Before you forget, add the basil!

Basil is a versatile herb and nutritious! Every summer I grow basil in the garden. It is so satisfying to walk outside and simply snip a few leaves to use immediately in a recipe. Last year, I had so much basil, I dried it, put it in the food processor and made my own dried basil. We've been enjoying it all year. Usually, basil is not the focus of a recipe, it is an after-thought. I am going to share with you a variety of recipes where basil is part of the main attraction. But first, let me share how nutritious basil is.

Basil is an excellent source of Vitamin K1. We don't hear a lot about vitamin K1 when we are thinking about bone health. But did you know Vitamin K1 makes it easier for our bones to retain calcium? Researchers are also looking into Vitamin K1's protective properties which may prevent the break down of our bones.

basil health benefits

In addition to supplying a high amount of Vitamin K, basil is a very good source of iron, calcium and vitamin C. Isn't it interesting that not only does basil contain Vitamin K but calcium as well? Calcium is the cornerstone of bone health and Vitamin K helps the bones retain calcium. It is pretty amazing how food, in this case an herb, contain vitamins and minerals that work together to maintain our good health. Also, basil is a good source of magnesium.

Before we get to the recipes, let me share with you the best way to cut basil for use in recipes. The process is called chiffonade, which is a fancy way to say cut the basil into small, long pieces. First, wash the basil leaves in warm water. Gather 4-5 and layer them on top of each other. Next, roll them tightly. On a cutting board, start to cut the basil into small pieces. What you will have is a chiffonade! You can use the basil pieces as is, when cut this way they are great to toss into salads, soups or smoothies, or you can continue to cut them into smaller pieces if needed. It will look like the below when you are finished.

chiffonade basil

If you are overrun with basil in the garden, you can also dry it in the oven on a very low temperature and then process it in a food processor to make your own dried basil. Click here to see how. Basil can also be frozen for use at a later time. That's right, frozen! A Oregon Cottage has a post on 6 ways to freeze basil. This process is great for using basil later in stir-fry recipes, soups and sauces. Click here to see how.

Now, on to the recipes. If you try any of the below, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram as @heatherleehurst and use the #heathershealthhabits hashtag. I love seeing your takes on the recipes! Want to receive healthy living tips and recipes for free? Follow my blog on Bloglovin. You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest to see what I am up to.


Lemon Basil Chicken from Well Plated. This recipe is fast - ready in just 20 minutes. Plus, it uses fresh and light flavors which are perfect for hot summer nights. The recipe calls for serving the chicken over brown rice but you could also use quinoa or couscous for variety. Click here for the recipe.

lemon basil chicken in a skillet with recipe

Tomato Basil Chicken Fettuccine from Damn Delicious. When the basil is overflowing in the garden, the tomatoes are coming in as well. So this recipe can take advantage of garden crops but it is just as easily made year-round since you can buy fresh basil and tomatoes anytime you want. Total time from prep to dinner plate is 30 minutes. Click here for the recipe.

tomato basil chicken in a skillet with pasta

Baked Fish with Tomato Basil Sauce from The Seasoned Mom. This recipe calls for a flaky white fish such as cod or halibut. It uses canned tomatoes and fresh basil for the sauce. The recipe only take 25 minutes and is a healthy, light dish that could be served with pasta or rice and a steamed vegetable, like broccoli. Click here for the recipe.

baked white fish with tomato sauce and basil

Strawberry Arugula salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette by Cookie and Kate. This colorful salad uses strawberries, arugula, sunflower seeds, jalapeno, basil, red onion, radishes and feta if vegetarian or substitute avocado if vegan. The dressing is an easy add-on. Full of nutrients and filling enough for a light dinner. Click here for the recipe.

strawberry salad with jalapeno sunflower seeds arugula

Lemon Basil Shortbread Cookies from A Beautiful Plate. Yes, basil can be in desserts. In fact, I love cookies. They have to be my favorite dessert. I like that I can have one and feel satisfied. While the recipe doesn't call for organic ingredients, you can easily substitute organic flour, sugar and butter. Click here for the recipe.

cookies in a tin container on a table

I hope you enjoyed learning more about the health benefits of basil and reading some interesting basil recipes. If you try any of the above, let me know! If you would like to receive free healthy living tips and recipes for free, follow my blog on Bloglovin.

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