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.
1. Basil Salsa.
This fun twist on salsa is a cinch to make, and the fresh ingredients really shine.
- 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
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.
5. Basil Flatbread Crackers
Serve this with cheese, olives, and other appetizers.
- 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
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.
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.
- 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
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.
14. Strawberry-Basil Ice Pops
- 1 Cup chopped strawberries
- 8 Large basil leaves
- 1 Cup ice
- 2 Tablespoons honey
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.