Flavor of the Month

27 Ways to Use Basil

As familiar as basil is, we sometimes rely on basil as just a garnish or paired with tomatoes, and that’s it. Here is 27 Ways to use Basil that are not only unique but delicious!

  1. Make a Basil Simple Syrup – Bring 1 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup washed basil leaves to a simmer on the stove. Simmer for 5 min, stirring occasionally.You also can squeeze in some fresh lemon or lime juice. Let the syrup cool. Pour through a fine sieve to catch all basil leaves. Use syrup in strawberry lemonade in place of sugar; stir in sweet tea; pour over fresh strawberries; use in cakes; mix into cocktails
  2. Use in a Caprese Salad – Generally, a caprese salad consists of ripe slices of tomato, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves with a balsamic vinegar glaze. It quintessentially summer in a bite. Try mixing it up with slices of nectarines in place of tomato. It is delicious!
  3. Make PestoClick Here for the Recipe
  4.  Make a Basil Vinaigrette – In a food processor, blend 1 garlic clove until minced. Add in 1 cup of packed basil leaves, with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Pulse and add 1/4 cup EVOO, 1 1/2 cup of champagne vinegar (or any mild vinegar; white wine vinegar or rice wine), and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Pulse until smooth and emulsified. Serve over a panzanella salad, or serve over grilled fish, grilled chicken, or roasted lamb.
  5. Basil in Ricotta Cheese – I just learned to make fresh ricotta cheese recently, and its so simple. Just follow this recipe, and add in fresh basil. It would work just fine with store bought ricotta too!
  6. Basil in Salad – Here is a few ideas;
    1. Slice the tomatoes, wedge the fresh peaches, pick off the basil leaves, and slice the red onion thinly, and toss to coat in a very simple balsamic vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper.
    2. Add fresh corn kernels, diced cherry tomatoes, diced avocado, diced, seeded and peeled cucumbers, and fresh basil. Toss in a red wine vinaigrette (red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, minced shallots, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
    3. Diced cherry tomatoes, basil leaves, fresh mozzarella or feta cheese with a simple balsamic vinaigrette.
    4. Cubed cantaloupe, basil leaves (julienned), green olives, red onion thinly sliced, fresh mozzarella balls, quartered; tossed with red wine vinegar, EVOO, lime juice, salt and pepper – Get the Recipe Here!
  7. Basil Ice CreamClick Here for Recipe – macerate strawberries with sugar and top ice cream
  8. Basil in Hummus – just make Hummus according to your favorite recipe, add 12 fresh basil leaves into food processor for every 4 cups. (3 leaves per cup)
  9. Basil Compound ButterLearn How to Make Your Own Butter Here – Chop basil into a fine mince and add to butter, add in a squeeze of lemon juice and crack in some white pepper. Incorporate into room temperature butter. Serve with grilled corn, roasted vegetables or on dinner rolls.
  10. Basil in BruchettaTry it Out Here
  11. Basil Infused Oil – Tear the 1 bunch of leaves off of the basil and place in a blender with 1 cup olive oil. Puree until smooth. Pour mixture into a large saucepan or skillet and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a sterilized airtight jar or bottle. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 week. – Toss with pasta and top with fresh basil and Parmesan, or make an amazing vinaigrette with the basil EVOO and a peach balsamic vinegar.
  12. Basil in Soup – Make a Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup, or a Zucchini-Basil Soup.
  13. Basil on Pizza – whether its delivery, Digiorno, or homemade, basil is never a bad idea! Throw in some tomatoes, garlic, and balsamic vinegar glaze, and call it a day!
  14. Basil in Water – Infuse your water with lemon, raspberries, basil and mint.
  15. Basil and Fruit – Basil goes extremely well with peaches, blueberries, strawberries, apricots, persimmons, nectarines, pineapple, raspberries, and watermelon.
  16. Basil and Vegetables – Basil goes extremely well with green and white beans, bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, corn, cucumber, eggplant, fennel, onions, peas, potatoes, spinach, summer squash, tomatoes, and zucchini
  17. Basil in smoothies – Seriously, take any combination from #16 and #17 and go to town, with exceptions….I’m sure onions and potatoes would not highlight basil and strawberries in a smoothie, but if you think so, go for it. Here is some ideas:           Basil + Spinach + Pineapple + Peaches = Yum!    Basil + Strawberries + Mint + Raspberries = Delicious!
  18. Substitute Lettuce with Basil Leaves on a Sandwich – Especially on a panini or a grilled cheese. It is really good on a BLT too!
  19.  Basil in Pasta – this is kind of obvious, but fresh herbs in anything, especially pasta, makes a world of difference! Take basil pesto and toss with pasta, add Parmesan cheese, some tomatoes, spinach, edamame, with fresh basil. Add chicken or shrimp and you have a full meal!
  20. Basil in Cocktails – add Basil Simple Syrup (#1) to your drinks; make Basil Tea (#23), let cool, and pour into ice cube trays, chill your drinks; Garnish with basil or infuse with fresh basil; Pour Champagne over Basil Ice Cream (#8) and garnish with fresh strawberries; Since Basil and Mint are closely related in flavor, make a mojito with basil instead of mint. Combine 8 to 10 basil leaves and 1/4 lime wedge in a sturdy glass. Use a muddler to crush the basil and lime to release the basil oils and lime juice. Add 2 more lime wedges and 2 tablespoons sugar, and muddle again to release more lime juice. Don’t strain the mixture. Fill the glass almost to the top with ice. Pour 1 1/2 ounces of white rum over the ice, and fill the glass with club soda. Stir, taste, and add more sugar if desired. Garnish with one more lime wedge.
  21. Fry Basil Leaves for Garnish – That’s right! Preheat some oil in a skillet, flash fry your basil leaves for about 2 minutes or until crisp. Garnish soup, pasta, or salad with a crispy basil leaves!
  22. Make Basil Tea – chop up 3 tablespoons of fresh basil and add to your hot water. Let steep for 5 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove the leaves. Sweeten and enjoy!
  23. Make a Basil Compound Butter – If you want to be adventurous, make your own butter! Here is the recipe I found that works the best, and on my first try, it turned out great! I used a kitchen aid stand mixer, but you can certainty make butter with a food processor too! Here is a link to a recipe that uses a food processor. Just mix into chopped basil leaves, salt and pepper. Use over toast, roasted fish, veggies, or even a baked potato!
  24. Make a Sweet Basil Jelly – This is soo good over roasted chicken, a grilled cheese or mixed into cream cheese as a dip. Pick off leaves and chop them up in a food processor. Add to a saute pan OFF the heat. Crush basil well using the bottom of a glass or bottle. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil, slowly! Boil for 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Let stand for 15 minutes. Strain 1 1/2 cups of the basil liquid through a sieve into a bowl and then back into the pot.  Add 2 tablespoons white vinegar, a pinch of salt and 3 1/2 cups of sugar and bring to hard boil, stirring. When the boil cannot be stirred down, add 3 ounces of pectin. Return to a hard boil and boil for exactly 1 minute, then remove from heat. Skim off the foam and pour jelly into hot, sterilized jelly glasses, leaving 1/2 inch of headroom. Seal at once with melted paraffin or sterilized two-piece lids. Makes four 8-ounce glasses.
  25. Make a Basil Soda – Use the Basil Simple Syrup (#1) to make a refreshing soda. Just add lime or lemon juice if you didn’t before to the simple syrup after its cooled. Fill a tall glass with ice, add a small amount of syrup to taste and fill with club soda or seltzer water. Mix well and garnish with a basil leaf. For an even cooler drink, add a bundle of fresh mint into the simple syrup to make a Basil and Mint Soda.
  26. Add Basil in Eggs – Add chopped basil to your scramble, omelet or fritatta to  brighten it up.
  27. Basil Infused Vinegar – Use a mild vinegar such as a rice wine, white wine or champagne. Take 4 cups of choice vinegar and 3 cups of fresh basil leaves lightly packed. Combine in pot and bring to a simmer on the stove for about 15 minutes. Strain through a sieve and store in an airtight bottle.

 

 

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