Mint & Pea Pesto Crostini

Cooking for a Crowd, Recipes, Small Plates & Snacks, Weekend Cooking
mint and pea crostini
mint and pea crostini

Photo: Leigh Loftus

It started at the Farmer’s Market when I decided I needed to make pesto sauce. The weather was gorgeous, I was wearing a sundress and it seemed like the right thing to do.

Because there is a saying about the best laid plans and how they never work out or something like that, I could not find one piece of basil at the farmer’s market. Sure, there were lovely basil plants abound, but my ability to nurture anything, plants included, is a resource that remains untapped. Also, a half-grown basil plant would probably not make the ideal pesto. That’s just speculation.

So, I thought fast on my feet and picked up a bunch of mint. Actually, what I was really thinking was “if I can’t make basil pesto, I’ll make mojitos.” Since it was noon and I have clients that depend on me not to be drinking mojitos at noon, I decided to see what else I could slam together with mint. I remembered reading a tweet from someone over the weekend that talked about mint and pea pesto. Suddenly, the bag of frozen peas in my freezer had a purpose.

mint and pea crostini

Easy Entertaining: Mint & Pea Pesto Crostini
Recipe type: Small Plates & Snacks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • 1½ cups frozen peas, defrosted*
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan, plus additional for garnish
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves, plus additional for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 large whole-grain baguette cut into ½-inch thick slices and toasted

  • For me, this 1½ cups was a little less than a 10-ounce bag because I had already used some of the peas. If you're feeling daring, throw in the whole bag and I'm sure you'll still get great results.
  1. Toast your baguette. Lay the slides on a baking sheet and place them in a 350 degree F oven for approximately 8-10 minutes, flipping them over halfway through cooking so that the sides brown easily.
  2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a small food processor (such as a Cuisinart 4-Cup Chopper/Grinder) place peas, Parmesan cheese, garlic, fresh mint, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Pulse to combine. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil until the mixture is combined and about the consistency of a traditional guacamole.
  3. Place a heaping tablespoon of the pea/mint mixture onto each slice of crostini. If desired [translation: if you want to make it look pretty] garnish with extra mint and cheese. I think the cheese is neither here nor there but the extra mint adds a nice pop of flavor to the final product. Depending on how big your baguette is, this should make 12-18 pieces, serving 6-9 people as an appetizer or snack.
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    Wine on Wednesday: Nine Walks Sauvignon Blanc
    August 15, 2011 at 12:24 am

    […] opt for simple pairings like parmesan puff pastry twists, goat cheese stuffed dates or a simple mint and pea pesto crostini. If you’re pairing the wine with a meal, look for something a little bit more complex, like […]

  • Reply
    Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray
    June 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    I love your blog! It is so pretty! These appetizers look perfect for sumer, they look delish!

  • Reply
    June 8, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    MMMM. This looks INCREDIBLE!!

  • Reply
    June 8, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    These look so tasty and I love that they are bite size! I also have been loving your “Easy Entertaining” ideas. They are all great for summer and any quick get together -thanks!

  • Reply
    June 8, 2011 at 6:32 am

    I have now heard of pea pesto twice. This must be a sign…graduation season is upon us. Good thing appetizers are welcome at parties! This will be a hit! Thanks for sharing! It looks so so yummy!

  • Reply
    June 8, 2011 at 3:48 am

    That sounds so fresh and delicious! Great pesto recipe.

  • Reply
    June 7, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Look at that stunning green color! I love when things just come together.

  • Reply
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    June 7, 2011 at 11:59 am

    That looks delicious and I like the idea of using pantry or freezer ingredients for times when you haven’t had time to shop! Lucky I have some herbs growing here πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    June 7, 2011 at 11:58 am

    There are so many interesting, lovely ways to make pesto…this sounds refreshing, with the mint and peas.

  • Reply
    June 7, 2011 at 11:48 am

    So beautiful and fresh looking! I am sure it tasted absolutely beautiful.

  • Reply
    June 7, 2011 at 11:27 am

    great change up..I would have given up and had mojitos!! lol the color is amazing!!


    I sent your champagne post to my uncle!! he loves trying out new bubbly


  • Reply
    June 7, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Peas and mint are naturals together. I’ve made a pea puree with similar ingredients. Oh that fresh color!
    But I do love this idea for an hors d’oeuvre…..and what’s wrong with a mojito to go along with that??!!

  • Reply
    Blond Duck
    June 7, 2011 at 10:48 am

    That looks fantastic!

  • Reply
    June 7, 2011 at 9:40 am

    That is a good plan, and what a bunch of adorably tempting little things these make!!:) They looked green and healthy, and I mean it in a good and delicious way! I am up for these, anytime:)
    Great thinking does comes with sundresses, which I too, share the same passion for πŸ˜‰

  • Reply
    The Harried Cook
    June 7, 2011 at 3:32 am

    This sounds like perfection to me! I love the classic peas&mint combination & this would make me very, very happy. This is going into my ‘must make’ folder in my bookmarks! Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    June 7, 2011 at 3:31 am

    What a fabulous idea! I’m especially loving this since I’m allergic to nuts, which are normally in basil pesto. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  • Reply
    Maria @ Scandifoodie
    June 6, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    I made a similar pea dish recently and loved it. So simple yet so delicious!

