Basil is one of the most popular herbs to cook with so I want to give you some ideas on how to use basil other then in your pasta dishes or pesto.
Basil is a versatile and widely used aromatic herb. Basil is an annual plant that is easy to grow from seed but is very sensitive to cold. The plant grows well in warm climates and is widely used throughout southern Europe, particularly the Mediterranean, and in many parts of Asia. There are numerous species of basil; some have scents reminiscent of pineapple, lemon, cinnamon or cloves; others have beautiful purple leaves. The variety called holy basil “Tulsi” (see photo) is an essential part of an authentic Thai curry. In Mediterranean regions, basil and tomato is a classic combination. Pesto, made from basil leaves and pine nuts, with parmesan or pecorino cheese and olive oil (traditionally pounded together in a mortar and pestle – the latter lends pesto its name) is another classic dish.
Health benefits of basil.
Basil is an herbal antibiotic, antiseptic and appetizer that has an special affinity for the stomach. Basil significantly benefits the stomach during digestion and can provide immediate relief from gas, stomach cramps and nausea. It also contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can provide relief for inflamed bowel conditions such as colitis, IBS, crohn’s and celiac disease.
It is also highly antibacterial and antiviral making it effective against bacterial infections, intestinal parasites, colds, flu and herpes. Basil is a rich source of magnesium which relaxes muscles and blood vessels and supports cardiovascular health by lowering the risk of irregular heart rhythms and spasms.
The essential oil of basil contains eugenol which works similarly to aspirin and ibuprofen in decreasing the swelling in joints and tissues to provide relief from arthritis and fibromyalgia. Basil’s fungicidal properties also aid in healing wounds, skin rashes, warts, and insect bites. You can purchase creams and salves or crush fresh leaves in a small amount of coconut oil, apply to the skin, and wrap with a fresh bandage daily.
In this blog I want to share four recipes with you: a salad, a smoothie, dessert and a cocktail.
Roasted pepper salad
-300g/10½oz roasted red peppers in oil, drained and sliced or roast them in your oven
-175g/6oz chargrilled artichoke hearts in oil, drained and chopped
-2 tsp shredded fresh basil leaves
-2 tsp balsamic vinegar
-salt and freshly ground black pepper
Mix the peppers and artichokes together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Add a little oil from the jar, if needed, or olive oil along with the basil leaves and balsamic vinegar. Put capers on top of the salad and the dressing.
Serve with fresh bread.
-1/2 medium lemon, peeled and deseeded
-4 to 5 large fresh basil leaves
-1/4 medium cucumber, with peel
-2 frozen bananas, thawed slightly and sliced
-2 inches fresh aloe gel (scraped from the leaf)
-8 ounces of filtered water
Start by adding the liquid to your blender followed by the soft fruit.
Add the greens to your blender last.
Blend on high for 30 seconds or until the smoothie is creamy.
Berry and basil crumble
-½ cup almond flour
-2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
-2 tablespoons slivered almonds
-2 tablespoons coconutsugar
-½ teaspoon allspice
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-2 teaspoons fresh orange zest, divided
-Pinch of sea salt
-⅓ cup coconut oil
-1 teaspoon almond extract
-1 pound fresh strawberries, sliced
-1 pound fresh raspberries
-1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
-1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
Preheat oven to 375˚ F. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine almond flour, coconut flakes, slivered almonds, coconutsugar, allspice, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of the orange zest and sea salt. Add coconut oil and mix well to combine. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
In a large mixing bowl, combine almond extract with strawberries and raspberries; gently toss to combine. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
Remove almond mixture from the refrigerator. Using your fingers, crumble the mixture and place it on top of the strawberries and raspberries, covering the surface.
Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with fresh basil, mint and the remaining teaspoon of orange zest. Serve warm.
-1 large sprig fresh basil
-4 fresh strawberries, halved
-75ml/3fl oz brandy
-1 tbsp strawberry liqueur
-50ml/2fl oz fresh lemon juice
-25ml/1fl oz sugar syrup or coconutsugar
-sparkling water, to top up
Place the basil between two sheets of kitchen paper and roll hard with a rolling pin.
Add a handful of ice, the strawberries, cognac, strawberry liqueur, lemon juice, basil and sugar syrup to a glass and top up with water.
Stir the cocktail and enjoy!