Your favorite uses of basil?

catherine-garden(7b)June 4, 2007

I am growing spicy basil, and lettuce basil in very small pots. They are doing well-wished I had planted them in a larger area. Maybe I can transplant?

Anyway, how do you use your basil? Do you have favorite pesto recipes? I'm already salivating!!!


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I love using the basil leaves on my hamburger, instead of lettuce...super delicious!

I also love making a basil dressing for grilled chicken:


1 cup packed basil leaves
1 clove garlic (you can help it along and give it a rough chop, if you like)
1/4 cup lemon juice (the real stuff)
3 tbls. Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Put first three ingredients in blender and mix til blended. Add the EVOO. Maybe a little more, depending on consistency. Drizzle over hot, grilled chicken.

Favorite Pesto:

3 tablespoons pine nuts (toasted)
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic
1 pinch sea salt
1 pinch cracked black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
3 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino
10 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Add first seven ingredients to food processor and pulse til blended. Slowly stream in the EVOO.

I also enjoy cutting a lemon in half and squeezing one half of the juice from it in my pesto. Just brightens up the whole flavor.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 9:48AM
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Basil with fresh tomatoes, good olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Yumm!
Here is a great recipe for orzo with basil:
Orzo is a rice shaped pasta, sold in 1 lb boxes. Barilla is a good brand to purchase.

Heat a heavy, medium sized pot (with lid). Add 3 T butter and melt. Add 1/2 box of orzo to pot, and sautee orzo until it turns a light nutty brown. Add 2 cans of chicken broth to pot. Bring broth to a boil, stirring occasionally. When broth boils, reduce heat to a simmer, cover pot, and cook. Check after 8 minutes. If pot is getting dry, add another 1/2 cup broth. Cook another 5 minutes, checking to be sure that there is enough liquid in the pot. Check for doneness. Orzo should be very 'loose', but not swimming in excess broth. If necessary, add a small amount of broth to orzo.
Place orzo in bowl. Add 3/4 cup fresh finely grated Locatelli cheese, and 3/4 to 1 cup fresh finely sliced basil. Season with pepper. Stir mixture together and serve. (I do not add salt to this dish as the broth and cheese give it enough salt, but some people add salt at the table)
This is a delicious side dish; I have never met anyone who did not like it

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 10:42AM
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cearab: as Rachael Ray would say....YUM-O!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 11:21AM
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CA Kate

Add some of the leaves to a fresh salad. Also, add them to a grilled cheese sandwich.... or any sandwich for that matter.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 12:11PM
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You just HAVE to add some basil to a spag.bol. sauce, don't you? So I do.

I like to arrange alternate slices of tomato and cucumber around a plate, then sprinkle it over with finely chopped basil. Looks good, tastes good.

Apricot Basil Dressing
2 apricots, pitted
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dry basil)
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Combine apricots vinegar and sugar in a blender, whirl until blended. With blender running, slowly add oil until thick and smooth. Stir in basil.

Baked Vegetables with Basil Butter
6 cups mixed sliced vegetables (carrots, cauliflower, capsicum, beans, zucchini, broccoli etc)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves or 2 tablespoons dried basil
2 tablespoons parsley
pinch nutmeg

Put vegetables through a processor until fluffy. Cut 6 pieces foil about 30cm square. Place vegetables evenly on each piece and top each with 1 1/2 tablespoons basil butter. Carefully bring up edges of foil and fold into packets securely, but leaving a little air space inside. Bake at 180°C for 20 minutes until tender.

Basil Mint Orange Pesto
1 cup fresh basil leaves, firmly packed
1 cup fresh mint leaves, firmly packed
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon finely grated orange rind
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil (or more)
salt and pepper to taste

In a processor, blend first 6 ingredients until almost smooth. With machine running, gradually add olive oil; process until smooth. If pesto is dry, mix in more oil by spoonfuls. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made ahead. Press plastic wrap onto surface of pesto. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 days or freeze up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before using.)

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 6:48PM
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Here is one I tried this weekend.

Take a rack of pork ribs and season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and a little paprika. Cover the ribs liberally with fresh basil and sage leaves. Wrap in aluminum foil and bake in oven at 325 for about 2-1/2 hours or until the ribs are tender.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 9:52PM
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cziga(Zone 5 -Toronto)

I BBQ a lot in the summer. Try fish on the BBQ with just some olive oil, lemon juice, salt/pepper and basil leaves sprinkled on top.

Also veggies on the BBQ. Cherry tomatoes, or tomatoes cut in half, in aluminum foil. Just drizzle some olive oil, salt/pepper and sprinkle some basil leaves. Wrap up and BBQ for a couple minutes. Not too long or they will get soggy.

Same thing for potatoes.

Very simply and easy. Fresh parsley goes well along with the Basil in these BBQ ideas as well.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 12:01PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Pesto hands down..

