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Mint PestO for Ovarian Cancer

Mint pesto image

Mint Pesto is a twist to the classic Italian sauce which is made with basil, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts and parmesan. There are many kinds of pestos using different herbs, cheeses and nuts but my favourite is the one I have made with mint and of course almonds and halloumi which are used in Cyprus to suit the tastes and flavours of my country.
During Lent leave out the cheese and you can have the most delicious pasta dish with vegetables and mint pesto.

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.  I have participated at this event last year as well and I shall continue to support it because every woman must be aware of this silent killer.

Michelle ofBleeding Espressoand Sara of Ms Adventures in Italy are sponsoring an O Foods Contest.  Please see below for the details.  Please come and visit here in the next few days, when I shall post some of the recipes I have made featuring my favourite PestO.


 O Foods Contest for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

ovarian cancer awareness image


September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and for the second year in a row, Sara of Ms Adventures in Italy and Michelle of Bleeding Espresso are hosting the O Foods Contest to raise awareness of this important health issue.

There are TWO WAYS to take part in the O Foods Contest:
ONE: Post a recipe to your blog using a food that starts or ends with the letter O (e.g., oatmeal, orange, okra, octopus, olive, onion, potato, tomato); include this entire text box in the post; and send your post url along with a photo (100 x 100) to ofoods[at]gmail[dot]com by 11:59 pm (Italy time) on Monday, September 28, 2009.
PRIZES for recipe posts:
  • 1st: Signed copy of Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen by Gina DePalma, Executive Pastry Chef of Babbo Ristorante in NYC, who is currently battling ovarian cancer, inspired this event, and will be choosing her favorite recipe for this prize;
TWO: If you’re not into the recipe thing, simply post this entire text box in a post on your blog to help spread the word and send your post url to ofoods[at]gmail[dot]com by 11:59 pm (Italy time) on Monday, September 28, 2009.
Awareness posts PRIZE:
  • One winner chosen at random will receive a Teal Toes tote bag filled with ovarian cancer awareness goodies that you can spread around amongst your friends and family.
  • Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancers in the United States and is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among U.S. women; a woman’s lifetime risk of ovarian cancer is 1 in 67.
  • The symptoms of ovarian cancer are often vague and subtle, making it difficult to diagnose, but include bloating, pelvic and/or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly; and urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency).
  • There is no effective screening test for ovarian cancer but there are tests which can detect ovarian cancer when patients are at high risk or have early symptoms.
  • In spite of this, patients are usually diagnosed in advanced stages and only 45% survive longer than five years. Only 19% of cases are caught before the cancer has spread beyond the ovary to the pelvic region.
  • When ovarian cancer is detected and treated early on, the five-year survival rate is greater than 92%.

And remember, you can also always donate to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund at our page through FirstGiving!

Please help spread the word about ovarian cancer.

Together we can make enough noise to kill this silent killer.

collage mint pesto image

Mint pesto is my favourite pesto, maybe because we love mint so much in Cyprus and we use it in a lot of our recipes.  Whenever I want to make a healthy pasta dish,  I add some pesto in it, about 1 tablespoon pesto for each serving.  I use it in other recipes as well, so I will be linking back to this post quite often.

I have made this pesto over and over again  with some other minor changes and I avoid adding the cheese in for many reasons, one being is that when we fast we don’t eat any dairy products.

Mint Pesto with Almonds and Graviera

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Makes:  1 cup


  • 2 cups mint (only the leaves)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • ½ cup almonds (or walnuts)
  • ½ cup grated graviera or halloumi
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp wine vinegar


  1.  Wash the mint leaves and dry.
  2. Put them together with the, garlic, salt, pepper, vinegar and pulse, adding the olive oil and nuts gradually until it reaches the consistency of a thick sauce.
  3. Mix in the cheese.

Note:  It can be preserved in the refrigerator for a week.  If you deep freeze it, you can have it for a few months.

When deep freezing, do not add the cheese and divide it into ½ cup portions.  Defrost a couple of hours before using it and mix in the cheese.



Here is the classic recipe for Basil Pesto:

Basil pesto


  • 3 cups large basil leaves, loosely packed
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2/3 cup pine nuts
  • 3/4 – 1 Cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano


  1. Put all the pesto ingredients, except the olive oil, in a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are minced.
  2. Start adding the olive oil gradually.  Stop  to scrape down the sides of the food processor, if necessary.
  3. Continue adding olive oil until the mixture reaches the consistency of a thick sauce.
  4. Add cheese and mix.


The recipe for Mint Pesto is included in my cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!

Basil pesto

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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22 Responses

  1. That is one fabulous pesto! Flavorful!



  2. Ivy I see you have used mint in this pesto. I do like the “Greek touches” you have made by including the almonds and the graviera. Brilliant! Can’t wait for more of the recipes!

  3. A little while ago I made pesto with oregano after reading a post where you described it. Now you tempt me with a mint version: will do. Thanks for letting us know about the event.

  4. Oh, Ivy, what a WONDERFUL take on pesto! I have tons of mint right now and I may well try this. YUM.

    I have to work on my O foods post, too.

    Happy weekend!

  5. Mmm, I’ve never made mint pesto but it sounds delicious! I’ll have to give it a try 🙂

  6. I’ve made all kinds of pesto but never thought to make a mint one! How delicious!

  7. Thank you for sharing this recipe and reminded us, female foodies about Ovarian Cancer!

    Hugs & Take care

  8. Ivy you are so caring and such a wonderful friend. Your pesto looks delicious, I can’t wait to see the other recipes!

  9. Oh this looks heavenly, Ivy! Thanks so much for participating again 😀

  10. Oooh, I have some mint in my garden. Looking forward to seeing of some of your recipes to make some. Thanks bringing awareness for this problem, which is an affair of all women. Hopefully the younger generation will be much luckier.

  11. Ivy, the mint pesto sauce looks great!

    Angie’s Recipes

  12. Very interesting flavours going on here .. i have made pesto with almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts … but never varied the cheese … love halloumi so I will try this out Ivy!

  13. Delicious pesto! And, so many great uses for it.

  14. Thank you Ivy for your neat descriptions and came to know more about macaroni. Very nice of you.

  15. I saw this in FB & had been wanting to come over.. sounds so refreshing with mint!! beautiful.

  16. Katerina

    Hello Ivy, delightful recipes and your previous post on Issioma moved me so much, as my mother is from Ano Karyes and I spent many happy summers there as a child… Thank you!

  17. Hi Ivy!
    Thanks for spreading the word regarding ovarian cancer!
    I absolutely love pesto!

    P.S. The collection of pepper recipes in which you participated is now finally online…you can find it here: http://www.exeigousto.net/2009/09/21/raccolta-peperoni/


  18. What a terrific pesto with mint & almonds, excellent!

  19. Ben

    Those pictures reminded me so much of rural Mexico, the prickly pears, the cacti, the animals roaming freely, is there a better way to spend a vacation? I’ll try to participate in the event, because good causes are always the more fun 🙂

  20. Cooking for a cause is great!!!I love cooking. I will try that one,PestO…yummy!!!!

  21. I love to eat…I think that one is so delicious…I could ask my wife to cook PestO.

  22. brii

    I love this!!
    can't wait until it stops raining to make this pesto.
    great idea, great event.
    thank you.
    My recent post something new in pink – PInk Saturday

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