How To Cook With Fresh Basil [6 Easy Recipes To Get You Started]

Fresh basil is a delicious and fragrant herb that can be used in many different dishes. If you want easy recipes to get started with, then you are in the right place. Let's take a look at recipe ideas that use this versatile herb.

If you have fresh basil, then try these easy recipes:

  • Basil and Tomato Pasta
  • Caprese Salad
  • Margarita Pizza
  • Grilled Bruschetta
  • Lemon Basil Salmon
  • Basil Tomato Grilled Cheese

If you aren't hungry now, you will be after you read these recipes! This article will walk you through these easy and delicious recipes step-by-step. In addition, we will answer other frequently asked questions about cooking with basil, so read on!

Fresh green basil on black wooden table, closeup. - How To Cook With Fresh Basil [6 Easy Recipes To Get You Started]

What Are Easy Recipes to Make With Basil?

Basil has been around for centuries and is a versatile herb that can be used in many different dishes. The most popular way to use basil is in Italian cuisine, but it can also be used in Asian, Mediterranean, and even sweet dishes.

Basil provides a sweet and savory flavor to dishes and can be used in both cooked and raw recipes. It is also a very fragrant herb, so a little goes a long way.

When using basil in cooking, it is best to add it towards the end of the cooking process so that its flavor is not lost. If you are using basil in a raw dish, such as a salad or salsa, then you can add it earlier on.

If you have been growing basil or picked some fresh up from the store, you might wonder what recipes you can make with it. Here are some easy recipes to get you started:

Penne pasta with tomato sauce, parmesan cheese and basil on dark background. Top view with copy space.

Basil and Tomato Pasta

First, we have classic basil and tomato pasta. This dish is flavorful and filling but won't take you all night to make. It's the perfect weeknight meal!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of pasta
  • One tablespoon of olive oil
  • One onion, diced
  • Three cloves garlic, minced
  • Two tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Instructions:

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, stirring occasionally.
  4. Stir in the tomato paste and diced tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
  5. Season with sugar, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper.
  6. Stir in the basil leaves and cook for 1 minute.
  7. Add the cooked pasta and Parmesan cheese and toss to combine.
  8. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese or fresh basil, if desired.

Caprese Salad

Next, we have a summertime favorite: Caprese salad! This dish is light and refreshing and is perfect for a hot summer day.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil leaves
  • One tablespoon of olive oil
  • One tablespoon of balsamic vinegar or balsamic reduction
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Place the mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil in a large bowl.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and season with salt and black pepper.
  3. Toss to combine.
  4. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to 2 hours.

Fresh italian caprese salad with mozzarella and tomatoes on dark plate

Margarita Pizza

Pizza is always a good idea, and this Margarita pizza is no exception. It's simple, yet so delicious! You can have it for date night with a glass of wine or for a fun weekend lunch with friends.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of pizza dough, store-bought or homemade
  • 1/4 cup of tomato sauce or store-bought pizza sauce
  • 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil leaves
  • One tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface.
  • Transfer to a greased baking sheet or pizza stone.
  • Spread the tomato sauce over the dough and top with mozzarella cheese and basil.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Add fresh basil leaves for garnish, if desired.

People Hands Taking Slices Of Pizza Margherita. Pizza Margarita and Hands close up over black background.

Grilled Bruschetta

If you want an appetizer that is sure to impress your guests, look no further than grilled bruschetta. This dish is easy to make and can be easily customized to your liking.

Ingredients:

  • One baguette, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • One tablespoon of balsamic vinegar or balsamic reduction
  • Two cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil leaves
  • One minced shallot
  • Grated parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Brush the mixture on both sides of the baguette slices.
  4. Place the bread on the grill and cook for 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown.
  5. Remove from the grill and top with cherry tomatoes, basil, shallot, and Parmesan cheese.
  6. Drizzle balsamic vinegar or balsamic reduction on top, if desired.

Bruschetta, on slices of toasted baguette garnished with basil

Lemon Basil Salmon

If you want a healthy dinner option that is also flavorful, you'll love this lemon basil salmon. It's perfect for a weeknight meal and can be on the table in less than 30 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of salmon, cut into four fillets
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Two tablespoons of olive oil
  • One tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • One clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Lemon wedges and fresh basil leaves for garnish, if desired

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Whisk together basil, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Place the salmon fillets in a baking dish and spread the basil mixture on top.
  4. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through.
  5. Garnish with lemon wedges and fresh basil.
  6. Serve with rice or veggies.

Salmon steak

Basil Tomato Grilled Cheese

There is no doubt that grilled cheese is a comfort food favorite. This basil tomato grilled cheese is a delicious twist on the classic dish and will surely be a hit with the whole family.

Ingredients:

  • Eight slices of bread of choice
  • 1/4 cup of butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil leaves
  • One tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Two tablespoons of olive oil
  • One large tomato, sliced
  • Eight slices of mozzarella cheese or your favorite cheese

Instructions:

  1. Whisk together butter, basil, garlic, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  4. Place four slices of bread, butter-side down, in the skillet.
  5. Spread the mixture on the other side of each slice of bread.
  6. Top each slice with two slices of cheese and a few tomato slices.
  7. Top with the remaining four slices of bread, butter-side up.
  8. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until the bread is golden brown and the cheese is melted.
  9. Serve with tomato soup or a salad.

Healthy Grilled Basil Mozzarella Caprese Panini Sandwich

How Long Does Fresh Basil Last?

Like other fresh herbs, basil doesn't last forever. But if you know how to store it properly, you can extend its shelf life. Wrap the basil in a paper towel and place it in a zip-top bag or airtight container in the fridge.

It should last for about a week or two this way. You will know the basil is going bad when it starts to turn brown or black.

If you have a basil bouquet with the stem attached, you can place it in a cup of water on the counter. Change the water every few days and trim the branch as needed. The basil should last for several weeks this way.

Don't forget to use it up before it goes bad! There are so many ways to incorporate basil into your cooking. Try one of the recipes above or get creative and develop your own.

Can You Eat Basil Stems?

Yes, you can! The stems are more nutritious than the leaves since they contain higher levels of vitamins A and K. Plus, they add a nice crunch to dishes.

If you're using basil in a cooked dish, there's no need to remove the stems. Just chop them up with the leaves and add them to the recipe.

If you're using basil as a garnish, you can remove the stems before chopping the leaves. Or, thinly slice the stems and sprinkle them on top of the dish along with the leaves for a pretty presentation.

Final Thoughts

The recipes in this article are just the beginning of what you can make with fresh basil. Get creative in the kitchen and come up with your own dishes using this delicious herb.

And don't forget to use up the stems! They're nutritious and add a nice crunch to recipes.

Made it to the end? Here are other articles you might enjoy:

Fresh Basil Leaves Turning Black – What To Do?

How To Keep Rice From Drying And Getting Hard In The Fridge

How To Properly Store Cooked Rice Noodles

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