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20 Ways to Use Fresh Basil

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Fresh basil is a favorite of the summer vegetable garden, and its rich flavor profile makes it a winner in so many dishes. So while you certainly can dry basil to use later in the winter, there are plenty of recipes out there that use fresh basil. And just so you know, none of these are pesto, which is a wonderful way to use this herb, but it’s not the only one.

20 ways to use basil (that aren't pesto)

Basil Beverages

Basil isn’t just for dinner, and these food bloggers prove that with these fantastic recipes for pre (or post) dinner drinks! What an amazing way to use basil!

  • Strawberry Lemonade Mimosa (Keeping Life Sane)- This strawberry lemonade mimosa recipe is the best tasting cocktail for brunch. It’s the perfect drink for spring and summer.
strawberry lemonade mimosas in clear glasses garnished with a lemon slice and strawberry
Strawberry Lemonade Mimosa from Keeping Life Sane
  • Grapefruit Basil Vodka Smash (The Fresh Cooky)- A recipe for a refreshing, bright, and delicious cocktail (or mocktail) using red grapefruit, fresh basil and a fizzy grapefruit soda. This Grapefruit Basil Vodka Smash is the perfect drink for a hot summer evening.
Two clear glasses of grapefruit basil vodka smash topped with basil sprigs on a silver tray
Grapefruit Basil Vodka Smash from The Fresh Cooky
  • Lemon Basil Spritzer Mocktail (The Organic Kitchen)- A light, refreshing drink that tastes as lovely as it looks! And it’s perfect for kids and adults alike!
tall glass with limes smashed inside then filled with a spritzer mocktail
Lemon Basil Spritzer Mocktail from The Organic Kitchen

Basil Dressings and Condiments

  • Basil Mayonnaise (Beyond the Chicken Coop)- Basil Mayonnaise is a perfect way to add extra flavor to any sandwich or wrap. This easy to make spread is made with just two simple ingredients – fresh basil and mayonnaise.
Basil mayonnaise in a white bowl on a wood surface
Basil Mayonnaise from Beyond the Chicken Coop
  • Oil-Free Green Goddess Salad Dressing (This Healthy Kitchen)- Loaded with fresh basil, this green goddess salad dressing will add a splash of vibrant colour and incredible freshness to your next salad. Also makes a great dip for your next veggie tray.
  • Lemon Basil Vinaigrette (Rachel Cooks)- Bright and fragrant, this lemon basil vinaigrette dressing is the perfect healthy salad dressing. It’s Whole30 compliant and is a great addition to a green tossed salad or a pasta salad.
bright green lemon basil vinaigrette in a small glass jar with a lemon half sitting next to it
Rachel Cooks

Soups, Salads, and Side Dishes

So many options for ways to use basil in salads and soup, but check out these compound butters and even basil mayonnaise!

  • Tomato Basil Soup with Goat Cheese (What a Girl Eats)- Tomato basil soup with goat cheese requires just a few simple ingredients to make. This easy soup recipe is perfect comfort food.
tomato basil soup with goat cheese in a small bowl on a plate
  • Tuna White Bean Salad with Basil and Lemon (Inside the Rustic Kitchen)- This Cannellini White Bean Salad is incredibly delicious, made with tuna, fresh basil, and zingy lemon. It’s light, fresh and ready in under 10 minutes, perfect for lunch or as a healthy side dish.
tuna white bean salad with basil and lemon in a bowl
panzanella salad with tomatoes and peaches in a bowl
  • Easy Caprese Pasta Salad (The Kitchen Garten)- This simple pasta salad is packed with flavor from fresh basil, ripe tomatoes, and soft mozzarella cheese. Add grilled chicken or shrimp to make it a complete main dish.
pasta, tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil in large bowl on wooden cutting board with dressing in a glass jar on the side
  • Corn with Basil Lime Butter (Urban Bliss Life)-  This Corn with Basil Lime Butter is a delicious crowd-pleasing side dish that’s perfect for summer BBQs, picnics, and outdoor dinners!
  • Basil and Sage Compound Butter (The Kitchen Garten)- Perfect on top of fresh grilled corn, grilled cheese sandwiches, or a steak hot off the grill, this compound butter recipe is a great use for basil from the garden!
compound butter

Main Dish Recipes

  • Cheesy Marinara Baked Eggplant Slices (Heartbeet Kitchen)- You only need 5 ingredients to make these Cheesy Marinara Baked Eggplant Slices, which is a dish full of flavor and texture. I’d compare the taste to that of an incredible cheese pizza!
spoon in a white baking dish with slices of eggplant topped with marinara and cheese
  • Zucchini Basil Chicken Burgers (Tasting Page)-  Fresh basil brings a nice punch to these zucchini chicken burgers.
  • Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai) (Posh Journal)- This restaurant-style Thai Basil Chicken only requires about 10 minutes of cooking time or less! It’s quick, yet flavorful and packed with a ton of fresh spices and basil leaves.
Black bowl with rice, spicy chicken, a fried egg, and fresh cut basil on top
  • Chicken Cherry Tomato Pasta (Chef Not Required)- A pasta dish packed with burst cherry tomatoes, topped with buttery herbs and garlic oven roasted chicken breast.
Linguini pasta on a white plate with cherry tomatoes, basil, and roasted chicken on top

Basil Desserts

Yep, that’s right, basil desserts. In my book Basil: From Seed to Table, I have a recipe for Basil Whipped Cream and here are a few other ways to use basil for the most important part of the meal, dessert!

Purple popsicles on a marble countertop with blueberries and ice around them.
  • Orange Basil Granita (House of Nash Eats)- Cool off this summer with this refreshing Orange Basil Granita! This light citrus and herb granita is sweet and tart and the perfect finish to any summer meal.
Orange granita in a clear square glass with a silver spoon inserted in garnished with basil leaves
  • Fresh Blueberry Tart with Basil and Honey (Turning the Clock Back)- Looking for basil recipes? Have too many fresh blueberries? Pair them together with this simple tart recipe perfect for summer. Sweetened with honey, this easy dessert will really stand out.
Crispy tart topped with honey, fresh blueberries and chopped basil on a dark counter with a white ramekin of blueberries on the side.

Do you have other recipes or ways that you love to use? Leave me a note below because I’m always looking for new idea for my basil harvest!


Friday 19th of June 2020

Love this!! So many delicious recipes!! Thank you for including one of mine!


Monday 22nd of June 2020

You are so welcome!

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