Slightly sweet basil adds bold flavor to salads, pastas, sauces, and desserts.
- Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Lydia Degaris-Pursell; Cooking Light
7 Ways With Fresh BasilThe quintessential herb of summer, basil adds its subtle magic to just about every kind of dish from appetizer to salad to dessert. A member of the mint family, basil adds a slightly sweet Mediterranean-inspired flavor to a range of dishes. Grow your own or pick some up at the local market and get cooking.
Tomato, Basil, and Fresh Mozzarella SaladRipe juicy tomatoes, fresh basil, and mozzarella are a simple yet traditional Italian summer salad combination. Here the basil is combined with vegetable broth and balsamic vinegar to make a light, oil-free vinaigrette for the salad.
Lemon Basil Shrimp and PastaAs the pasta finishes, shelled shrimp is tossed into the pot to cook. Then, everything is drained, returned to the pot, and drizzled with a quick sauce made from olive oil, lemon, capers and fresh chopped basil. Weeknight dinner doesn't get much faster.
Chicken and Basil Stir-FryThis stir fry of chicken and basil can be on the table in less than 10 minutes. While the main dish cooks, make a bag of quick-cooking rice to serve as a side. For added flavor, try Thai basil, with its purplish color and mild anise flavor, in place of regular basil leaves if you like.
Grilled Tuna with Basil Butter and Fresh Tomato SauceTwo different sauces top this grilled tuna making for a beautiful presentation that looks complicated but is really quite easy. One sauce is a simple mix of chopped basil, butter and lemon. The second is a five minute sauté of cherry tomatoes, garlic and capers.
Salmon with Basil SauceA quick sauce of fresh basil, olive oil, and lemon is puréed and then drizzled over pan sautéed salmon to give it a flavorful glaze that enhances the flavor of the fish. Make a side of fresh veggies and give them a drizzle of the lemon sauce as well.
Classic Basil PestoToss it with pasta, spread it on sandwiches, or dollop it into soup. There's just no end to the versatility of the Italian condiment called pesto. A mixture of fresh basil, pine nuts, olive oil and Parmesan cheese, this simple spread can be whipped up in 10 minutes.
Basil-Lemon GranitaThis light and refreshing Italian dessert ice is a beautiful end to any meal, but the part most cooks love is that it requires just three ingredients. Make it early in the day so the granita has at least six hours to chill.