Other than pesto...

what can do I with an enormous amount of basil? I’m just one (small)
person, and there’s only so much panzanella and pasta pomodoro I can
eat. I have about thirty portions of pesto in the freezer already - I’m
probably not going to live long enough to finish it. Especially
appreciated would be non-Italian, non-garlicky ideas that keep a long

And if anyone reading this lives on or near Manhattan’s
Lower East Side, and needs some basil, let me know. Because I have
enough to share. As you can see.

(Apologies to those visitors to multiple food sites who have to read
this more than once. Desperate times call for desperate measures.)


Oh I wish I was in your 'hood. I grew basil but I could measure it by the amount of leaves the four plants produced. What is your secret (if you have one)?

The luck of the draw. Some years the basil keels over and dies. And some years, like this one, the basil decides that it’s meant to be a tree. (Trans-herbal?) I keep elaborate gardening records of what I do from year to year, in an attempt to replicate success and avoid failure. It matters not. The plants will do what the plants will do.


Perhaps you could find out if there’s a convenient-to-you restaurant which participates in Second Harvest or some other meal program for the needy, and ask them if they would accept it (and/or some of the frozen basil) and pass it along. There might be legal constraints, but it’s worth asking.


You can always dry it in a dehydrator or a very low oven.


You can always chop it up and freeze it with a bit of water in ice cube trays - that way you can just pop a cube into whatever sauce all winter long. It’s good in sauces/condiments other than pesto, like chimichurri, salad dressings, etc. You can throw leaves into salads whole or chiffonaded (any salad, not just caprese or panzanella). Roll leaves into wrap sandwiches or meat/cheese pinwheels. Use to infuse syrups for mixed drinks, ice cream base, etc. Chop and add to mayo for a sandwich spread or puree with oil as a drizzle or dipping oil.

I’m super jealous of your basil, by the way! I got a late start on mine and it’s not doing NEARLY this well!


I have the same kind of history with my garden. This year the tomatoes are full speed ahead, to my delight. The herbs, not so much.

That’s a great idea, thanks. I hadn’t heard of that organization.

Thanks for your ideas. I have no idea what inspired the basil. The parsley’s also in great shape, and the chives and rosemary are going great guns. Meanwhile, the cilantro and thyme aren’t winning any prizes. Why? Who the hell knows.

Yes, I will try that.

I don’t have an answer for you (we’re also overrun) but do you have a favorite pomodoro recipe?

I sure do. Scarpetta’s.

I made this fantastic vinegrette, it kept well for me (day four was the last of it for me)

And I’m thinking something like these zucchini patties you could make and freeze- or whatever veg patty. I would add way more basil than this recipe but this looks like a good starting point.

You could certainly use a ton of basil mixed into hummus- if you freeze it the color might be unattractive once defrosted (you may need to re-blitz it to make it come together again)

And of course some fresh basil added to cocktails, lemomade, salads and pasta will take care of a little here and there


Hah! Well, this is what I get for triple-posting. Thanks! Those zucchini latkes look intriguing.

I had a fantastic version of basil chicken in Thailand. There was so much stir-fried basil that it served as a vegetable component. I’d try treating your basil leaves like baby spinach and saute it with some chicken. You can adapt the Thai version toward a more Mediterranean or Italian flavor profile.

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Thanks, that looks great. I’ll swap out the chicken for tofu or eggplant or squid - I’m sure that would work well.

Caveat: Thai basil and regular basil taste quite different, IIRC.

I absolutely agree with you. And, like you, I’m having a banner growing season for basil. Even the extra basil stems that I’ve snipped and not used has been growing roots in water in the glass jar I stuck it in. And I’ve done nothing different this year – same plants from the same garden center planted in the same potting soil in the same raised planter on my deck. Go figure!

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Ironically my thyme is going gangbusters and actually crowding out my Rosemary.

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Here’s mine . Favorite pomodoro recipe .

  1. 28 oz can whole plum tomatoes . I prefer Strianese brand .
    Do not put in blender . Will change the color to pinkish .
  2. Open and pour into mixing bowl . Large enough to when you squeeze the tomatoes through your fingers with your meticulously clean hands it won’t splatter .
    Squeeze until smooth .
    Set aside .
  3. Heat on very low 2-3 tbs olive oil . in a sauce pan .
  4. Add 2-3 cloves thinly sliced garlic
    5 )When you begin to smell the garlic add those reserved tomatoes .
    6 ) You can add crushed red pepper at this point . The heat will be through out the sauce if you add it at this time . Or you can wait until finished cooking ,This will provide heat in parts of the finished dish; not through out the sauce.
  5. Simmer 20 - 30 min . Taste for salt . Add water if needed .
  6. Wait until a little shimmer of olive oil appears on top of the sauce .
  7. It’s done . Turn off heat
    10 ) Now add the fresh basil . As much as you like . I add a good handful with the stems
  8. Cover with the heat OFF .Let the basil sit in sauce for around 10 min . Pull out basil with tongs.

Finished .

That’s my pomodoro sauce .