Basil. Lots of it.

Basil, lots of it.  That's what I wanted this year in our garden. 

I started it by seeds when it was still winter.  Tended those little seedings.  Now, oh my, we're reaping the benefit.  I ended up planting 7 six packs.  And it's been plenty.  Plenty to eat, share and store.  
What I was planning on doing is take pictures of the things we tend to do with basil annually.  But, I just haven't.  I could skip the post until I get all the pictures or write it anyway and update as I get pictures.  I guess I'll go with plan B.

Basil...what we do with it. By all means, not an exhaustive list.  Just a start. I sort of am doing this selfishly because I sometimes forget what we tend to do with it when it's coming at us by the bowl full.  Maybe you'll get some ideas...and maybe share some too!

1) Pesto.  Lots of it.  Pesto pasta, cous cous, fish, chicken.  It also goes fantastically with spaghetti squash for a grain free option.

2) Basil aioli. Which is pretty much a fancy mayo. Chop the basil as fine as possible and mix with mayo.  We often do homemade bread or foccacia, basil aioli, greens, cucumbers and tomatoes.

3) Bruschetta.  Baguette, top with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, balsamic reduction and basil.

4) Salad: Next time you are making a salad, add some basil (or whatever herbs you have) right with the greens.  It gives it a good pop.

5) Herbed cream cheese.  Chop whatever herbs you have, mix with cream cheese.  Great dip for crackers or  spread for bagels. 

6) Roast vegetables with basil and olive oil. 

7) Tomato/Cucumber Salad.  Tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, basil and Italian dressing.
8) Corn and Potato Salad:  Corn, red potatoes, basil, cherry tomatoes and Italian dressing.

9) Marinara Sauce

10) Pizza: Make a white pizza with olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, basil.  Or a traditional red sauce pizza with basil. 

11) Replace Ricotta in Lasagna:  I chop kale or spinach and mix it with basil-about 2 cups.  I add that to sour cream and use it in place of ricotta in lasagna.
12) Fritatta.

13) Soups.

14) Toppings for Open Faced Sandwiches

Preserving basil.  

A) Freezing. 

1) Pick stems, chop in food processor and store as pesto/plain basil in glass jars in freezer. 
2) Freeze as individual portions in water or oil in ice cube trays.  Once frozen pop into freezer bag. 

B) Drying (which I have been trying to do more often now that I have no chest freezer).

1) Pick stems.  Place on cookie sheet that has a cookie sheet underneath.  Preheat oven to 350.  Put in oven for 15 minutes.  Shut oven off.  Once oven is cool, most basil will be dehydrated.  Store in glass jars at room temp.

It will taste good come winter.  For now, it's fun to prepare it for storage with my helpers.

So tell me,
what do you do with your basil.


  1. Wow I had no idea you could do that much with Basil. Thank you for the information and the smile your kids photos always put on my face. B

  2. Such a fabulous collection of ideas! I love the look of the tomato and cucumber salad! YUMMY!

    Wishing you a lovely day.

  3. I absolutely love the scent of fresh basil. Love your photos and all the great ways to use basil. We enjoyed white pizza yesterday with basil, tomatoes and onion!

  4. I just found out the other day that if one blanches basil for a few seconds before freezing or dehydrating it won't turn brown! So excited about that. I'm pinning this post and calling it '14 fabulous ways to serve fresh basil'. :-)

  5. Look at that harvest, woot! Very nice. :) Great shares and information too. Grazie. :)

  6. My favorite way to use basil is on pizza. I cut a chiffonade of basil leaves then spread it on pizza just out of the oven. Yum! I also like to dry it to use in marinara sauce in the winter. Looks like you will not have a shortage of basil this year! :)

  7. Makes me hungry looking at that post! Nothing better than fresh!



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