Mint Leaves In Tomato Sauce – An Absolute Game-Changer

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Does Mint leave in tomato sauce? Yes, it may sound a little strange yet the two foodstuffs can work remarkably well together.

Mint leaves have been used with tomatoes in Greek, Persian, and Cypriot cuisine for centuries and for a lot of the same reasons why you should use them too.  Not only do the mint leaves add an extra layer of flavor to a tomato sauce but they can help balance out any acidity too.  

In this guide, we will look at how mint leaves can add an additional flavor and balance out the acidity in a tomato sauce. We will also look at the health benefits of fresh mint leaves, why mint works well with tomatoes, a typical tomato sauce recipe using mint leaves, and a recipe for meatballs that also uses mint leaves.  

Reasons to Add Mint Leaves to Tomato Sauce

The involvement of mint leaves in a tomato sauce may seem difficult to comprehend yet you will likely wonder why you did not know about it sooner. The fresh, coolness of the mint leaves can add a new round and earthy depth of flavor to the sauce. 

Additional Flavor

As well as flavor, the mint leaves can also add to the thickness of the tomato sauce. Much in the same way, mint leaves can help bind together meatballs too along with breadcrumbs and parsley leaves.

Balancing Out Acidity

It can prove difficult to create a tomato sauce with a truly rounded flavor. Once you break down the tomatoes, you may find that the sauce tastes bitter which is not what you want.

There are various foodstuffs you can add to level out the acidity and a lot of people go with sugar. That can be a risky move as too much sugar can help hide the complex flavor profile. 

As an alkaline, you can also add baking soda to chemically balance out the acidity in your sauce. For a calming influence on your tomato sauce, mint leaves can add a nuanced, earthy flavor.

The freshness can also help balance out the acidity as a final touch to your sauce a few minutes before it is ready. Insist on freshly chopped herbs though to bring out the flavor. 

Health Benefits

You may not realize it right away, but adding fresh mint leaves to your cooking can help out with your health. The herb has been used to help aid an aching abdomen and generally help relieve indigestion.

If you want to help your digestive system after a heavy meal then a cup of mint tea may be just the trick.

Aside from helping you get over a large meal, mint contains Vitamins A, C, D, and E as well as phosphorus and calcium. These properties can boost a body’s immune system and keep an individual healthy.

Rosmarinic acid is another component in mint leaves and this is a formidable antioxidant that can help those who are suffering from asthma and common allergies.

Mint And Tomatoes

When you consider that basil and oregano are typical herbs that you would add to a tomato sauce then the addition of mint does not seem that far-fetched. The herbs are closely related yet the taste of mint is tangibly different to add something else to your tomato sauce. 

Another recipe that includes tomatoes and mint leaves is tabbouleh where you could substitute the parsley and bulgar wheat and then use the remaining ingredients to form a basic salsa Fresca. 

How To Use Mint Leaves In Tomato Sauce

How To Use Mint Leaves In Tomato Sauce

Another herb you should be using in a tomato sauce is basil and it is quite similar to mint. You should treat both the same way by bruising them close to the end of your cooking.

Try not to expose the freshly cut leaves to too much cooking as you can effectively cook off the subtle flavors then end with something that tastes almost medical. For the freshest taste, simply rip up the leaves and throw them into the warm sauce just before you serve it up. 

Tomato Sauce Recipe (Using Mint)

In this recipe, fresh mint leaves are used with basil leaves and freshly squeezed lemon juice.


  • Heat three tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat until it begins to shimmer. 
  • Chop up a medium shallot and cook until soft, which should only take five minutes. Mince up and stir in two cloves of garlic with a quarter teaspoon of crushed red pepper. 
  • Now come your tomatoes you want to throw in a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes then bring it to the boil. Simmer the sauce for around 20 minutes until it has thickened and you can remove it from the heat.
  • Here come your fresh mint leaves and you want to finely chop around a third of a cup with a quarter cup of finely chopped basil leaves. At the same time, mix in two tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  • Once fully combined, you can add some seasoning to get the taste just how you want it. The sauce is ready to be used immediately or you can store it in an airtight container for around a week.
  • Use it in pasta dishes and you should remark on how flavorful it is with the fresh herb leaves, especially the mint. 

Meatballs Recipe (With Mint)

For another combination of tomatoes and mint, try using the leaves to infuse some flavor and become a binding agent for your meatballs. Once you have made the meatballs, you can use them in a typical tomato sauce with some pasta too. 


  • Start by preheating your oven to 425°F and put a pound of ground lamb with a pound of ground beef in a large bowl. Season the meats with plenty of salt and pepper then grate over around four tablespoons of fresh onion.
  • Grate four cloves of garlic with a cup of Pecorino cheese then it is time to add your herbs. For this recipe, you want a cup of freshly and finely chopped mint leaves with a cup of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley.
  • To add even more depth of flavor to your meatballs, throw in the zest of a lemon. Two beaten egg yolks will also help bind the meatballs together, as will a cup of homemade white breadcrumbs which have been soaked in milk to moisten them up. 
  • Finally, add around a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil and use your hands to combine all the ingredients until they are sufficiently mixed. Continue to use your hands or use a scoop to create two-inch large meatballs.
  • With the oven nice and hot, you can place the meatballs on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Bake them for around 15 to 18 minutes until brown and completely cooked through.
  • Warm your tomato sauce and serve the meatballs along with some linguine and perhaps more grated Pecorino cheese. 


For a taste sensation that you may not have been aware of, mint leaves go terrifically well with tomato sauce. Mint and tomato have been combined in recipes such as tabbouleh and are a feature in Persian, Greek, and Cypriot cooking such as stews.

There are various health benefits to involving fresh mint leaves in recipes so you should try growing some to have a ready supply. 

By adding mint leaves to a tomato sauce, you are not only helping your immune system but also adding a new depth of flavor. The mint leaves can help balance out the acidity that you can expect in your sauce once your tomatoes have broken down.

If you decide to include mint leaves in your tomato sauce then not add them in too early as the taste could get medical and taste something akin to toothpaste.

If you want to be subtle then rip them up and scatter them throughout your sauce just before serving for a game-changing wow factor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Type Of Mint Should I Use?

For a more rounded flavor, you should try to find spearmint and steer clear of peppermint if you can help it. Also, you ought to insist on freshly cut herbs instead of dried ones.

Not only should you get a better flavor but the leaves should help thicken the sauce or bind together the meatballs. 

What Options Are Available To Elevate The Flavor Of A Tomato Sauce?

A tomato sauce can be incredibly versatile yet there are several options to create your twist. Of course, freshly cut mint leaves can create an early, fresh flavor that you should want to try. 

Simple additions could be a dash of extra virgin olive oil or a bit more freshly minced garlic cloves. A splash of red wine can also be added earlier with the alcohol burnt off to add some complexity to the sauce.

If you want to add some heat to a tomato sauce then hot pepper flakes can do the trick. For a more subtle, creamy flavor, add some parmesan cheese. Also, feel free to add some cream and butter which can introduce some gloss to the final sauce.

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