Looking for the best basil recipes to use up fresh basil? From pesto to salad to ice cream, there are so many ways to flavor meals with this tasty herb.
A leafy, aromatic green herb bursting with minty and subtle peppery flavors, basil deserves its nickname, “great basil,” with its multiple uses.
Best Basil Recipes
You and I both know that this herb flavors fish, meats, sauces, and salads.
But did you realize that basil can also be the star of the show?
I’ve rounded up 24 creative ways to use up fresh basil. You’ll love these mouth-watering basil recipes!
A true Italian delight, pesto is one of my all-time favorite sauces. Besides its fancy flavor, it’s super easy to make, especially if you have a blender.
For this recipe, you’ll only need fresh basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese.
Let your food processor do the work, and bingo — you’ll have a fresh and versatile condiment. From here, you can create so many dishes.
Just drizzle the pesto sauce over some pasta, grilled salmon, zucchini noodles, and yes, even pizza!
PRO-TIP: You can make your pesto sauce 100% vegan or dairy-free by swapping the Parmesan cheese for one tablespoon of nutritional yeast.
If making a pesto pasta is too plain for you, why not throw some grilled salmon into the mix? A hot-smoked salmon works fine as well.
Just be sure to season the fish according to your liking, break it into bite-sized pieces, and add them to the creamy pesto mixture.
In no time, you’ll be looking at an elegant dish that will impress guests.
This recipe will be a hit at your next summer BBQ party. Think of juicy pork tenderloins and tender cremini mushrooms, drenched in a savory basil sauce, and grilled to perfection.
Believe me; you’ll want to devour it!
Aside from the delicious basil sauce, the secret to this meal’s great flavor lies in the paste pressed onto the meat before grilling.
The paste can include some garlic, herbs, spices, and lemon zest.
The perfect side dish for any occasion has arrived: the basil pasta salad. The good news? It’s super healthy, and you can eat a lot without feeling guilty.
And no, you don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy this meal. You can put your own twist on it by including a beef steak, a grilled chicken breast, or even some bacon strips.
Gone are the days when basil leaves were only for tea making. This recipe hits the spot when you crave a refreshing and flavorful drink.
All you need is a handful of fresh basil, strawberries, and lemon juice. Mix everything in the blender for a fresh and lemony drink infused with some strawberry sweetness.
Here’s another recipe for chicken lovers that’s worth trying out. Chicken with basil cream sauce is the perfect blend of crispiness and sauciness!
Of course, the magic, yet again, comes from the basil cream sauce.
Mix the cream with pimientos, Parmesan cheese, and the great basil. Add some lemon juice if you like, for that extra oomph.
Fresh, minty basil in a juicy fish burger? Yes, please! This meal is not your typical burger, as it stars salmon fillets, scallions, lemon, and lots of basil.
Sauté or grill the salmon depending on your preference. But if it’s an outdoor BBQ party, grilling is hands-down the way to go.
Take the flavors to the next level by adding in some Sriracha sauce for a spicy kick.
Here’s a lovely side dish to pair with your favorite seafood or meat entree.
All you need to do is some tossing and roasting, so make sure you get the freshest ingredients for the best outcome.
Everything you need is perhaps already sitting in your pantry — potatoes, garlic, onions, tomatoes, and basil.
It’s super easy to make. You’ll want to include it in your list of go-to side dishes!
A hearty breakfast meal never fails to make my day brighter than it already is. I’m pretty sure this frittata dish will do the same for you.
Extra flavors from the basil and potato make this egg-based Italian breakfast special.
Add some creaminess to your frittata by mixing in dairy. I love using cheddar cheese, as it oozes nicely through the eggs!
Here’s another flavor-packed side dish that can also be a main course.
This recipe calls for root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, yams, beets, turnips, and the like.
For flavoring, you’ll only need some dried herbs, fresh garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
Make the dish more appealing to the kids by throwing some chicken strips into the mix.
Roast everything to perfection for a healthy dinner side or a comforting main dish that won’t disappoint!
Consisting of cucumbers, basil, lime, lemongrass, sugar, and honey, this zesty drink gives you a boost in vitamins A and C. It’s a healthy, cocktail-like mix!
The taste of this agua fresca is somewhere between fruit-infused water and fruit juice with a slightly bitter aftertaste.
If you aren’t a fan of a bitter flavor, you can always swap whole limes for lime juice.
Toasted on the outside, filled with gooey cheese on the inside, a grilled cheese sandwich will never let you down.
This recipe instructs you to use sourdough bread, as it adds flavor to the entire meal and is perfect for grilling.
The combination of Gouda and Parmesan cheese is already to die for, but you can use other varieties like cheddar, provolone, and Monterey Jack cheese.
Of course, you’ll want to serve the sandwich with basil pesto. Homemade is always satisfying and easy to prepare, too! Everyone will love this meal.
