Is your mint plant exploding to the point that you feel guilty for not using it? Yeah, me too.
The great thing about mint is that it smells heavenly and it’s so easy to grow. (Quick tip: always give it it’s own container or it will choke out your garden.) The not-so-great thing about mint is that no one really knows what to do with it, in the US at least, because we mostly see mint in sweet-tasting preparations.
Not anymore! Mint itself is not any sweeter than basil or other more common herbs, you just have to get creative (any maybe a little brave) to try it in savory dishes. It’s really great in just about everything.
Aside from great flavor, mint is extremely good for you. Here are a few health benefits of mint:
- aid digestion
- be used to relieve IBS, indigestion and heartburn
- possibly relive tension headaches
- be a great source of vitamins & minerals
- provide an almost 0 calorie drink alternative when mixed with water (mint contains only about 5 calories per 2 tablespoons) – it’s also very low on the glycemic index
Beyond all of that, growing your own herbs is one of the most cost-effective ways to eat well and add a gourmet touch to your food. A sprouted herb plant is only about $3 (even the organic ones!) and will yield food for months, maybe even years. Buying a small packet of herbs at the store is usually $3 or more, and it’s only enough for one recipe. I plant mint, basil, chives, rosemary, thyme and a few others every year, usually for less than 20 bucks, and I use them almost daily. It’s a no-brainer.
Back to the mint. If you have more mint than you know what to do with this should help…
Here are 1o ways to use fresh mint:
1. Add it to Greek yogurt with berries
Berries and mint pair beautifully. Mix plain unsweetened Greek yogurt with strawberries (or mixed berries) and sprinkle with chopped fresh mint. De-lish.
2. Make your own mint tea to aid digestion
Use 5-10 big leaves or more depending on how strong you want it. Tear the leaves and place in mug, then muddle the leaves for a few seconds with the back of a wood spoon. Pour very hot (not boiling) water over the leaves and let steep 5-10 minutes. You can remove the leaves or leave them in (punny!) – I leave them in and eat them as I sip.
3. Change up your protein smoothie
Add 3-4 fresh mint leaves to your chocolate protein smoothie for delicious variety. I love ice, water, USANA Chocolate Nutrimeal, flax seeds and mint whipped up in the blender.
4. Try strawberry, mint & basil with balsamic
This combo is DELICIOUS alone as a side or on top of mixed greens as a salad, or use it as a bruschetta topper with a whole grain baguette and goat cheese. Your friends will be impressed. The measurements are fluid, I’d say about 2 cups halved or quartered strawberries mixed with 10-20 leaves each of chopped mint and basil. 3-4 tablespoons of a high-quality aged balsamic will finish it perfectly.
5. Make a minty lime fizzler
Muddle 5-8 mint leaves in the bottom of a glass. Add ice, a healthy squeeze of lime and club soda with a few drops of stevia to sweeten. (Is it 5 o’clock somewhere? Turn this into a low-sugar mojito by adding an ounce of white rum if you so please.)
6. Try watermelon, basil, mint salad with feta
Just four ingredients and this salad will wow you. Add a sprinkle of sea salt to round out the flavors. Again, the measurements are fluid, use the same measurements as the strawberry salad above.
7. Make my Watermelon Mint Pops
Homemade popsicles are an easy, healthy, and delicious treat. These pops require only 4 ingredients and you will love them. Grab my Watermelon Mint Pops recipe here.
You can also try one of these great salads:
8. Quinoa Tabouli With Parsley & Mint (here)
9. Chopped Summer Kale Salad Recipe (here)
10. Mediterranean Herb Quinoa Salad Recipe (here) *most affordable when you grow your own herbs
Bonus 11. Jazz up your water.
Add fresh mint to plain or sparkling water, or even freeze whole leaves in ice cubes to add beautiful color to your beverage.
Bonus 12. Watermelon Pizza with Mint
Sprinkle fresh mint on your watermelon fruit pizza for an extra special (and easy!) dessert.
Bonus 13. Freeze whole mint leaves into ice cubes for a pretty (and tasty) addition to your water
Place 2-3 small whole mint leaves (or a few torn large ones) into an ice cube tray (look for a BFA-free or silicone one). Add purified water and freeze. If you boil the water your ice cubes will be crystal clear; let it cool to room temp before adding it to your ice cube trays.
That should get you started so we can all finally stop the mint-guilt.