Summer means an abundance of basil. The first thing I usually do when basil shows up is make pesto, which is probably the first thing most people do with fresh basil. Now, pesto is great and all, but it does get old. After you’ve made and frozen all the pesto you can stand, check out these other tasty ways to use basil.
1. Add sliced or chopped basil to your favorite canned tomato soup to give it a touch of homemade-ness (is that a word?). My favorite is Amy’s Chunky Tomato Bisque.
2. Layer sliced heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and basil leaves on a plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a classic Caprese salad.
3. Make this caper-basil vinaigrette for salads, or go ahead and serve it on the twice-grilled peppers with Buffalo mozzarella in the same link above. It’s one of our favorite appetizers.
4. Use it to make bruschetta, an Italian spread that also features fresh tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and balsamic vinegar. Spread it on small pieces of ciabatta for an easy hors d’oeuvre.
5. Muddle it (mash it up to release its flavor) and add to lemonade for a refreshing twist on a summer favorite. If you are so inclined, add vodka to make it a hard lemonade.
6. Use it to make a delightfully herbal bread.
7. Tired of only using basil in Italian food? Try it in this Thai chicken stir-fry.
8. Add a handful of roughly chopped basil to a cup of extra-virgin olive oil and let it sit in the fridge for several days. Strain out the basil, and you have basil-infused oil to use in salad dressings, drizzled over your Caprese salad, or tossed with grilled vegetables. Store in the refrigerator.
9. How about basil in dessert? This basil-blackberry crumble looks tasty For that matter, try mixing sliced basil with your favorite fruit for an easy summer snack. Peaches and strawberries come to mind first…mmm.
10. Use it in a sandwich with grilled summer vegetables, drizzled with olive oil.
How else do you like to use basil?