Every summer, our small back patio turns into a miniature basil farm with large pots of the fragrant herb filling every available inch. As soon as the plants shoot up a few inches, I start snipping off their leaves and adding them to just about everything I make. By this time, mid-June, the plants are so bushy that I can make pesto every other day and still have basil to spare. If you also find yourself with the happy problem of having too much basil, take a look at a few of my old favorite basil recipes–and one new one.
This basil-infused potato salad contains no added fat at all and gets its creaminess from the potatoes themselves.
Creamy Zucchini and Basil Soup makes good use of another summer vegetable that many people have a surplus of, zucchini.
My favorite way to use basil is in pesto, and this unusual recipe uses roasted eggplant instead of olive oil. It is amazing!
Pesto and pasta were meant for each other, but who would have guessed that asparagus makes a delicious ménage à trois? This Asparagus Pesto Pasta Salad is one of my most popular recipes.
If that’s not enough basil for you, check out Farmers’ Market Quinoa, which is perfect for using up all your summer produce, Thai-Style Basil Tofu and Asparagus, which is even better with Thai basil, and Basil and Bulgar Salad, a tabouli-like grain salad infused with fresh basil. Or give my latest pesto recipe a try:
Pesto Primavera Pasta
This versatile pasta dish can be served warm or cold and you can vary the vegetables to suit what’s in your refrigerator.
- 16 ounces whole wheat rotini or other spiral pasta (may be gluten-free)
- 1 bunch broccoli, cut into small florets
- 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
- 1/8 cup sliced almonds
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2-3 cups fresh basil, packed
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 12-ounce package lite silken tofu
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1 1/2 cups chickpeas (or one 15-ounce can, rinsed and drained)
- 1 large tomato, diced
- additional salt & pepper, to taste
- slivered almonds, for garnish (optional)
- Bring a very large pot of water to boil, add salt if desired and the pasta. Return to a boil and cook for 6 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook for 4 more minutes. Add the zucchini and cook for another minute or until pasta is al dente. Remove from heat and drain in a colander over the sink. Spray with cold water and transfer to a large serving bowl.
- While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce. Grind the almonds, garlic, and nutritional yeast in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Add the basil, lemon juice, and silken tofu and process until smooth. Add salt to taste and process to combine.
- Gently stir the sauce into the pasta and vegetables. Add the chickpeas, diced tomato and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or chilled, garnished with additional almonds.
Preparation time: 5 minute(s) | Cooking time: 15 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 8
Nutrition (per serving): 316 calories, 35 calories from fat, 4.2g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 386.6mg sodium, 422.4mg potassium, 60.6g carbohydrates, 10.2g fiber, 5.1g sugar, 15g protein, 9.3 points.