Basil is my very favorite herb. Since harvest time is fast approaching (woo-hoo!) I thought I’d round up a couple of simple, yet delicious, recipes featuring basil. Luckily, the ingredient lists for these recipes and prep times are both short. There are basil sauces, dips, breads, and salad dressings just to name a few. I’ll finish up by giving you tips for easily preserving basil so you can use it all year long.
Pesto: No blog about basil would be complete without a recipe for pesto. There are so many ways to use pesto, not just as a pasta sauce. I spread it on naan (oven-baked flatbread) then add sautéed vegetables for the best flatbread pizza ever. It’s a favorite at my house. You can also drizzle pesto on baguettes or put a dollop on soup for added flavor. Pesto is very easy to make, especially if you have a food processor. The Kitchn has very good tips on how to make perfect pesto every time.
Hot Caprese Dip: How Sweet Eats has a great little recipe with only 3 ingredients: basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella. How simple is that? You probably have 2 out of 3 of these in your garden right now!
Basil Garlic Aioli: Here’s a delicious dipping sauce/sandwich spread from Self Proclaimed Foodie that features basil and garlic. It’s made from scratch so it’s not just flavored mayonnaise.
Lemon Basil Garlic Butter: I love every one of those 4 words. Wouldn’t this simple recipe from She Wears Many Hats be wonderful on corn on the cob or a basked potato? It doesn’t take much effort to go from a plain ol’ stick of butter to this fancy flavored butter log.
Creamy Basil Salad Dressing: Erica from Favorite Family Recipes says she’s been using this dressing on everything from salads to sandwiches and even as a cracker dip.
Naked Pizza with Basil & Garlic: Gone are the days when you had to put some kind of tomato sauce on your pizza crust. This “naked pizza” from Baking Steel doesn’t have any sauce at all. They started with a homemade pizza crust but you could make it simpler by using store-bought flatbread. I highly recommend Stonefire brand available at most grocery stores.
Basil Parmesan Popovers: If you have a popover pan, you gotta make these. This recipe from Simply Gourmet is gluten free and quite impressive.
Savory Caprese Bread: Here’s a no-yeast savory bread from Will Cook For Smiles that would be a hit on any table. It has mozzarella cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and, of course, basil.
Mozzarella & Basil Bites: This recipe from Return To Sunday Supper starts with wonton wrappers. These delicious little bites could be used as appetizers or snacks for the big game.
A quick internet search will yield more basil recipes than you can imagine. But what if you want to make one of these recipes in the dead of winter? Here are two ways to preserve your basil:
- In the Refrigerator: Redhead Can Decorate shows you how to preserve fresh basil in the refrigerator for up to a year.
- In the Freezer: Instructables gives great instructions for freezing basil in ice cube trays. Just chop up your basil and combine it with olive oil. By freezing it in ice cube trays, you can easily grab a cube and add it to your cooking recipes any time of year.
Basil is such a versatile herb. Hopefully you have a couple plants in your garden right now. If not, head over to your favorite outdoor market and buy a bunch or two so you can try out one or more of these basil recipes. Bon appétit!