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17 Ways to Use Basil

17 Ways to Use Basil

Don’t let summer pass without using up your bounty of basil. There are many ways to enjoy this fragrant herb — beyond the classic tomato-basil-mozzarella combination. What’s your favorite way to use basil? Tell us about it in the comments.

Earlier6 Less Common Herbs & Spices for the Kitchen

 

1. Basil Salsa.

This fun twist on salsa is a cinch to make, and the fresh ingredients really shine.

Ingredients:

  • Kernels from 4 ears grilled corn
  • 2 Large peaches, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Large tomatos, chopped
  • 1/4 Red onion, chopped
  • 6 Large leaves basil, roughly chopped
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste

Instructions:
1. In a large bowl, toss all ingredients to combine well. Season with salt, pepper and lemon taste and continue tossing. Serve right away, or, for best results, let sit for 3-4 hours.

Recipe Adapted from: Tasty Kitchen.

More Basil Recipes:
2. An Easy Twist on Basil Pesto
3. Roasted Tomatoes with Basil Dressing
4. Strawberries with Basil Granita

 

5. Basil Flatbread Crackers

Serve this with cheese, olives, and other appetizers.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups flour, plus more for surface
  • 1/4 Cup roughly chopped fresh basil, plus 40 whole leaves
  • 1 Teaspoon sugar
  • Coarse salt
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1 Cup heavy cream
  • 1 Large egg white, lightly beaten

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Add flour, basil, sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt to a food processor, and pulse until the mixture is combine well. Add butter pieces and continue pulsing until coarse and mealy. Add cream in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop pulsing when the mixture has become a dough.
2. Lightly flour work surface. Knead the dough briefly, and then divide it into 4 pieces. Shape each piece into a rectangle (it doesn’t have to be perfect) and wrap in plastic wrap. Transfer to the refrigerator and let it firm up. This should take about 30 minutes.
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly flour work surface if needed. Roll out 1 piece of dough at a time into a rectangle roughly 12 x 16 inches. It should be very thin. Transfer to the baking sheet. Coat the dough with the egg white using a pastry brush. Sprinkle with coarse salt, and lightly press 10 basil leaves into the dough.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the crackers are crisp and golden. Move the cracker to a wire rack to cool, and repeat steps 3 and 4 with remaining 3 dough pieces. When the crackers have cooled, break them with your hands.

Recipe Credit: Martha Stewart.

More Basil Recipes:
6. Basil & Summer Squash Soup
7. Tomato-Basil Quiche
8. Summer Basil Quinoa Salad
9. Basil Lime & Pumpkinseed Pesto

 

10. Eggplant & Tomato Stacks with Basil and Feta

This recipe makes use of an outdoor grill, but don’t let that stop you from trying it if you don’t have/don’t want to grill — check out the link to the original recipe for indoor preparation.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, plus more shredded leaves for garnish
  • 1/2 Cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Medium eggplants
  • 1 Large tomato and 2 medium tomatoes
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 Cup crumbled feta

Instructions:
1. Place basil, olive oil and about 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a food processor or blender. Pulse until basil is finely chopped. Place a sieve lined with a coffee filter or paper towel in a large bowl, and pour basil oil into it. Let the basil oil drain. After about 20 minutes, hold up the sides of the paper or filter and lightly press down to get more oil out. Reserve and set aside solid basil pieces, as well as 1 tablespoon of the oil.
2. Prepare grill. Charcoal should be medium-hot, gas grills should be on moderate heat.
3. While the grill is heating, remove bottoms from eggplants. Cut each eggplant into six crosswise rounds about 1/2 inch thick. Cut four 1/3 inch thick rounds from large tomato. Cut one 1/3 inch thick center slice from each medium tomato. You’ll have leftover eggplant and tomato, so set them aside for later use.
4. Brush both sides of the eggplant rounds with the basil oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lightly oil a grill rack and place the eggplant rounds on it. Cover the eggplant if you’re using a gas grill, leave uncovered if using charcoal. Grill for 6-10 minutes or until the eggplant is very tender, turning occasionally. If the eggplant starts to look dry, brush a little more oil on.
5. Arrange stacks. Place the four largest eggplant rounds on a baking pan small enough to fit in grill. Spread about 1/2 teaspoon of the reserved basil solids on each round. Top the four largest tomato rounds on each eggplant round. Season each with salt and pepper, and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of feta. Add another layer of eggplant to each stack, followed by additional layers of basil solids, tomato rounds seasoned with salt and pepper, and 1 tablespoon of feta. Top stacks with a final layer of eggplant and remaining feta.
6. Place the baking pan on the grill and close the grill cover. Cook for about 3 minutes, until the stacks are heated through and the top layer of feta has softened. Transfer stacks to serving plates, drizzle with the reserved basil oil, and garnish with fresh shredded basil.

Recipe Credit: Epicurious.

More Basil Recipes:
11. Fresh Tomato Soup with Basil
12. Garlicky Basil Dressing
13. Sweet Corn, Tomato & Basil Salad

 

14. Strawberry-Basil Ice Pops

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup chopped strawberries
  • 8 Large basil leaves
  • 1 Cup ice
  • 2 Tablespoons honey

Instructions:
1. Pulse ice, strawberries and basil in a blender, until the ice has been broken into small pieces. Add honey and 1/2 cup of cold water, and continue pulsing until the mixture is smooth. Transfer mixture to popsicle molds, ice cube trays, or whatever else you’re using. Add popsicle stick to the mold. Freeze for just about 2 hours before serving.

Recipe Credit: Sweet Remedy.

More Basil Recipes
15. White Beans with Cheese and Basil
16. Classic Tomato Mozzarella Stacks
17. Summer Vegetable Calzones with Basil

Read more: All recipes, Appetizers & Snacks, Basics, Desserts, Drinks, Eating for Health, Entrees, Food, Raw, Side Dishes, Soups & Salads, Vegan, Vegetarian, , , , , , , ,

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Katie Waldeck

Katie is a freelance writer focused on pets, food and women’s issues. A Chicago native and longtime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Katie now lives in Oakland, California.

154 comments

+ add your own
9:11AM PDT on Jul 23, 2013

Thanks!

8:22AM PDT on Jul 20, 2013

good ideas

6:34AM PDT on Jul 17, 2013

spasibo!

8:39AM PDT on Jul 14, 2013

Thanks

1:42AM PDT on Jul 14, 2013

Great recipes, downloaded all 17 Basil recipes and will try them one by one. I may not be Italian but I love Basil.

12:58PM PDT on Jul 13, 2013

Thanks, some recipes of interest there.

10:03AM PDT on Jul 7, 2013

My absolutely favorite spice!

Fine article, but I think you could have posted it in less than 5 jumps. Please think about being "user friendly" when you post. I'm afraid folks pass up a lot of worthwhile articles because of the problem of too many jumps.

6:45AM PDT on Jul 6, 2013

Thanks for the great recipes...will probably do the basil quinoa salad later today.

11:28AM PDT on Jul 4, 2013

Basil is the only herb I grow that my cats won't eat!

10:39AM PDT on Jul 4, 2013

Thank you.

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