Sugar-free mint sauce makes the perfect accompaniment to lamb. The vinegar cuts through the fatty meat wonderfully and the mint gives a balancing note of brightness to the rich flavor of the meat. Many store-bought versions are loaded with sugar but it’s very quick and simple to make your own!
Note: mint sauce and mint jelly are not the same thing. Mint sauce is a thin, sour sauce with a vinegar base, while mint jelly is very sweet and very thick.
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Notes on ingredients
There are hundreds of varieties of mint. This recipe works best with simple peppermint or spearmint. Avoid varieties such as chocolate/orange/bergamot mint as those delicate flavors will be overpowered by the vinegar.
The bunch of mint leaves pictured weighed about 80g. However, the exact quantity is not important. Simply make sure you use equal parts vinegar and water, and use enough liquid to cover the chopped mint leaves.
I recommend white wine vinegar. For the same reason we’re using a plain mint flavor, other flavors of vinegar will overpower this sauce. Malt vinegar is too strong in my opinion but you can play around see what you like! Some people use a mix of vinegar, for example, 50:50 white wine vinegar and malt vinegar.
Traditionally, British mint sauce includes sugar to balance the vinegar. However, because sugar is bad for PCOS, I prefer to omit it. If you find the vinegar is too strong, add a granulated sweetener of your choice. Truvia is a popular choice with many people. The sugar alcohols in artificial sweeteners do not agree with everyone, so be mindful of this if you do choose to use an artificial sweetener.
Tips for making mint sauce
- Wash and dry the mint thoroughly, especially if it’s not organic mint (see mint and PCOS below).
- Remove the mint leaves from the stems. The stems don’t add any flavor and would be difficult to chew through.
- Finely chop the leaves using a sharp knife. I wouldn’t use a food processor as you might very easily end up with mint leaf puree instead of mint sauce.
- If you are using sweetener, add it before the hot water so it can dissolve and be evenly distributed through the sauce.
- Make sure there is enough liquid to cover the leaves.
Mint and PCOS
There was a fascinating study done in Turkey that found that two cups of spearmint tea a day significantly reduced the amount of androgens (male hormones) in women with PCOS. The women involved in the trial reported a significant reduction in their unwanted hair growth. The study only tested spearmint, not peppermint. Therefore, for the health benefits related to PCOS, it would be best to use spearmint to make mint sauce.
Make sure to wash the mint you use thoroughly, especially if it is not organic. The herbicides and pesticides used in commercial farming are endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with hormonal systems. As PCOS is a hormonal disorder, endocrine disruptors should be avoided as much as possible.
Ratios for mint sauce
This recipe can easily be adjusted to make any quantity. Simply use equal parts hot water and vinegar, and use enough liquid to cover the finely chopped leaves. Then, add sweetener to taste.
Storing mint and mint sauce
Mint keeps better if it is kept in a jar of water in the fridge. I pack mine in tight to reduce the risk of spills. You could also keep the mint in a jar on a windowsill or in the crisper drawer of your fridge.
Because vinegar acts as a preservative, this sauce should keep for 2-3 months in the fridge if the leaves are covered with liquid. Personally, I would just make as much as is needed and keep it for no more than a week.
Mint sauce is the perfect accompaniment for lamb. Mint starts growing back right when the spring lambs arrive. Mint sauce is quite strong, so a little goes a long way. To complete your meal try Oven-Roasted Spring Asparagus and Low GI Boiled Baby Potatoes. It makes a delicious spring meal!
Sugar Free Mint Sauce
- Chopping board
- Sharp knife
- Mason jar
- 1 bunch of fresh mint
- 5 tbsp hot water
- 5 tbsp white wine vinegar (not white vinegar)
- 1 tsp granulated sweetener (optional)
- Wash and dry the mint. Pull the leaves from the stems and finely chop.
- Put the chopped mint leaves in a glass jar. Add the sweetener if using, then pour the hot water over the mint leaves. Stir and allow to cool, about 10 minutes.
- Add the white wine vinegar, cover, and leave it in the fridge for at least one hour to allow flavors to infuse. Making the sauce the day before is preferable.