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Cooking With Basil: Think Beyond Pesto

Try 9 recipes that make the most of summer's most versatile herb

Assorted tomatoes and basil, Cookstr recipes for cooking with basil (Bilic/photocuisine/Corbis)

Basil complements many foods and dishes, some as simple as Mixed Cherry Tomato Salad. — Bilic/photocuisine/Corbis

Basil is high in vitamins K and A, among other nutrients, and is a fantastic complement to many foods. We love pesto, of course, but fresh basil also can be used to enhance the flavors of everything from cocktails to desserts.

1. Thai Basil and Lime Kamikaze

by Tom Douglas

In Japanese, the word kamikaze means "divine wind" — exactly what you need on a hot summer night. This version of the cocktail includes muddled lime and a spring of fresh Thai or regular basil.

Per serving: 116 calories, 0g saturated fat, 12g carbohydrates, 0g protein, 1g fiber, 2mg sodium

2. Mixed Cherry Tomato Salad

by Robin Miller

Ripe little cherry tomatoes are so sweet, they're almost like candy this time of year. Use a combination of red and yellow fruits for a pretty presentation.

Per serving: 32 calories, 0g saturated fat, 4g carbohydrates, 1g protein, 1g fiber, 199mg sodium

3. Quinoa Soup With Pork

by Maria Baez Kijac

Try your hand at re-creating this South American soup with protein-rich quinoa. Fresh basil cooks alongside peas, potatoes and other vegetables and spices in this hearty and nutritious dish.

Per serving (without cooked quinoa): 146 calories, 1g saturated fat, 14g carbohydrates, 10g protein,
3g fiber, 257mg sodium

4. French Basil Chicken

by Judith Finlayson

You may have tried a dish called basil chicken at Thai restaurants, but this version is a bit different. It includes tomato, artichoke hearts and red bell pepper, with fresh basil added at the very end.

Per serving: 316 calories, 2g saturated fat, 14g carbohydrates, 40g protein, 6g fiber, 417mg sodium

5. Sieved Tomato Sauce With Basil

by Julia della Croce

It would be hard to find a better match than tomato and basil. This simple recipe uses carrot rather than sugar for sweetness and to balance the tomatoes' acidity.

Per serving: 111 calories, 1g saturated fat, 11g carbohydrates, 3g protein, 3g fiber, 160mg sodium

6. Chicken With Olives, Tomato and Basil

by Holly Clegg

Kalamata olives and fresh basil are the key flavors in this quick skillet chicken recipe, which also makes use of our favorite summer treat, grape tomatoes.

Per serving: 226 calories, 1g saturated fat, 6g carbohydrates, 37g protein, 2g fiber, 600mg sodium

Next page: Green risotto, basil bread and strawberry basil shortcake. »

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