Bursting With Basil? Here’s How to Use It
I look forward to growing basil every year in my garden. It’s fragrant, has a multitude of culinary uses and as an added incentive of repelling deer and certain insects away. I have also heard that basil leaves can be rubbed on the skin to keep mosquitoes away.
It also has a long list of medicinal properties as well. According to Mountain Rose Herbs: “European scientists are investigating the use of basil oil as treatment for antibiotic resistant infections with Staphylococcus, Enterococcus, and Pseudomonas.”
The entire plant can be used – flowers can be added to soups or dishes to provide a mild basil flavor, leaves be used in sauces, salads, vinaigrettes, oil, or used for garnishes. Medicinal and repellent uses aside, I grew basil to cook with. I like to make own Italian seasoning (see recipe below).
Check out these delicious recipes to make the most of your summer’s basil bounty.
Italian Seasoning Mix
- 3 tablespoons dried basil
- 3 tablespoons dried oregano
- 3 tablespoons dried parsley
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Combine and stir in all dried seasonings and add to a container with a tight lid.
Basil Infused Butter
Use this butter on meat, bread or on top of veggies for a zesty twist! Try some of these other delicious herbed butter recipes!
- 1/4 cup basil leaves
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch white sugar
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- Set out butter for 20-30 minutes or until softened.
- Place basil leaves and garlic in a food processor; pulse until chopped. Add lemon juice, salt, and sugar and cayenne pepper; pulse to combine. Place butter into basil mixture and process until smooth.
Basil Green Goddess Dressing
- 3 cups firmly packed fresh basil
- 1 cup whole buttermilk
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 green onion, sliced
- 2 cups mayonnaise
- 2 cups sour cream
- 1 tsp. garlic salt
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Process first 4 ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.
- Transfer to a large bowl and whisk in mayonnaise, sour cream, salt and pepper.
- Serve dressing immediately or chill to allow flavors to develop.
There’s just no end to the versatility of the Italian condiment called pesto. A mixture of fresh basil, pine nuts, olive oil and Parmesan cheese, this simple spread can be whipped up in 10 minutes.
To make a creamy basil sauce, use this recipe and add 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream.
- 4 cups fresh basil
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1 cup pine nuts, walnuts or sunflower seeds
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon sun dried tomatoes, optional
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on low until incorporated.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- 5 Roma (plum) tomatoes, sliced
- 1 small cucumber – peeled, sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons mozzarella cheese, diced or sliced thin
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Dash of Italian seasonings
- In a small bowl, add balsalmic vinegar, olive oil and seasonings and stir until incorporated.
- In a large bowl, toss together the tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, basil, and diced mozzarella cheese.
- Add vinaigrette to large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Basil Parmesan Dip
- 1 cup lightly packed basil leaves (about 1/2 ounce)
- 3/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1/4 cup mozarella cheese
- 3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
Place wedges on a baking sheet. Coat with cooking spray; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon pepper and salt. Bake at 375° for 12 minutes or until crisp.
- Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, basil, and next 4 ingredients (through garlic) in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Scrape into a small baking dish and bake for 20 minutes or until cheese has melted.
- Garnish with basil sprigs, if desired. Serve with pita chips.
Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.
Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals.
Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.
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