Earlier this month we posted the ‘Kitchen herbs that heal‘ blog. Since basil is the go-to herb this summer, as promised, we’ve compiled a mouth-watering list of herby recipes perfect for promoting good health.
All of the following recipes are not only flavourful, but packed full of essential vitamins and minerals. We hope you can try some of them out, if not all, and thoroughly enjoy them as much as we have!
Basil is anti-inflammatory, has anti-ageing properties, is rich in antioxidants, packed full of vitamin K and also contains vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, potassium and calcium. (For more info on the nutritional benefits of Basil visit The Worlds Healthiest Foods.)
One bright idea to use up as many herbs as possible, is by adding them to pretty much anything you can. i.e: salt.
(From Bon Appetit)
“You can add dried herbs directly to anything, but infusing them into salts and sugars further extends their shelf life. Use the infusions throughout the year for cooking, grilling, and baking. The possibilities are endless.”
Preparation: Remove thick stems from dried herbs, then run a knife through sprigs to break up into smaller pieces. Place in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add salt and pulse again to blend. Transfer to an airtight container (no need to sift) and cover.
Do Ahead: Herb salt can be made 6 months ahead. Store at room temperature.
Now that we’ve covered condiments, time for the main meal. Our first recipe, is a well chosen pasta sauce classic. It’s Jamie Oliver’s very own take on Pesto!
Best Fresh Basil Recipe 1
- ½ clove garlic, chopped
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 3 (or more) good handfuls fresh basil, leaves picked and chopped
- 1 handful pine nuts, very lightly toasted
- 1 good handful Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small squeeze lemon juice, optional
- Pound the garlic with a little pinch of salt and the basil leaves in a pestle and mortar (best option for a fresh taste), or pulse in a food processor.
- Add a bit more garlic if you like, but I usually stick to ½ a clove.
- Add the pine nuts to the mixture and pound again.
- Turn out into a bowl and add half the Parmesan. Stir gently and add olive oil – you need just enough to bind the sauce and get it to an oozy consistency.
- Season to taste, then add most of the remaining cheese. Pour in some more oil and taste again. Keep adding a bit more cheese or oil until you are happy with the taste and consistency.
Notes: You may like to add a squeeze of lemon juice at the end to give it a little twang, but it’s not essential. Try it with and without and see which you prefer.
Best Fresh Basil Recipe 2
(From My Recipes)
- 4 to 5 lemons (1 1/3 lb. total), rinsed
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup minced fresh basil leaves (see notes)
- Grate 1 tablespoon of peel (yellow part only) from about three lemons. Squeeze juice from enough lemons to make 3/4 cup. In an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan, mix peel, juice, and 1 1/2 cups water.
- In a food processor or blender, whirl sugar until very fine. Add basil and whirl until very finely minced. Stir sugar mixture into lemon mixture until sugar is dissolved.
- Cover and freeze mixture until firm, about 6 hours.
- Scrape the tines of a fork quickly across frozen mixture to break into fluffy granules. Scoop granita into chilled bowls or wine or sherbet glasses and serve immediately.
Notes: Lemon basil makes a nice alternative to regular basil in this granita. You can make the granita (through to step 3) up to 1 week ahead; freeze airtight.
Best Fresh Basil Recipe 3
Roasted Pumpkin, Capsicum, Basil & Feta Salad
(From Food Lovers)
- 500 g pumpkin, peeled and chopped into 2.5cm (1 inch) chunks
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 clove garlic, crushed and finely chopped
- 1 red capsicum (pepper), roasted, skin removed and sliced
- 200 g feta, crumbled
- 1 red onion, finely sliced
- 1/2 cup basil leaves, large leaves torn
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon liquid honey
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200 C. Place the pumpkin in a roasting dish, drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with cumin, salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes until just tender, add the pumpkins seeds and garlic to the pan half way through cooking.
- Allow the pumpkin to cool slightly before arranging on a platter with remaining ingredients.
- Drizzle with the dressing and serve alongside meat such as roasted lamb or as a salad meal.
Notes: To make the dressing mix all ingredients in a screw top jar and shake to combine.
Best Fresh Basil Recipe 4
(From Bon Appetit)
We love the combination of gently cooked and raw strawberries in this not-too-sweet version of the classic dessert.
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
- 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 large egg, beaten to blend
Berries & Assembly:
- 1½ pound fresh strawberries, hulled, quartered (about 3 cups), divided
- 4 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 2 sprigs basil
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons crème fraîche
- Preheat oven to 400°. Whisk sugar, baking powder, salt, and 2 cups flour in a large bowl.
- Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, work in butter until the texture of coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Add cream and mix until dough just comes together (it will be sticky).
- Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a 12×4” rectangle about ¾” thick. Cut out rounds with a 2½” biscuit cutter, re-rolling scraps as needed to make 8 rounds.
- Whisk egg with 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl. Transfer rounds to a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush tops with egg wash.
- Bake until tops are golden brown and shortcakes are cooked through, 15–20 minutes.
Berries & Assembly:
- Coarsely chop 2 cups strawberries (use any bruised or less perfect ones) and cook with 2 Tbsp. sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until berries are softened and mixture is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Let berry compote cool.
- Meanwhile, toss basil, 1 Tbsp. sugar, and remaining 1 cup strawberries in a medium bowl and let sit until fruit begins to release juices, 10–15 minutes. Discard basil.
- Using an electric mixer, beat cream, crème fraîche, and remaining 1 Tbsp. sugar to soft peaks, about 4 minutes.
- Split shortcakes and fill with berry compote, whipped cream mixture, and macerated strawberries.
Notes: Shortcakes can be made 2 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.
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