresh mint leaves. That peanut sauce is not to be missed, either.

Malaysian Har Mee

#18 ways to use fresh mint leavesHar mee is a type of Malaysian noodle dish using prawns and a seafood broth to create an immensely rich and flavorful soup. This one takes a little bit of work, but it's well-worth the effort.

As a side note, fresh cilantro AKA coriander is also hugely popular in these cuisines, but mint-lovers can rejoice in knowing that in most places you might find fresh cilantro, mint makes a fine substitute! This is particularly helpful for those of us with that set of genes that makes cilantro taste like soap.


Lamb & Mint: Together Forever


You probably already know that lamb and mint are best friends for life. Here are a couple great ways to take advantage of this classic combo.

Lamb Cucumber Salad Pitas

#18 ways to use fresh mint leavesThese traditionally mediterranean lamb pitas get a boost from spicy jalapeño, salty olives, and refreshing mint leaves for a lunch or dinner that's complexly flavored yet simple to make.

Rosemary Mint Lamb Chops with Fig Compote

#18 ways to use fresh mint leavesThe lamb chops are decadent and definitely worthy of a special occasion. Rosemary and mint lend an uplifting herbaceous note while sweet figs round this dish out.

Seafood with Mint

Did you know that many seafoods go great with mint too? There are a few shellfish that are particularly well-suited to accompani-mint* and here are a couple great recipes to prove it.

Stir Fried Shrimp with Bacon, Mint, and Chiles

#18 ways to use fresh mint leavesThese shrimp are really getting the full treatment! With savory bacon and spicy chiles, the fresh mint in this dish adds an unexpected complexity that works surprisingly well.

Crab, Chili, & Mint Crostini

#18 ways to use fresh mint leavesThese crab, chili, and mint crostinis keep it light and playful while still being filling. Perfect for parties or anytime you want to impress family and friends.

Desserts with Fresh Mint Leaves

Mint and dessert were meant to be. Mint goes amazingly with fresh fruit and makes a tasty garnish for simple ice creams like chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. While many minty baked good and candies use mint extracts or syrups, there are still plenty of dessert options that use fresh mint leaves instead.

Citrus Salad with Mint Sugar

#18 ways to use fresh mint leavesWe know it says "salad" in the title, but this dish is more like an ambrosia, with sweet orange, pomegranate seeds, and additional added sugar. With fresh mint leaves, this dessert is even more refreshing, perfect for a hot summer evening.

Mango Mojito Popsicles

#18 ways to use fresh mint leavesCan you tell we love mojitos? These mango mojito popsicles are surprisingly easy to make and so delicious! For a kid-friendly version, just leave out the rum.

Watermelon Mint Popsicles

#18 ways to use fresh mint leavesNothing says summer quite like fresh watermelon, and these watermelon mint popsicles are like summer frozen into little cubes. This is another mint recipe the whole family can enjoy.

Mint Julep-Kissed Shortbread Cookies

#18 ways to use fresh mint leavesOne more shout out to mint juleps, in case they were feeling neglected. These mint julep-inspired shortbread cookies are light and refreshing, great for afternoon tea. Bonus points if you enjoy them with a mint julep in the other hand.

What's your favorite way to use mint? Let us know in the comments, and have a wonderfully minty summer!

*Our wordplay is bad; sorry, not sorry. 

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