Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Many Uses of Basil

Want to know a pet peeve of mine?  When I look up a recipe online, that's precisely what I want:  the recipe.  It's rather inconvenient when the blogger gives me a whole backstory on how the concoction originally came from their great great grandmother and how it's the best version for such and such a reason...blah, blah, blah.  I like a good foodie story as much as the next person, but it's the how to that excites me most.  Thus, here are my favorite go-to basil recipes in no particular order.  Enjoy!

Basil Dressing (adapted from Park's Success with Herbs, 1980)*

Basil Dressing is delicious and healthy!
1 large clove garlic (or whatever size you have to achieve the same amount)
1 c salad (vegetable) oil
½ tsp powdered mustard
1 tsp water
1 egg white
½ tsp kosher salt (can omit for salt-free diets)
½ tsp sugar
¼ tsp ground pepper
⅓ c vinegar (I use apple cider or white wine)
2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped (I use 4 Tbsp)
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on low for 15 seconds.

In making the dressing I have found the following to be true:

1.  The longer it is blended, the thicker it will be.  Good as a dip for veggie trays, especially raw okra.
2.  For a thinner dressing, add a drizzle of water or milk while blending.
3.  Good as a substitute for mayo on sandwiches.

*This recipe was given to me by Angela McGowan Barnard, The Master Gardener herself.  Notes are hers.  Let's be honest, I was not yet born in 1980...


Cherry tomatoes
Fresh basil leaves
Mozzarella Cheese, cubed
Balsamic Vinegar**
Olive Oil
Tooth picks

1.  Assemble skewers.  Sandwich tomatoes and cheese in between basil leaves.
2.  Drizzle with Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil.
3.  Enjoy!

*Recipe originally found on Pinterest.
**Balsamic Vinegar can also be used separately, as a dip.

Tomato and Basil Pasta

Penne Pasta (or other preferred pasta)
Fresh basil leaves, chopped
Diced tomatoes
Feta cheese*
Olive Oil
Salt to taste

*Because everything is betta with feta!  I threw this together on a day that I needed to go grocery shopping, with items that were readily available.  The basil and tomatoes were fresh from our garden!

Refreshing Strawberry Basil Water!
Strawberry Basil Water*

4-6 strawberries, hulled and quartered
½ lemon, sliced
Small handful of basil, scrunched
Ice and cold filtered water

Fill pitcher to the top with ice and fruit.  Slightly scrunch up the basil so it releases it's flavor.  Cover with cold filtered water.  The water is best if you let it infuse for at least 1 hour.

*Original recipe here.  We love this drink!  I originally made it in an attempt to get one of my little ones to drink more water.  It's delicious and refreshing– the perfect summer drink!

Basil Ice Cream*
Old Fashioned Basil Ice Cream (the children loved it)!

2 c heavy cream
2 c whole milk
¾ c sugar
2 tsp vanilla
Pinch salt
Handful of basil, finely chopped or blended

Whisk all ingredients together until sugar dissolves.  Freeze for 4 hours.  Enjoy!

*This recipe is a combination of two different ones I found online.  I needed it to be child-friendly because I was making it with my children (they ate it up!).  For the two recipes, click here and here.

Let's not forget that basil leaves are also enjoyable by themselves.  My husband will often grab a couple of leaves from our garden to "cleanse his palate," and my two-year old daughter eats at least 4-5 leaves when she spends time outside.
My daughter picks a basil leaf to consume.  It has led to us having great discussions about which plants are safe to eat and which are not.
And there you have it!  These are some of my favorite go-to recipes when the basil is plentiful.  What are some of yours?


  1. Thanks for the delicious recipes! I will have to try them myself. Perfect for summertime. Well, I guess anytime. :D

  2. Thank you for the recipes, they look delicious and I will be sure to try them out. Also, I completely agree with what you said with the whole backstory. I always have to scroll down for it and it can be so annoying.


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