Don’t worry, this is not another post on how to make pesto out of fresh basil. I won’t do it to you. It’s the beginning of the basil and wild garlic season and I know there will be plenty of blog posts lurking about on the subject, so I’ll do you the honor of not being one of those posts.
Guess what? It’s not even going to be a post about the best Italian basil dishes. Although it is a pinnacle ingredient in most, if not all Italian dishes, we are going to go off course and look at other ways basil can be used. It doesn’t have to be restricted to just Italian dishes and you deserve to have your eyes opened to the world of basil. It’s one of my favourite herbs (in close competition with rosemary) for its delightful scent and the wonderful flavour it brings when it garnishes a pizza.
Pick a mint dish
Mint and basil come from the same family, so they are destined to work together as a flavour combination. They are both refreshing tastes that help to cleanse the pallet and energise your tastebuds. Because of this, they work in peculiar ways to generate questionable, but also delicious recipes. Some ideas include:
- Basil and mint dressing on roast lamb
- Thai chicken stir fry with basil and mint
- Cucumber, basil and mint salad
- Mint, basil and lemon sorbet
Note… all NON-Italian recipes.
Try this Creamy, Red Lentil, Tomato and Lentil soup recipe.
Lemon, it goes with everything
Let’s be honest, this is no surprise really when lemon seems to go with everything. Recipes with these two flavour sensations are often light and invigorating. I can personally vouch for this as one of my favourite bakes is a lemon, basil and yoghurt loaf. You would probably turn your nose up at the thought of basil in a sweet dish, but when combined with lemon, it could be as iconic as strawberries and cream. Here are some sweet lemon and basil recipes you should consider as your next dessert:
- Lemon and basil tart
- Basil and lemon shortbreads
- Lemon poppy seed muffins with basil
- Lime, lemon and basil posset
Mind Blown Over Basil
Now, I might be about to blow your mind, but there are in-fact several types of basil. One type that isn’t as commonly used is Thai basil, which as you can imagine works really well in many Asian dishes. Thai basil is often darker in colour and has more prominent spikes than the basil we are used to seeing in the UK. It has a sweet, liquorice type taste which makes it very different from the basil often associated with Italian dishes. It’s also that sweet flavour that makes it an incredible ingredient to use in Thai and Chinese dishes where sweet flavours are often prominent in savoury dishes. Why not try your hand at these:
- Thai chicken basil stir fry with sticky rice
- Any coconut curry variation
- Pad Krapow Gai (Thai basil chicken)
- Vietnamese pork and lettuce wraps with Thai basil
Have you been inspired to be a little more adventurous with your basil? Let us know your favourite basil dishes.