Use Mint Magic for New Potatoes with 5-Minute Mint Pesto

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New spring potatoes are deliciously in season now, but the shining star in this recipe is mint. Even if you have a black thumb, you can grow this versatile herb. A small pot of mint on any sunny windowsill is almost impossible to kill. In fact, if you do happen to have a little plot of garden soil, do not plant mint; it will take over your garden like a weed. Always plant mint in a container.

Fresh mint is magic in the kitchen. You can:

Toss whole or torn leaves into salads

Pair it with peas for a classic combo; serve mixed into brown rice

Make Vietnamese noodles or a banh mi sandwich with fish sauce and mint

Flavor your water without added sugar or artificial sweeteners

Or make this 5-Minute Mint Pesto. It comes together in no time and perks up new spring potatoes, pasta, turkey sandwiches and even scrambled eggs. I like my pesto chunky, so this recipe uses less oil than most — and lots of herbs. Mint is a powerhouse of flavor, so it’s balanced by quite a lot of fresh parsley and tangy, salty Parmesan cheese.

And when it comes to nutrition, the general rule about leafy green plants is this: The more flavor, the more antioxidants. Powerfully potent or bitter flavor compounds in plants are part of their defense system from predators; these bold compounds are in the form of strong plant-based antioxidants (antioxidants help strengthen the human immune system).

Think boldly flavored Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, arugula, and strong herbs like mint. Bottom line: Potent plants contain potent antioxidants. So try growing or buying fresh mint; you’ll be adding flavor and antioxidants to your meals.

New Potatoes with 5-Minute Mint Pesto

Makes about 8 servings

Ingredients:

2 1/2 pounds small golden- or red-skinned potatoes

1 cup fresh mint leaves

3 cups fresh parsley leaves

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1/4 cup shelled dry-roasted pistachios

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup (2 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

If potatoes are larger than about 1 inch in diameter, cut potatoes into 1-inch cubes. (Do not peel.) Place in a medium pot. Add cold water to cover; bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and cook 12 minutes or until barely fork-tender. Drain water.

Meanwhile, place mint, parsley, garlic, pistachios, oil and salt in food processor; process until finely minced. Place in a large bowl. Stir in cheese until blended. Toss pesto with warm or room-temperature potatoes.

Note: Pack herbs into measuring cups very lightly (otherwise the proportions will be slightly off). But the beauty of this pesto is that you can always add a bit more of a favorite ingredient. Do not overprocess the pesto; if you do, the color will be dull green instead of bright.

Per serving (1/8 of recipe): Calories 231; Fat 8 g (Saturated 2 g); Sodium 148 mg; Carbohydrate 32 g; Fiber 4 g; Sugars 2 g; Protein 7 g

Serena Ball, M.S., R.D., is a registered dietitian nutritionist. She blogs at TeaspoonOfSpice.com sharing tips and tricks to help readers find cooking shortcuts for making healthy, homemade meals. Her recipes are created with families in mind.