Hint of Mint

Delectable Dime

by Faith Escher

Fresh mint brings life to a dish like nothing else can. The herb is uniquely appreciated by all of the senses for its lovely fragrance, it's daring taste, it's pronounced texture and it's versatility in possible uses. It is beautiful as a garnish and it is pleasant as a flavor.

Affordable to purchase and easy to grow, mint makes itself an accessible addition to a myriad of recipes. Mint contributes a simple elegance and a distinct flavor that gives a dish personality and makes it special. It can be added to warm or cold dishes. It can be blended, minced, torn or left whole.

Mint is delightful when added to salad dressings, revitalizing when included in beverages, and satisfying when incorporated into a main dish. It is wonderful in that it pairs with both the sweet and savory and can be mixed into an entree or a dessert. While it is light enough not to overpower a dish, its presence is rarely overlooked because of its distinct and refreshing qualities.

This week’s meal plan aims to highlight and incorporate mint in various and subtle ways. The dishes are exciting and delicious, as well as diverse in their leading flavors, textures and provenances. As you make and enjoy these wonderful recipes, add some fresh mint to your water and allow yourself to be creative.
 

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Total Budget: $100 or less

All recipes serve 4

NOTE: Garlic (2) = how many recipes the ingredient garlic is used in. For example, “Garlic (2)” means we will be using garlic in two of our recipes for this week.

The Shopping List For All 5 Dinners

  • 1 Large garlic bulb - $0.50 (3)
  • 1 3 Inch piece of fresh ginger - $0.50 (2)
  • 1 Large white onions - $0.89 (1)
  • 2 Japanese eggplants - $1.50 (1)
  • 4 Limes - $0.80 (2)
  • 1 Red onion - $0.79 (1)
  • 4 Medium tomatoes - $3.00 (1)
  • 1 Red bell pepper - $0.99 (1)
  • 1 16 oz Bag of Organic coconut sugar - $3.99 (3)
  • 1 Bag of lemons, 4 or more - $1.49 (1)
  • 1 lb of Carrots - $1.99 (1)
  • 2 Blocks of firm tofu - $5.00 (1)
  • 1 Container of rice vinegar - $1.99 (2)
  • 16 oz Bag of cashews - $3.29 (1)
  • Soy sauce or Tamari - $1.99 *GF version is usually more expensive (3)
  • 1 8 oz Jar of chili-garlic sauce - $2.04 (2)
  • Lemon grass stalks - $1.50 (1)
  • 8 oz Thin rice noodles - $2.69 (1)
  • 1 Cucumber - $0.79 (1)
  • 1 5 oz Jar of sesame oil - $2.29 (1)
  • 1 Bag of mung bean sprouts - $1.99 (1)
  • 1 8 oz Can sliced bamboo shoots - $1.39 (1)
  • 1 Big bunch of mint leaves - $1.50 (5)
  • 1 Bunch of cilantro - $1.00 (1)
  • 1 Bunch of scallions or green onions - $1.50 (2)
  • 1 Bunch of basil - $2.99 (1)
  • 2 Thai red chillies - $1.00 (1)
  • 1 Bag of tuscan kale - $2.50 (1)
  • 1 Large head of broccoli - $1.50 (1)
  • 1 Box of Annie Chun’s Pad Thai Noodles - $2.59 (1)
  • 8 oz Container of tamarind concentrate - $2.49 (1)
  • 2 10 oz packages of organic ramen noodles - $4.00 (1)
  • 4 Ears of corn - $3.00 (1)

$65.00 - $70.00  *Prices may fluctuate depending on tax, store, sale and season. I paid $65.47 this week.

If you followed us last week you already have the following; however, if this is your first week you will need to make these additional purchases (appx $12.48) or substitute with ingredients you have in your cupboard.

  • Salt and Pepper shakers - $3.49 (2)
  • Olive oil -  $3.99 (4)
  • 1 Bag of quinoa - $5.00 (1)

Recipe No. 1

Thai Vegan Spicy Mint Noodles | Cook Time: 25 Minutes

Source: Recipris: Leaf it to Pri | Link to Instructions

  • 1 ½ tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ tbsp. grated ginger
  • ½ white onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 2 Thai red chillies
  • 16 oz. chopped tofu
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tbsp. light thin soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. tamarind concentrate
  • ½ box of Annie Chun’s Pad Thai Noodles
  • a generous handful of mint leaves

Note: Any type of Pad Thai Noodles can be used in this recipe, but Annie Chun has a variety of Pad Thai Noodles happen to be gluten free and are absolutely delicious! Tamarind concentrate can be challenging to find in some stores, but can typically be found at a local Asian food market if it is not near the soy sauce and condiments aisle in your market.

