10 Great Ways to Use Up Fresh Basil

Pick up a bunch (or two!) of this fragrant herb while it’s in season. The toughest part is deciding how you’ll want to use it—there are just so many good ways.

Pick up a bunch (or two!) of this fragrant herb while it's in season. And don't worry about how you'll manage to use it all—there are just so many delicious ways.


Go the traditional route and whip up a mean pesto sauce. Use as a condiment or as a sauce for fish or pasta dishes.

Infused Oil

Infuse your favorite olive oil with basil. It only takes a few minutes!


Having a few guests over? Whip up simple finger foods using fresh basil leaves.

Vegetable Soups

Whip up a batch of a summer veggie soup--add ribbons of chopped basil for more seasonal flair.


Basil pairs nicely with a wide variety of seasonal veggies. Just chop and toss into your favorite salad.


Toss whole basil leaves on your favorite pizza when it's hot out of the oven. Delicious!

Fish & Seafood Dishes

Tomato and basil are a match made in seafood heaven. Combine with shrimp or halibut for a delicious main dish.


Use aromatic basil to punch up your everyday sides.

Frozen Desserts

Basil also goes well with fruit like watermelon, lime, lemon, mango and strawberries. Combine for variety of mouthwatering frozen treats.


Don't forget your cocktails! Muddle basil into lemon or berry-based drinks to balance out the sweetness.

What to Look For

At the market, choose basil with bright green leaves and avoid those with black, brown or yellow spots.

How to Store

Once you get home, place the cut stems in a container of water and keep it on the windowsill for about a week. The water should be changed every other day. You can also store basil wrapped in a damp paper towel in the refrigerator drawer for up to 4 days.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby's full bio »

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