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Cooking With Basil: Think Beyond Pesto

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

Tomatoes Basil, Basil Recipes


Basil complements many foods and dishes, some as simple as Mixed Cherry Tomato Salad.

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

7. Green Risotto

by Bonnie Tandy Leblang and Joanne Lamb Hayes

Fresh basil leaves, along with fresh spinach and parsley, contribute to the healthy color of this dish. Note that Italian flat leaf parsley is better for cooking than curly parsley.

Per serving: 278 calories, 5g saturated fat, 32g carbohydrates, 
7g protein, 1g fiber, 537mg sodium

8. Basil Bread

by Linda Zimmerman

Dried basil is the star in this fantastic bread. It's perfect to serve with any vegetable-focused al fresco summer supper.

Per serving: 204 calories, 4g saturated fat, 34g carbohydrates, 5g protein, 2g fiber, 55mg sodium

9. Strawberry and Basil Shortcakes

by Lori Longbotham

OK, forget tomatoes and basil: The summery pairing of strawberries and basil wows in this delectable dessert. Vanilla ice cream and strawberry sorbet take it over the top (in a good way).

Per serving: 298 calories, 6g saturated fat, 47g carbohydrates, 6g protein, 4g fiber, 525mg sodium

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