Want a pesto sauce that’s rich in healthy fats, packed with protein, and high in antioxidants?
You’ll just need to add one ingredient for this: sunflower seeds. Blend the seeds with butter, garlic, oil, and Parmesan cheese until the mixture is creamy.
And what better way to use this pesto than to combine it with some pasta? I prefer using penne or cavatelli because they sop up the sauce nicely.
If you think vinaigrette only works well with greens and vegetables, try this recipe. You’ll use not just one, but three variants of melons — cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon.
Bursts of sweet and earthy flavors come together in this lettuce-less salad that will leave you wanting more.
Have some leftover vinaigrette? You can also use it to dress up grilled chicken, flanked steak, or fried shrimp.
15. Basil Ice Cream
There’s always room for dessert, they say. And if we’re talking about basil ice cream, you should definitely make room for it because it’s THAT good.
Don’t worry, it doesn’t taste like a frozen pesto!
Basil is a member of the mint family, featuring inherent cooling effects. You guessed it right. This dessert is almost similar to mint ice cream, in a relatively light green color.
Mixing some egg yolks is ideal for a melt-in-your-mouth texture, while using lemon zest can add more creaminess and aroma to this delightful dessert.
Easy and summery, basil zucchini soup is one of my favorite light meals on a warm day (or night).
Thanks to zucchini’s bright green color, you can also make a beautiful soup worthy of an Instagram post!
Leeks are all you’ll need to cook. They are mild onions that complement zucchini perfectly.
Everything else goes into the blender. The hemp seeds bring on the creaminess, so there’s no need for cream.
17. Pesto Pizza
Love your pizzas thin, grease-free, and not too crispy? Same here. In that case, making this pesto pizza is definitely worth the extra time and effort.
Pizza making is a fun activity and a great bonding time with the kids.
With some homemade pesto, fresh tomatoes, and pizza dough, you’re ready to get started. If you like to add more toppings, you can’t go wrong with onions and peppers.
Don’t forget the mozzarella cheese for a creamy texture and fresh taste.
18. Caprese Sandwich
Sandwiches for lunch, anyone? I highly recommend this Caprese sandwich recipe.
Between layers of freshly-baked sourdough bread, you’ll find fresh basil, sweet tomatoes, and velvety mozzarella cheese.
Up your sandwich-making game by adding homemade pesto and balsamic glaze. Serve with kettle chips or an Italian veggie salad for a complete meal.
Quinoa is packed with protein, B vitamins, dietary minerals, and fiber. Add this to your broccoli slaw recipe, and you’ll have another super healthy meal for your next potluck.
The chopped basil brings a fresh flavor to the dish, while the tangy honey-mustard dressing is the secret to getting that creamy mixture.
This chicken recipe explodes with flavors, all made in one pan! Parmesan basil chicken is a sure-fire hit because it’s easy to make.
Sear the chicken, make the creamy sauce, and put the chicken back in the pan. That’s it!
Serve over pasta for a satisfying dinner. To keep it low-carb, you can have some roasted cauliflower as a side dish.
The classic Italian pesto never goes out of style. But it doesn’t mean you can’t put a fun twist on it.
If you haven’t tried swapping pine nuts for pistachios when making a pesto sauce, this recipe will teach you how.
Pistachios are sweet and flavorful nuts that complement luscious lemon juice, soft cheese, fragrant basil, and spicy garlic.
Blend everything until smooth and adjust the seasoning accordingly.
In 10 minutes, you’ll have a lush pesto sauce best for salad dressing, corn spread, pasta, and grilled meats.
Fresh and organic, this tomato basil soup uses garden-ripe, juicy tomatoes, plus a mix of onion and garlic, fresh basil, and spices.
This recipe is super easy to make. You’ll wonder why you ever settled for canned tomato soup before.
Balance out the sourness of tomatoes by using a little bit of honey.
Add in some vegetable broth for a more flavorful soup. If you’re looking for more convenience, using water is fine, too!
23. Basil Mayo
Ah, the good ol’ mayonnaise — a thick, creamy sauce you can spread over French fries, burgers, and sandwiches. Sometimes though, a plain mayo isn’t enough.
If you still have an abundance of basil leaves (even after making pesto), a basil-flavored mayo is another recipe worth trying.
This sauce can add a wonderful flavor to any sandwich, wrap, or salad using only two ingredients!
This last recipe gives you a strawberry-flavored slushy with a hint of tangy lemon and fresh basil. And since it’s a cocktail, you’re free to add a shot or two of the alcoholic drink you like.
Bourbon is one of the best options out there because it’s easy to find and is not overpowering.
This leaves you with a sweet, thirst-quenching cocktail that you can sip on occasionally, but most especially when you want to cool down after a hard day’s work.
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