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Bursting With Basil? Here’s How to Use It

I look forward to growing basil every year in my garden. Check out these 6 delicious recipes to make the most of your summer’s basil bounty.

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 a 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 are used in sauces, salads, vinaigrettes, oil, or used for garnishes. Medicinal and repellent use 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
  1. 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
  1. Set out butter for 20-30 minutes or until softened.
  2. 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
  1. Process first 4 ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  2. Serve dressing immediately or chill to allow flavors to develop.

Besto Pesto

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
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend on low until incorporated.
  2. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Caprese Salad

  • 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
  1. In a small bowl, add balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and seasonings and stir until incorporated.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, basil, and diced mozzarella cheese.
  3. 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 mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Garnish with basil sprigs, if desired. Serve with pita chips.


This article was originally published at Ready Nutrition™ on July 25th, 2013