A couple of weeks ago, while shopping for groceries, I spotted a big, beautiful bunch of fresh mint, and I felt compelled to buy it. I don’t normally find it in huge bunches like that, and I got really excited thinking of all kinds of things I wanted to make with it.
My favorite way to enjoy fresh mint is in a nice green smoothie. I particularly love it paired with lime and avocado, for a mojito-inspired smoothie blend, but I’ve been doing some experiminting (hehe) and I’ve found some other tasty combinations that I’m really loving lately.
One of my favorite concoctions was this Pear Vanilla Mint Smoothie. I’m not sure what prompted me to try mint with pear and vanilla, but I’m glad I did! I was pleasantly surprised by this flavor trio. It’s fresh, slightly sweet and fruity, with just a tiny hint of vanilla.
Pear and Mint – An Antioxidant Super Duo
Pears offer an excellent dose of fiber and anti-inflammatory, antioxidant flavenoids. Recently, new analysis of the Nurse’s Health Study has shown that among all fruit and vegetable flavenoids, the combination of pears and apples appears to lower the risk of type II diabetes the most effectively and consistently. Research has also found that pear intake is linked to a lower risk in esophageal, stomach, and colorectal cancers due to their unique fiber and phytonutrient content. It is important when buying pears to try to purchase organic whenever possible, as much of the fiber and health benefits are found in the skins (unfortunately this is also where you’ll find a high concentration of pesticides, if they are grown conventionally).
Mint has been shown to have one of the highest antioxidant capacities of any food. It is a soothing and calming herb, that has been used for thousands of years to ease indigestion. It may also be helpful for individuals suffering from symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Many even claim that mint has mood-boosting effects.
I’m looking forward to later this spring and summer when our backyard is teaming with mint plants. Mint is one of those plants that will just grow, and grow, and GROW. It can easily take over your garden. It’s kind of exciting, though, especially since most of the plants I try to grow die within a few weeks. Mint will not only grow like crazy with very little maintenance, it comes back year after year. Even if you’re not a green thumb, I suggest growing yourself some mint. Soon you’ll be enjoying unlimited refreshing smoothies all summer long, no mint purchase necessary.
Pear Vanilla Mint Smoothie
1 cup of filtered water
small handful of raw cashews or almonds* (I used about 8 cashews)
5-10 mint leaves
2 handfuls of spinach (or another leafy green, I loved it with beet greens)
1 organic pear, chopped and frozen (leave skin on)
half of a small organic apple, chopped
1/2 tsp vanilla
squeeze of fresh lemon (I don’t measure, just cut lemon in half and squeeze in some juice, maybe a teaspoon)
handful of ice
2 inch chunk of frozen banana (optional, adds a bit more creaminess/sweetness)
Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender. I start with the nuts, water, spinach, and mint and blend until no pieces of nuts or greens remain. Then add the rest of ingredients and blend until smooth.
*You can also use a half cup of water plus a half cup of almond or cashew milk instead of blending the raw nuts with the cup of water.