The flavor has a pronounced licorice essence and a little spicy kick. So many uses – see my list. Find this wonderful variety at farmers’ markets.
Makes a delicious and unique pesto!
Thai Basil Pesto adorns Pasta Squares and Roasted Zucchini
Karen’s Thai Basil Pesto is a little different than classical Pesto Genovese.
The basil variety (Thai) is a bit spicier with a hint of licorice.
I use a bit of Nutritional Yeast (with it’s natural cheesy taste) and it replaces any Parmesan Cheese.
Perfect for a change and Vegan.
I have added Thai Dried Chile Peppers for a hit of heat (loving that!)
Otherwise, I’m still including Pine Nuts because I love their mellowness and sweet flavor.
A good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a must as is fresh garlic – look for local, not Chinese (which has been known to be bleached and not as fresh.)
Make as you would any pesto – so simple in a food processor; and quick!
The bulk of time is snapping the basil leaves off the stems, washing and drying them!
How to use Basil:
Larger leaves can be torn, chopped or minced. Small leaves can be pinched and added whole to salads, vegetable dishes, pasta and rice. To prevent blackening of leaves add basil soon after cutting.
I’m loving basil plants with small petite leaves – just pinch them off and add to any dish; not cutting or eating involved.
Keep in the refrigerator in a glass container with a tight seal. Top with a layer of olive oil and place a piece of waxed paper (can use plastic wrap too)
on top, pressing down – to stop basil from discoloring.
15 Types Of Basil to get to know:
- Sweet Basil – the most common; medium rounded leaves
- Genovese Basil – aromatic flavor, larger pointy leaves
- Opal Basil (also know as Purple Basil) classic basil flavor, best for garnishing, although makes an interesting pesto. Less sweet.
- Greek Basil – a dwarf basil with tiny leaves, perfect for when you wish to add petite leaves without cutting them.
- Summerlong Basil – a dwarf basil; similar to sweet basil in flavor
- Spicy Bush Basil – a dwarf basil with nice spicy flavor
- Thai Basil – a licorice flavor and pungent. Called Ho-ra-pa in Thai.
- Lettuce Leaf Basil – Large leaves (similar to Green Ruffles Basil)
- Cardinal Basil – basil leaves with cardinal colored center blooms
- African Blue Blue Basil – a perennial and the tallest of all. Uses from flower arranging to culinary. Also used for skin care products.
- Cinnamon Basil – mild with hints of cinnamon
- Holy Basil – fragrant and slightly bitter; popular in Indian cuisine. known for medicinal properties
- Lemon Basil – a lemony scent
- Lime Basil – nice mild citrus tang
- Italian Large Leaf – largest leaf with a milder and sweet flavor
It is estimated that there are 50 to 150 species of basil.
Did you know? Sweet basil is low in calories, has almost no fat, and is a good source of vitamin A. Five fresh basil leaves has less than 1 calorie, with good doses of vitamin A, calcium, potassium plus smaller amounts of vitamin C and other vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. Basil also contains essential flavonoids and antioxidants.
Basil has a long and interesting history steeped in legend. Probably originating in Asia and Africa, it is thought to have been brought to ancient Greece by Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.E.), to have made its way to England from India in the mid 1500s and arrived in the U.S in the early 1600s. (Source: The Herb Society of America)
Uses for Pesto:
A Topping For Pasta – a no-brainer!
I love too to add a dollop of pesto on warm cooked foods, and let it melt in
Compound Butter: Pesto is mixed with butter and flavorings, then chilled and sliced – as it will melt into warm foods
A Flavoring Agent for mayonnaise, yogurt and sour cream
An Addition To salad dressing, vinaigrettes and olive oil
A Base for all your pizza creations instead of tomato based
A Mix-In for Sautéed Vegetables
A Schmear for Bread and great on bruschetta
A Nice Layer of Flavor underneath the skin of chicken before cooking
Enjoy the summer scent of Basil!
See my CATALOG OF WELL TESTED RECIPES HERE: