How can I use up a large bunch of fresh basil? No pesto please.
I had the same problem a while back:
I think there are two replies on small_h’s thread that I’d do if it was me. Firstly, make a tomato sauce heavily flavoured with the basil to then freeze in portions. And second, making the basil ice cubes for future use.
I would make a big salad.
Tear into smaller bits and make a basil-heavy tabouleh or some kind of grainy salad.
You don’t want pesto but you could make it and bake muffins or bread/rolls with it. Add some tomato paste, too.
In Argentina I really like the caprese empanadas. Basically, empanadas filled with mozz, tomato chunks and fresh basil. You could double or treble the amount of basil.
I have a popular idea. Portion it up into micro-sized plastic containers marked “organic” and sell it to grocery chains at $4 each. Extra points if you allow it to wilt and turn black first!
When we’ve been able to grow basil, I find myself tucking it into all kinds of dishes. The main thing is that I add, slice, or tear the fresh basil at the last minute so the leaves don’t brown before we eat.
A few basil leaves or a few julienned basil leaves tucked into a hummus or tuna sandwich
Julienned basil leaves as a garnish for grilled tuna or salmon, fish baked in a tomato sauce (Plaki), or a succotash of scallops
Julienned basil leaves on top of sliced, roasted beets for a salad
Torn or julienned basil leaves on top of, or stirred through, pasta just before serving. Or make a “caprese pasta” of tomato, mozzarella, basil, olive oil, and a smushed garlic clove (remove before serving).
Julienned or torn basil to freshen up takeout pad Thai. Obviously Italian basil is not Thai basil, but agreeable if you like Italian basil a lot (I do).
Julienned basil leaves to garnish a vegetable or tomato soup. Or corn chowder.
Classic pizza margherita—I wash the leaves and place them in a dish so that we can tear our own leaves onto each slice as we eat
Thank you all for wonderful ideas,now I have many to choose from !!
Rim a cocktail glass with basil salt-works well with Bloody Marys.
Eggs and fresh basil-scrambled
Add to egg salad, deviled eggs
I enjoy a layer of basil leaves in tuna and chicken salad sandwiches in place of lettuce
Caprese Salad with Mozzarella di Bufala.
A basic tomato sauce …
Thank you all for wonderful ideas.
Just wanted to bump this topic up.
I get basil a bunch at a time probably about 3 times a season from my CSA and I’m always looking for something to do with it. I want to use up the whole bunch at once–or at least within two recipes–rather than just a couple of tablespoons per recipe (since it’s already picked I need to use it within the week).
I’ve done pesto in the past, since that’s all I can think of, but the joke’s on me since I don’t particularly LIKE pesto. I put the pesto into smallish containers and stick them in the freezer; even though the final bunch was last August, I still have one container left in the freezer (not a pasta fan, so I mostly use it for stuffed breads).
I don’t like rich foods (that’s the main pesto problem for me: the oil) so I’m not looking for cream sauces or the like.
Then this might not work; basil oil. I’ve only done it once or twice, and it may not keep long.
I use it in place of lettuce or in addition to. Salads, sandwiches, on pizza, in wraps. It adds a warm fresh bit of minty ish spice.
It keeps well in the fridge, and would probably freeze pretty well, but I’d test a small batch first
Basil Syrup for Cocktails keeps in the Freezer indefinitely
Basil Tincture for medicinal uses
Basil infused Vodka/Gin for Cocktails
Aside from a beer every month or so, I don’t drink.
Basil lime or lemonade, Ice Tea, Cucumber or Watermelon Agua Fresca are all options with the Syrup
More options https://tinyurl.com/w6mkymhr
Mea culpa, I should have been more specific: black/no sugar coffee in the AM, water the rest of the day. That’s all I drink (not what I meant by “I don’t drink” in the previous reply, but also true). Never sweetened drinks in any case.
I also recommend chopped basil in any egg prep.
OK, but once again I want to use the whole bunch in 1 maybe 2 dishes. At a tablespoon or so at a time much of the bunch will wilt or rot before it’s used up. Pesto has so far been the only example of that I’ve found, but I just don’t really use it except for some every now and then.