When herbs come into season, I begin to dream of how to use them. This Mint Basil Ricotta Dip is my latest herb adventure – a true summery delight.
It’s relatively easy to figure out ways to use mint and basil separately.
Given the chance, I’d use mint in almost every meal while it grows in abundance during the late spring and summer. I adore my Minty Couscous and add fresh mint leaves to the lovely lettuce I get from my Norman’s Farm Market CSA. Mint goes well in hot weather beverages too. Think about Ginger Mint Agave Soda or a Pineapple Mint Shrub.
Basil is another of my favorite herbs. Whether you simply mix pesto with pasta, or make a fancier dish, basil is a magical staple at this time of year. (For a fancier dish, try Spiralized Zucchini with Pesto, Tomatoes, and Corn or mix basil with sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese.) Don’t forget appetizers such as bruschetta and beverages. I am a rhubarb fan as well as a summer drink lover, so the thought of a Rhubarb Basil Cocktail definitely appeals to me.
But pairing fresh mint and basil takes these fragrant and wonderful herbs to a whole new level. I discovered that they go well together from one of my favorite food reference books, The Flavor Bible.
The “base” for the Mint Basil Ricotta Dip is ricotta, whipped with a bit of cream cheese for a hint of extra creaminess. I got the idea for whipping the ricotta from an appetizer at a local restaurant. There it was simple whipped ricotta. Although delicious, I found it a bit bland. Nice but missing something in my book.
And that’s where the herbs come in. They provide just enough flavor. Turning the cheese mixture into a dip worthy of your next pot luck or dinner party, they elevate without overwhelming.
Use whatever “dip vehicle” you choose. Cut up vegetables, crackers, or sliced baguette all work.
Typically, I would provide this dip as an appetizer. However, it also works well in a meal consisting of small plates. It’s not Spanish in origin, but it fits comfortably into what that country calls tapas.
Tips for Making Mint Basil Ricotta Dip
- Use good ricotta Of course, homemade is best. But when time is short, I opt for store-bought.
- Herbs Fresh-picked herbs are the best in this dip. If you buy herbs at the store or from a farm stand, smell them to make sure they are fragrant. You can preserve fresh basil for use out-of-season by pureéing the fresh herb with a bit of olive oil, then freezing it. When I cannot find fresh basil, I use fresh frozen. But no dried herbs – ever. Besides the difference in taste, dried herbs don’t have the bright green color of fresh.
- Mixing the ingredients A mini food processor is the ideal way to mix up this dip in a jiffy without too much mess. While you can use a regular size processor or even a good blender, the small amount of dip makes a smaller machine preferable.
- Spicing it up Although I like the delicate taste of this dip, you could spice it up a bit. If you want to do that, consider adding a pinch of Aleppo pepper or a small clove of roasted garlic.
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month’s theme is Tapas Party! Our host is Coleen who blogs at The Redhead Baker.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats it’s a virtual party. Each month the host chooses the theme and members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party. Then you can hop from blog to blog to check them out. Now come along and see all of the delicious tapas-inspired dishes!
- Merlot Sangria — Shockingly Delicious
- Mint Basil Ricotta Dip — Mother Would Know (you’re here!)
- Spanish Tapas Chicken Thighs — Creative Culinary
- Tapas-Syle Meatballs (Albondigas en Salsa) — Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Patatas Bravas (Gluten Free) — The Heritage Cook
- Air Fried Apple Pie Empanadas — The Redhead Baker
Mint Basil Ricotta Dip
A simple dip that uses fresh herbs to elevate whipped ricotta to new heights. A great addition to any pot luck, dinner, or tapas party.
- 6 tablespoons finely minced fresh basil 1 oz or 32 g
- 1 &1/2 tablespoons finely minced fresh mint 1/4 oz or 10 g
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 8 ounces ricotta cheese 230 g
- 2 ounces cream cheese 60 g
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine the basil, mint, olive oil, ricotta, and cream cheese in a small food processor. Pulse until the cheeses and herbs are well combined, but the herbs remain visible.
Refrigerate the mixture for at least 30 minutes. When the flavors have blended, add salt and pepper to taste.
If you don't have a small food processor, use an immersion blender.