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Did you know?

  • Fresh basil is packed with antioxidants, which are thought to help slow down the effects of aging, and may also help to combat against the negative effects of stress on the body.
  • It is also an excellent source of vitamin K and manganese; a very good source of copper, vitamin A and vitamin C; and a good source of calcium, iron, folate, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids, making it quite nutrient rich!
  • There are over 60 varieties of basil, all different in flavor and appearance. Sweet basil (the most common variety) has a sweet, robust flavor.
  • It is a member of the mint family.
  • Although very popular in Italian cuisine, it is actually native to Africa and Southern India and is a sacred herb in the Hindu tradition.
  • It's widely recommended to tear rather than slice basil leaves. Tearing keeps the cell walls intact, but slicing releases enzymes in the cells that cause basil to blacken more quickly than tearing.

 

Fun Fact: During the Victorian era Sweet Basil conveyed “good wishes” to the receiver. In Italy, a man who accepted basil from a woman was destined to marry her.

 

Where to store it?

There are two ways to store it:

1. Wrap a paper towel around the basil and place it in an airtight container or a ziplock plastic bag. Store it in the vegetable crisper alongside other salad greens. Basil should last about two weeks when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

2. Place them in a glass of water like flowers and keep them on the kitchen counter. Make sure the leaves are above water.

Tip: Want to ensure you have fresh basil all year?! Did you know you can freeze it?! Lay basil in a single layer on a baking sheet or tray. Freeze for at least 30 minutes, or until each leaf is frozen. Move the leaves into an airtight freezer bag. Pull out the number of leaves desired as you're ready to use them.

 

How to Use it?

The options are endless when it comes to this delicious fresh herb, add it to your favourite raw or cooked recipes for delicious flavour. Here are just a few ideas:

1. Top whole leaves onto pizza.

2. Finish pasta with whole or thinly sliced leaves.

3. Blend it into sauces.

4. Puree it into soups.

5. Chop it up to add to a salad.

6. Use it to garnish avocado toast.

7. Turn it into an ice cream topping! Jazz up vanilla ice cream with fresh strawberries, basil, and a balsamic reduction.

 

 

Recipes:

 

Fresh Basil Lemonade

Created by: Megan Gilmore

Basil lemonade is about to be your favorite Summer drink. All you need is 3 ingredients to make it, and it’s a total crowd pleaser for a party!

 

Ingredients:

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 cups water

3 TBSP pure maple syrup

4 fresh basil leaves (roughly 1 TBSP minced)

Directions:

1. Combine the lemon juice, water, maple syrup, and basil leaves in a blender, and blend until the basil is completely broken down. No need to strain! (If your basil leaves are particularly large, start with just 2 leaves, and add more to taste.)

2. Serve over ice right away, or store it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Tip: You can make Basil Lemonade up to 3 days in advance, as long as you store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Then serve it over ice!

 

Summer Salad with Orange Basil Vinaigrette

Created by: Megan Gilmore

This crowd-pleasing summer salad is tossed with a refreshing orange basil vinaigrette that will leave you licking your salad bowl. Everyone who tries it asks for the recipe!

 

Ingredients:

Dressing:

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (tightly packed)

1 ½ TBSP raw honey

1/4 tsp fine sea salt black pepper, to taste

Salad:

8 cups mixed greens

1/2 cup gorgonzola crumbles

1/2 cup raw walnuts

1/2 cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, etc.)

Directions:

1. To prepare the dressing, combine the orange juice, olive oil, vinegar, basil, honey, salt, and black pepper in a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust any seasoning to taste and set it aside.

2. To assemble the salad, toss together the mixed greens, gorgonzola, walnuts, and dried fruit in a large bowl. Add the dressing just before serving, to avoid wilting.

3. Leftover dressing and salad should be stored separately in airtight containers in the fridge for best shelf life. They should keep well for up to a week, if you don't eat it all before then.

 

Basil Zucchini Soup

Created by: Love & Lemons, Jeanine Donofrio

This cool basil zucchini soup recipe is everything I crave on a warm summer day. Top it with crusty garlic croutons for the perfect light meal.