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 12:22PM
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I had some on a hamburger tonight - yummy!
And also added to any sandwich, fresh salads (including chicken salad and fruit salad), or chicken soup, thai peanut butter noodles or satay, pretty much anything! And of course we make a lot of pesto. :)

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 12:20AM
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daisyduckworth, how do you do the grilled cheese and basil sandwiches?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 9:16AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

A few basil leaves between the bread and cheese. I like mustard spread on the bread too, before adding the cheese slices.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 4:48PM
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jannie(z7 LI NY)

Add torn basil leaves to any spaghetti sauce, jarred or homemade.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 9:23AM
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marial1214(Z 6 PA)

For a super delicious quick side dish I toss pasta with olive oil, basil, fresh garlic, tomatoes and lots of chopped fresh basil.

We eat fresh mozerella tomato & basil salad all summer long, drizzled with olive oil and herbs de provence. Slice the cheese and tomatoes. Alternate tomato, mozerella on a plate. Tuck in large sprigs of basil as you go. Drizzle with olive oil, throw some salt & pepper and herbs de provence. Serve. This is the best and is served in many chic restaurants.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 1:11PM
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I just turned the hubby on to a new flavor in omlettes with it.

I tend to be one of those cooks who eyeballs portions, so....

Basically take a couple eggs and scramble them however you normally would

Add your favorite omlette cheese (we tend to prefer american, mozzarella was too stringy but I may have just used too much)

As much fresh basil as you want (I use a ton)

After cooking the omlette, top with fresh tomatoe cubes.


And is there anything as good as some tomatoe, basil, mozzarella, fresh crushed garlic, and EVOO over crusty bread? Definitely one of my favorite summertime treats!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 12:24PM
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SusanC(9b/10a Sunset 17)

This is one of my favorites. It is the traditional starter to a Persian meal in summertime.

Nan va Paneer va Sabzi
(Bread with Cheese and Herbs)

Iranian or other middle-eastern thin sheet bread, or substitute pita bread
Feta cheese
1 bunch each of basil, mint (spearmint) and tarragon
1 bunch green onions
1 bunch radishes

Soak feta cheese in cold water for about 10-15 minutes. Drain the water just before serving.

If using pita bread, seperate the bread along the pocket so that you have 2 pieces, and then tear each piece in half. If using the kind of middle eastern bread that comes in sheets, tear it into similarly sized pieces. Warm the bread in the oven before serving but avoid over-heating it which will dry it out. The bread should be soft and pliable.

Wash the herbs with cold water and let dry. Cut the green onions into 2 - 3 inch pieces, slice the radishes and tear the herbs into small pieces. Mix them all together in a bowl or platter. Serve with bread and feta cheese.

To eat, take a piece of bread, place some feta cheese and some herb mixture in the middle, and wrap the bread around them.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 5:51PM
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I always like "stuffed" bell pepper halves. Just lay out halved bell peppers, put 2-3 whole basil leaves and some sliced tomato on them, drizzle garlic oil over the top and add a dollop of goat cheese. Bake tell cooked (some like them just barely hot and some like them cooked a lot more...)

    Bookmark   June 30, 2007 at 8:58AM
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I'm a purist when it comes to the tomato/mozarella/basil salad. Slice of tomato, slice of frech mozarella, slice of tomato, etc. until you've got what you want. Sprinkle on a chiffonade of basil leaves, sprinkle with the best sea salt or fleurs du sel you can get your hands on, and then drizzle with your favorite virgin olive oil. This is food for the gods.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2007 at 8:11PM
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The Chinese have a dish called BASIL CLAY POT. They steam chicken, cuttlefish, squid and sometimes pig intestine in a sticky, sweet, thick brown sauce for hours in an closed clay pot over an open flame. It is SO DELICIOUS. The sauce seeps into the meats and the long steaming process making the meat so delicate it falls apart in your mouth. And the basil? It gives the dish a fresh, earthy aroma which consumes the senses.

Ooohh I'm craving basil clay pot right now!!!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 1:57PM
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This year I grew Thai basil (purchased in a four inch pot from the farmer's market). I don't even know if it is related to the other basil, and it is probably not interchangeable. Anyway, I sprinkled in Thai basil leaves to a stir fry and it was fantastic. It adds a clean fresh flavour.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2008 at 2:46PM
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cabrita(9b SoCal)

We are growing several types (sweet, Valentino, Thai and opal-purple) since they are supposed to be good tomato companions. Tomatoes did not do that great, but we sure have basil all over the place! We did a recent harvest, cutting the flowering tops and collecting several baskets. Made the classic Genovese pesto (excluding the Thai) and froze flat in zip lock quart containers. This way you can break a piece off and use. A couple of night ago we used some of it as a topping for pizza, just breaking little chunks of the still frozen pesto, add other veggies and cheese and bake. Yummy pizza that was....