  • Reply
    June 7, 2011 at 1:50 am

    Mmm I love pesto. I often make basil or asparagus pesto, but have yet to make pea. These look and sound delicious!

  • Reply
    June 7, 2011 at 12:58 am

    Pea pesto has been my radar for a long time – love the addition of mint! This is so bright and refreshing – the perfect spring treat!

  • Reply
    Christina @ Sweet Pea's Kitchen
    June 7, 2011 at 12:47 am

    What a wonderful idea! This pesto sounds amazing…I am bookmarking it to try at one of our summer parties! Can’t wait to try it! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Nami @ Just One Cookbook
    June 7, 2011 at 12:03 am

    Sundress! So envious. It’s been so cold and I’m still wearing winter clothes! >_< I love your pea + mint pesto. Looks so delicious. I can't wait to enjoy summer with the rest of people!

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Hi Maris, wow…this looks amazing!!! This has gone into my “must try soon” file! Have a great day!!!!

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    I love the combination of peas and mint! I hope you got to make some mojitos to enjoy as well :)!

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    This looks so refreshing! A great addition to the grad party I’m helping cook for this weekend πŸ™‚ Thanks!

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    This sounds wonderful! I’ve seen other pea-based pestos but still haven’t tried making one yet. Now I need to add mint to my garden herbs πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Shari @ Chicago Cuisine Critique
    June 6, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Yum! Looks delicious.

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    This looks and sounds so wonderful! I can’t wait to try this at our dinner soiree!

  • Reply
    Sawsan@chef in disguise
    June 6, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Love the colors
    love the flavors
    love the picture

    the verdict..have to make these as soon as I get some mint

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    I guess great minds think alike because I also make pea crostini this weekend! So weird about the basil being MIA! But this sounds like a fabulous fix!

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Oh Maris…this pesto looks so good. Like the combination of peas and mint…and the color is so beautiful. Will keep in mind next time I have guest. Have a great week πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    A great idea. So fresh and scrumptious! Yummy.



  • Reply
    Baking Serendipity
    June 6, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    This is fantastic! I love recipes that are born from what we have on hand. I have about half a basil plant trying to grow in my backyard and I’m starting to lose confidence in it as it gets warmer and warmer. This is a reliable alternate recipe! Thank you πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Keep trying. Homegrown herbs are magic as is this creation. GREG

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Nicely done! I totally feel you on the “raising plants” thing. I’ve tried to grow herbs in my city apartment twice. The first time, I killed them. The second time, my dog ate them all (she loves potting soil…it’s a problem).

  • Reply
    emily (a nutritionist eats)
    June 6, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    I have always wanted to try this…although mojitos are always fun too. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Samantha @ Bikini Birthday
    June 6, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    I love the mint/pea combination. It works so well. These crostini sound awesome… especially with some home made baguette!

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    How creative! I love how pretty it looks, too.

  • Reply
    Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets
    June 6, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Love this refreshing spin on pesto — what a great starter dish!

  • Reply
    Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen
    June 6, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Ooh! I am growing fresh mint this summer and it is already coming up. Gotta try this!!

  • Reply
    Nelly Rodriguez
    June 6, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Oh this is something I need to try. Bread is the greatest vessel of all times!

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    The color just pops and look so summery! Great change up from your original plans! I’d still make the mojito to go with the appetizer!!

  • Reply
    Sarah Caron
    June 6, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    That looks incredible. And oh, sweet carbs. I miss crostini so … soon though.

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Wow these look delicious and perfect for summer!!:)

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Great idea – I always love mint and peas together! And, I am also a big fan of frozen peas.

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    *swoon*…I love this! And, I believe Mint & Pea Pesto Crostini in one hand and Mojito in another would be perfect! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    A plum by any other name
    June 6, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Love that your mind turned quickly to mojitos. The pea pesto sounds just as nurturing. But in a different kind of way. πŸ˜‰

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    I hit up the farmers market this weekend too! Such a lovely experience- I cannot get enough πŸ™‚ This pesto looks fantastic- and a perfect topper to those crostinis. I hope you have a nice week πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Such a cool idea and I have so much mint on hand. I’m glad it uses frozen peas too, cheaper and I always have some in the freezer.

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Maris, this crostini would be perfect for the appetizer portion of the Get Grillin’ event I am hosting with Cookin’ Canuck. Please submit this and any two others if you wish πŸ™‚ Love the color!

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Great last-minute change up! I too had that problem last week at the Daley Plaza farmers market: tons of herbs, all in pots. No growing for me!

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Great idea! I can’t wait to go to the farmer’s market this Saturday. I think you should give herbs a go – I think you could grow them.

  • Reply
    June 6, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    I love your creativity! This looks like the perfect summer hor ‘derve. I am pretty sure I spelled that wong!

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