 

Ingredients:

⅔ cup sliced leeks (the tender white and light green parts only)

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

1 garlic clove, chopped

2 small zucchini, chopped + a few strands of spiralized or julienned zucchini for garnish

¼ cup hemp seeds

juice of ½ lemon, more to taste

½ tablespoon miso past

1 cup water, more as needed for consistency

½ cup packed fresh basil

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

garlic croutons:

2 cups cubed sourdough bread ½ garlic clove, minced Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Directions:

1. Slice the white and light green parts of the leek into rings. Rinse well, drain, and let dry.

2. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and a pinch of salt and cook until very soft, 5 to 8 minutes. Taste one, the leeks should be a bit translucent and should not have a bitter taste. Stir in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove from the heat.

3. In a blender, combine the leek mixture with the zucchini, hemp seeds, lemon juice, miso, water and a few grinds of pepper and blend until smooth. Add the basil and blend again. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more lemon for brightness and salt to taste. Add more water if you prefer a thinner consistency.

4. Make the garlic croutons: Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On the baking sheet, toss the croutons with the garlic and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake until crisp, about 8 minutes.

5. Serve the soup at room temperature, or lightly chilled, with the garlic croutons and a drizzle of olive oil.

 

Zucchini Lemon Orzo

Created by: Jeanine Donofrio

This easy orzo pasta recipe is a healthy summer dinner. Lemon & lots of herbs fill it with fresh flavor!

 

Ingredients:

½ cup dry uncooked orzo

½ cup finely diced scallions or 1 small shallot (1/4 cup)

3 garlic cloves, minced

½ TBSP extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling

1 tsp sherry vinegar

1 tsp herbs de Provence

Juice and zest of 1 lemon, plus 4 small wedges for serving

2 medium Italian eggplants, sliced into ½-inch rounds

2 small zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise

½ cup crumbled feta cheese

2 cups loose-packed fresh herbs - basil & mint, torn if leaves are big (can also do all basil)

¼ cup pine nuts, toasted

2 TBSP panko bread crumbs

½ tsp sea salt, divided, plus more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1. In the bottom of a large bowl, combine the scallions, garlic, olive oil, sherry vinegar, herbs de Provence and ¼ teaspoon of salt.

2. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the package, cooking until al dente. Drain and immediately add the hot orzo to the bowl. Stir in the lemon zest and set aside.

3. Preheat a grill to high heat.

4. Drizzle the eggplant and zucchini with olive oil on all sides, and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper.

5. Grill the eggplant for 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until tender and charred, and the zucchini for 4 minutes per side, or until nice char marks form. Let cool slightly, then chop and add to the large bowl. Add the lemon juice and toss. Stir in the feta, herbs, and pine nuts, reserving a bit of each for garnish. Taste and adjust seasonings.

6. Portion into 4 serving bowls and top with the breadcrumbs and remaining feta, herbs and pine nuts. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.

 

Mango Ginger Rice Bowl

Created by: Jeanine Donofrio

This rice bowl is one of our go-to meals when we're craving something light. It's easy to make, and mango, ginger & basil make it wonderfully refreshing.

 

Ingredients:

2 cups shredded green cabbage

1 small carrot, sliced into very thin coins

½ English cucumber, thinly sliced into coins

1 small ripe ataulfo mango, diced

½ cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed

2 TBSP pickled ginger

¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil

¼ cup toasted peanuts, optional

Sprinkle of sesame seeds, optional

¼ to ½ avocado, optional

Dressing:

2 TBSP tamari, more for serving

2 TBSP rice vinegar

2 TBSP lime juice

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp cane sugar

½ tsp sriracha, more for serving

Directions:

1. Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the tamari, vinegar, lime juice, garlic, cane sugar, and sriracha.

2. Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil and place a bowl of ice water nearby. Blanch the snap peas by placing them in the boiling water for 1½ minutes, then scoop them into the ice water to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, drain, pat dry, and chop.

3. Assemble the bowls with the rice, shredded cabbage, carrot, cucumber, mango, black beans, pickled ginger, and basil. Top with the toasted peanuts, sesame seeds, and avocado, if using. Drizzle bowls with half the dressing and serve the rest on the side along with tamari and sriracha, if desired.

 

 

Recipes are curated by Lauren


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