I use the Thai basil in Thai dishes, it does not make good pesto.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 4:55PM
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gor-gor(9a Tampa)

Hi, I make pesto and freeze it in ice cube trays. When it's frozen I remove it from the trays and wrap it in aluminum foil and store it in a ziplock bag. Then I use it when I want. One cube covers the small package of tortellini well. (except that I didn't add enough EVOO in this batch so I have to add to it, lol)

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 12:38AM
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Our favorite use of basil (apart from pesto) is this Thai noodle dish, from Real Thai by Nancy McDermon. We eat this pretty much every week during the basil growing season. It works with any kind of basil, in my opinion.

3 c. wide rice noodles, soaked in boiling water for 10 min, then drained.

2 Tbs minced hot peppers
1 Tbs chopped garlic
1 Tbs sugar
1/4 tsp salt
Ground black pepper to taste
3 Tbs fish sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
2-4 Tbs veg. oil
1/4 lb ground pork, beef, turkey, or chicken
3/4 c. chopped basil or mint
small handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered

Get everything ready before you begin. Combine your sugar, salt, pepper in one small bowl, and the fish sauce and soy in another. Put all the other ingredients next to the stove.

Heat a large, deep skillet over med high heat, add oil. When hot, add garlic. Toss 30 sec. Add chiles and toss another 30 sec. Add the ground meat, breaking it up with your spatula. Cook till brown. Add the sugar mixture and toss to mix. Add the fish sauce mixture and stir fry until the sauce bubbles and thickens slightly (~1 min.).

Turn the heat down a bit and add the rice noodles and turn to coat in the sauce, about 1 min. Add the basil, turning to wilt. Add the tomatoes, fold in, and remove from heat. Enjoy! I like to add a bit more fish sauce to my plate of noodles.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 8:03AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I LOVE this thread! I have basil and thought I'd make sure you know that you can pick stems, put them in water, change the water daily, and within a week, they will root! Now you have MORE basil! The benefit of this is you will keep your picked basil stems fresh, and you can pick leaves right off the ones you are rooting in water when you need them, and they won't turn black on you like they do in the fridge.

In a glass, they look like a beautiful houseplant!

Great recipes!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 1:34PM
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ditnc(7 NC)

I have 3 favorite things, but I see some in this post that look fabulous! In addition to insalata caprese (mozzarella, tomato and basil salad) and PESTO already mentioned (I could live on those two things alone!), there's one more favorite.

I make a bread dip using fresh and dried herbs. It's published everywhere (the carabba's dipping spice mix) and goes something like this. I double it, and go heavy on the basil and parsley. I freeze it in a ziploc bag and always have some handy for dipping french or other crispy bread. It thaws practically in an instant.

1 tablespoon minced basil
1 tablespoon chopped parsley (Italian is best)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or ground sea salt
1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon olive oil

Combine all of the ingredients, EXCEPT oil.
Put in a small food processor (I used my little food chopper). Chop briefly until all ingredients are about
the same. Stir in oil. This finalizes the mixture.

TO SERVE: Combine about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the mixture onto a small dipping plate/bowl and add (~3 to 4 tablespoons)olive oil.
Dip sliced bread in mixture.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 4:46PM
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I use it almost daily. In tomato or meatsauce with pasta. cut and folded into cream cheese as a stuffing for fried zucchini blossoms. Sauteed with zucchini, onion, garlic and squash. Put on baked zucchini. Thai basil in thai basil chicken (recipe is online) with glass noodles.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 1:23PM
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Marinades, rubs, pico & some dips/salsas. =)

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 10:48PM
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This is a summertime favorite when I have fresh basil. It is also one of those "use as much as you like" recipes.

Put some pasta on to cook (vermicelli, linguine, etc.) Meanwhile in a saute pan heat some olive oil and saute fresh peeled shrimp seasoned with salt and pepper, along with some chopped garlic and red pepper flakes.

Drain pasta, and stir in the shrimp mixture. Serve with lots of fresh basil on top to mix in, along with chopped salted peanuts.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 10:38AM
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I have not tried one but our paper had an article about a woman that makes syrup from various herbs and other things to pour over ice that she sells from a stall. One of the syrups is watermelon and basil. Which may or may not be a good combination. Try sprinkling chopped basil on watermelon to see what you think. Juicing a watermelon is a crime so I will never make the syrup at home.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 9:03PM
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Peach and basil is also really good! Made a peach cinnamon basil sorbet once-- can't find the recipe now, but it was mighty tasty.

Don't think you'd need to juice the watermelon-- just blend it up! I may try this, it sounds good (when oh when will the watermelon arrive at the farmer's market?)!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 7:10AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Home-made pizza (a Friday night special!). We also love it over a slice of toasted bread, a slab of fresh mozzarella, with a good olive oil. Substitute the bread for a big, grilled portabella mushroom and add some balsamic vinegar along with the oil.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 1:49PM
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Basil fettuccine served with shrimp and butter sauce is great. Take out a frozen ball of basil pasta dough to make fettuccine in January. It will allow you to appreciate your basil so much more.
Possibly my favorite use of basil is to serve home made potato salad on a bed of basil leaves. I have not tried that in the winter months though.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2012 at 1:38PM
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