Watermelon Hearts with Sweet Mint Pesto

by Robin on July 16, 2011

in Recipes,Vegan on the Cheap

I think the adage about a watched pot never boiling holds true for ripening blackberries as well.  Every day I check on my almost-ripe blackberries and even with the crazy hot days we’ve had recently, they’re still not ripe — almost, but not quite. 

Our mint, on the other hand, is going crazy.  Jon’s been making good use of the crop with copious batches of mint juleps, but I wanted to use some of these fragrant leaves for more than a bourbon delivery system.  So I took a cue from the nearby basil leaves that I’ve been turning into savory pesto, and decided to turn the tables on the whole pesto experience with — ta da — Sweet Mint Pesto!!  What a revelation. 
As you can see from the above photo, my first inclination was to go all fancy and cut out some watermelon hearts.  Place just a little dab of sweet mint pesto onto a piece of watermelon, pop in your mouth, and let the fun begin.  It made me wish watermelons were in season for Valentine’s Day, because they are perfect for shaping into hearts of all sizes and could be used in all sorts of elegant dessert presentations.  But since lots of us have our wedding anniversaries in the summer, I’m sure the idea of heart-shaped watermelon will be getting lots of use.  Here’s the recipe for Sweet Mint Pesto:

Sweet Mint Pesto
1/3 cup unsalted cashews or macadamia nuts
1 teaspoon white chocolate chips (optional)
2 cups loosely packed mint leaves
2 to 3 tablespoons agave nectar
In a food processor, grind the cashews and chocolate chips (if using). Add the mint leaves and 2 tablespoons of the agave and process to a paste.  For a sweeter pesto, add more agave.
Ways to use Sweet Mint Pesto:
·        Serve it alongside watermelon cut-outs (as shown) to dab on top of the melon.
·        Spread the mint pesto on a plain cake, cupcake, or muffin.
·        Add mint pesto to a brownie or cake batter recipe (in place of some of the wet ingredients).
·        Stir almond milk or coconut milk into the pesto to thin it a bit and make a thick creamy sauce:   Add blueberries and toss to coat for: Blueberries in Sweet Mint Cream. Yum.
Speaking of blueberries…. While I’m waiting for my personal supply of blackberries to ripen, I’ve also been having lots of fun with blueberries (even beyond tossing them with the mint cream!). 
I love the combination of blueberries and chocolate, so you know those Chocolate Surprise Brownies from Vegan on the Cheap — the ones made with not only black beans, but also coffee and banana?  Last week I substituted blueberries for the banana (I pulsed the blueberries to a chunky puree) and — wow.  I also tossed some whole blueberries on top of the brownie batter about halfway through baking.  They may not have been the prettiest brownies in the world, but they sure were the tastiest!

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