5 Things to Make With Basil Other Than Pesto... and a Recipe for Pesto.

If you are like me, you planted basil in the spring thinking it would be so nice to pick a fresh sprig of basil every once in a while for dinner. Suddenly one day you go to pick a sprig and you find a three foot basil bush. Obviously your basil plant produced a lot more basil than you had time to pick fresh basil sprigs.

And, if you are like me, you immediately think you need to make pesto because that's what you do when you have more basil than you know what to do with. 

But if you're like me, you're bored with pesto and want to know what else you can make with basil, so you ask Google for some ideas. Since I already did that, I'll save you the trouble. Here are a few ideas that piqued my interest:

5 things to make with basil other than pesto:

1. Basil Olive Oil

Either infuse olive oil with basil  or freeze the basil with olive oil in an ice cube tray. Either way, you have a gourmet olive oil. Although you can only store it in a pretty jar one of the ways.

2. Basil Vinaigrette

Use some of your extra basil to make a fresh basil vinaigrette for your summer salads.

3. Basil Simple Syrup 

I was surprised by how many uses there were for Basil Simple Syrup. First, here's how to make it:

// Basil Simple Syrup Recipe //

In a saucepan combine:

1 cup water
1 cup sugar (some recipes call for 2 c., I opt for less)
1 cup packed basil leaves

Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved.

Pour syrup into container, using a strainer to catch the basil leaves. Cover and store in fridge.

Now, for the fun stuff you can make with your basil simple syrup. You could drizzle some syrup over fresh strawberries for a delicious summer sweet treat. Or you could use it as a sweetener in any number of summer drinks. Here are a couple favorites:

// Basil Lemonade //

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup basil simple syrup
1/2 cup water (try sparkling!)

Mix together, serve over ice. 
(1 serving)

// Strawberry Basil Mojito //

1-1/2 oz. light rum
1-1/2 oz. basil simple syrup
club soda
Fresh strawberries

Slice fresh strawberries into the bottom of a glass and muddle (squish them a little bit).
Add rum and syrup, mix.
Add desired amount of ice, top with club soda. 
(1 serving)

4. Basil Tea

If you are a tea drinker, you might want to try making some basil tea. It has many health benefits including settling indigestion and calming nerves.

5. Basil air freshener

Honestly, I never would have considered this except that I love anything of Mrs. Meyer's products with the basil scent. I will clean my counters just so that I can smell Mrs. Meyer's basil scented counter top spray.

Here are some directions to make a basil sachet. Or, you could just buy some Mrs. Meyer's room freshener and use your basil to make - yup! - pesto.

... and a Recipe for Pesto. 

Why not? It freezes well and it tastes good. Might as well make some pesto with all that basil. At least that's what I said.

I adapted this recipe from the booklet that came with my Cuisinart food processor.

// Pesto //

"Lower in fat than traditional pestos, and just as flavorful."

1 ounce shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic 
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
2-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons walnuts
1/4 teaspoon salt

Process the ingredients in the food processor. Transfer to a jar. Keeps for about 5 days in the fridge. May also be frozen for longer storage.

What do you make with all your extra basil?


Gwendolyn T said...

Mmmm .... honestly I love pesto. I have to grow my basil in containers so I hardly have enough to make pesto for a meal. It never makes it to the freezer.

Mindy Whipple said...

Great timing on the basil recipes as I have a plant that is towering and needs using quickly! I do love pesto and hope to freeze some.

Lucy said...

Hi Anne, I just purchased a basil plant today, not sure what happened to the one I thought I had....I've heard they help repel flies...I may also use it in cooking.

Anonymous said...

All my herbs are dead. It has been so hot. They were alive on a Friday, and when I came home from work Sunday evening they were dead. I will try again when it decides to cool down some.

Anne Bickle said...

Yeah, you'd have to have a basil farm to have enough to make enough pesto to freeze! lol. I just have one pot, myself. Enough for some syrup and a little jar of pesto which won't make it through the week. I might have to have a couple pots next year!

Anne Bickle said...

Yay for good timing!

Anne Bickle said...

huh, I didn't know they repel flies. That'd be useful if you have flies. What I need is something that repels mosquitoes. Basil is really great in cooking. Try adding a couple fresh basil leaves to your salads just for fun.

Anne Bickle said...

Aw, that stinks. Well, I guess the plus side of living up north is that my herbs don't die even when I neglect them. Of course, the down side of living up north is that I can't "try again" when it cools down some because then it will be winter. xo

Amanda said...

This is so great!!! I had a huge basil plant this summer...well it's still there...and I kept thinking I was going to do so much with it!! {I'm such a slacker sometimes} but I had no idea you could do so much with Basil, I love this post!!! Thanks!! ~ Hope you're having a great week my friend!! :)

Anne Bickle said...

Yay! So glad I could give you some ideas. :) xo


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