Recipe No. 2

Vegan Bun Chay | Cook Time: 30 Minutes

Source: The Wanderlust Kitchen | Link to instructions

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mushroom soy sauce*
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated lemongrass (white part only)
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • 1 tablespoon water

For the Bún Chay: 

  • 8 ounces thin rice noodles
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 1 large bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup English cucumber half moons
  • 1 cup cilantro stems and leaves
  • 1 cup Thai basil leaves
  • 1 cup mint leaves
  • 1 cup chopped peanuts
  • Lime wedges for serving

For the Caramelized Tofu:

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil*
  • 14 ounces firm tofu, sliced into bite-sized rectangles
  • 2 teaspoons mushroom soy sauce*
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar

Note: The recipe calls for mushroom soy sauce, but since that condiment is not widely accessible I used tamari. Also this recipe calls for both peanut and sesame oil, but since sesame and olive oil were already both on the shopping list, I just omitted the peanut oil. If you happen to have peanut oil on hand or have a flexible budget you can include the peanut oil as well.

Recipe No. 3

Laotian Eggplant with Tomatoes, Onion, and Mint | Cook Time: Under 30 Minutes

Source: The Vegetarian Times | Link to instructions

  • 1 Tbs. vegetable oil*
  • 1 lb. Japanese eggplant, trimmed and diced
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 Tbs. dark brown sugar*
  • 2 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tsp. lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chile-garlic sauce, such as Huy Fong
  • 3 cups bean sprouts
  • 1 8 oz can sliced bamboo shoots, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

Note: *I used olive oil and organic coconut sugar instead of vegetable oil and brown sugar.

Recipe No. 4

Cold Sesame Noodles with Broccoli and Kale | Cook Time: 45 Minutes

Source: Epicurious | Link to Instructions

  • 1 large head of broccoli, cut into large florets with some stalk attached
  • 2 garlic cloves, 1 finely grated, 1 thinly sliced, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sambal oelek*
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar, divided*
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil, divided*
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more
  • 3 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced, plus more for serving
  • 1 3 inch piece ginger, peeled, cut into 1-inch matchsticks
  • 4 cups chopped Tuscan kale leaves
  • 2 3 oz packages dried ramen noodles
  • Torn mint leaves and toasted sesame seeds (for serving)

Note: *Use chili garlic sauce instead of the sambal oelek, rice vinegar instead of red wine vinegar and olive oil instead of vegetable oil to keep the shopping list affordable.

Recipe No. 5

Quinoa with Corn, Scallions and Mint | Cook Time: 30 Minutes

Source: Epicurious | Link to instructions

  • 4 ears corn, shucked
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted*
  • 1 tablespoon mild honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint

Note: This recipe calls for butter, but I used olive oil instead to make it plant based and vegan friendly.


References

BON APPÉTIT. (2016, December). Cold Sesame Noodles with Broccoli and Kale. Retrieved

           July 13, 2017, from http://www.epicurious.com website:

           http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/cold-sesame-noodles-with-broccoli-

           and-kale

Epicurious. (2006, August). Quinoa with Corn, Scallions and Mint. Retrieved July 13, 2017,

           from www.epicurious.com website:

           http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/quinoa-with-corn-scallions-and-mint-

           235480

Gulati, P. (2014, May 12). Thai Vegan Spicy Mint Noodles. Retrieved July 13, 2017, from

           http://www.recipris.com website: http://www.recipris.com/2014/05/12/thai-vegan-

           spicy-mint-noodles/

The Vegetarian Times. (2009, July 2). Laotian Eggplant with Tomatoes, Onion, and Mint.

           Retrieved July 13, 2017, from www.vegetariantimes.com website:

           https://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipes/laotian-eggplant-with-tomatoes-onion-and-

           mint

The Wanderlust Kitchen. (N.D.). Vegan Bún Chay. Retrieved July 13, 2017, from

           thewanderlustkitchen.com website: http://thewanderlustkitchen.com/vegan-bun-chay-

           vietnamese-noodle-salad/


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Faith Escher

Faith is passionate about pursuing ways to simplify life in order to help people find the adequate time and resources to cherish and invest in what is important to them. Whether it be traveling, cooking, adventuring, or studying, she desires to treasure the present, while daring to dream big for her future, and the futures of those around her. Faith is an enthusiastic practitioner of American Sign Language and Education.