Time to put that fragrant fresh basil to good use. We’re sharing several fresh basil recipes to inspire ideas for your own crop or the abundant basil at local markets at the end of summer.
Fresh basil is one of the great smells and tastes of summer. It’s wonderful in soups, pasta, appetizers, pizza and salads. I tend to use it as a garnish or flavor enhancer as you would any herb. Or in a classic pesto that I incorporate into other dishes. Sometimes I freeze basil to add to soups or stews in the Fall as well. So I consider basil a work horse when it comes to herbs.
For all the basics about basil and other herbs, check out our article on Herbs: The Bare Essentials.
How to Keep Basil Fresh
- Basil is best stored on the counter, not in the fridge. Just snip of the ends of the stems, plunk them in a glass of water, cover loosely with a plastic bag. Keeps for 7-14 days.
- There are several ways to freeze fresh basil – chopped in oil, blanched or flash freeze. Spruce Eats has a great article on each of these methods.
- Shortcut: If you don’t want to bother with freezing, buy packages of frozen basil cubes. I do this all the time in the winter. 1 cube = 1 teaspoon. Excellent.
How to Measure Basil
- One large bunch of fresh basil contains about 60 sprigs.
- 1 bunch will make about 1 cup of chopped basil (or 2 cups of loosely packed basil).
- I don’t suggest substituting dried basil for fresh, but if there is no fresh basil available, use 1 teaspoon dried for 2-3 teaspoons fresh.
10 Fresh Basil Recipes
First up is a classic basil pesto because it can be used in so many recipes. And although there are several good pestos on the market, making it fresh just takes 5 minutes and tastes amazing.
Classic Basil Pesto
Recipes with Basil Pesto
The following are recipes that incorporate the pesto above. My fave is the Pesto Orzo and Vegetables or the Eggplant Parmesan (30 minutes). I can’t decide.
Recipes Using Fresh Basil as a Herb
And don’t forget a simple tomato salad with summer ripe tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper and chopped fresh basil. I eat that every day for weeks in the summer during tomato season. Yum!