25 Basil Recipes to Make All Summer Long
Whether you’re making a classic pesto, or switching things up with an herbaceous cocktail, the sweet and slightly pepper flavor of this tender green herb is a welcome addition to any dish.
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Herb Your Enthusiasm
There’s no denying that a good, old-fashioned plate of pesto pasta (with homemade sauce, of course) is an excellent way to use up all your homegrown basil. But we’re here to tell you that this fresh, fragrant herb can do so much more. When you find yourself with an abundance of tender green leaves, don’t let them go to waste. Dry some in the microwave and save them for a rainy day — and then put the rest to good use in appetizers, summer cocktails and more. These recipes will help! Wondering where to start? These sweet-and-savory skewers are one of our favorite warm-weather treats — and worth getting excited about. Rich, tangy balsamic lets the sweetness of the fruit sing while our star ingredient, basil, adds truly irresistible fragrance and flavor.
Get the Recipe: Tomato, Watermelon, and Basil Skewers
What better way to celebrate basil than with the quintessential preparation: basil pesto. Fantastic on pastas, grilled bread with a bit of ricotta or drizzled over freshly grilled chicken, this pesto recipe highlights the aromatic sweetness of the basil. To contrast these flavors, the recipe incorporates two cloves of raw garlic for bite, acidity and flavor. Emulsified with plenty of olive oil, pine nuts and Pecorino cheese, you’ll catch yourself eating this pesto by the spoonful before it’s even time for dinner.
Get the Recipe: Basil Pesto
Basil and Lemon Frico
This 3-ingredient recipe is one you’ll make again and again. These cheesy crisps make the perfect snack, gluten-free cracker or salad topper. Just mix grated Parmesan, fresh chopped basil and lemon zest in a bowl. Pile it onto a baking sheet and heat, until golden and crisp.
Get the Recipe: Basil and Lemon Frico
Thai-Style Basil Shrimp with Basil-Coconut Rice
Got mountains and mountains of fresh basil to use up? You're going to love this Thai-inspired recipe. Basil leaves are pureed with coconut milk to make an incredibly flavorful cooking liquid for rice. Add grilled shrimp and you've got a meal!
Get the Recipe: Thai-Style Basil Shrimp with Basil-Coconut Rice
Store-bought Italian Ice has met its match with this Lemon-Basil Granita. Light and refreshing, with the perfect amount of vibrant lemon and fragrant basil, this frozen treat is the perfect way to use basil all year long. Eat the granita solo with a spoon, mix it with vodka or serve with fresh berries.
Get the Recipe: Lemon-Basil Granita
Cubes of bread are tossed with tomatoes, basil, celery, chickpeas, cucumbers, tuna and capers and then dressed with a red wine vinegar-mustard vinaigrette for a simple and satisfying summer meal.
Get the Recipe: Basil-Tuna Panzanella
Parmesan-Basil Corn Cakes
The natural sweetness of corn is the perfect blank canvas for so many flavors, fragrant basil included. Here we chop it up and add it to pan-fried corn cakes — for a summery snack that’s completely irresistible.
Get the Recipe: Parmesan-Basil Corn Cakes
Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Bruschetta
It doesn't get easier (or more delicious) than this. Top toasted bread with tomato, cheese and basil leaves for a party-perfect appetizer or healthy summertime snack.
Get the Recipe: Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Bruschetta
Grilled Chicken with Basil Dressing
It’s time your grilled chicken got an upgrade. And, we've got the perfect recipe! Marinate chicken in a tangy blend of lemon juice, salt, pepper and fennel seeds. Grill the breasts (bone-in, skin-on for maximum flavor!), then make the dressing. An emulsification of basil, oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and lots of black pepper, this dressing is much thinner than a pesto, making it easy to pour just the right amount over the char-grilled chicken. Bon appetit!
Get the Recipe: Grilled Chicken with Basil Dressing
Fresh Strawberry Balsamic Basil Daiquiri
It's five o'clock somewhere which means that, if you’re hopping on the Basil Bus with us, it's time for this Fresh Strawberry Balsamic Basil Daquiri. Not overly sweet, this daquiri comes together in a matter of minutes thanks to the handy blender. Pile in ice cubes, strawberries, rum, balsamic vinegar and, of course, the basil. Let the blender whirl and twirl until your mixture reaches a smooth and slushy consistency, then garnish with a bit more basil and enjoy.
Get the Recipe: Fresh Strawberry Balsamic Basil Daiquiri
This make ahead, have-on-hand Basil-Shallot Butter will immediately elevate any dish you add it to. Mix softened butter with shallots, basil and lemon to create a simple combination of powerful flavors. Serve immediately or store in the refigerator for whenever you’re craving some basil-shallot goodness. Searing that steak you were eyeing in the grocery store? Give it a bath in a bit of this melted butter. Having yourself a nice piece of baguette? Spread this flavorful mixture atop your slice. Sautéing some cremini mushrooms? Use this butter instead of an oil for an added layer of flavor.
Get the Recipe: Basil-Shallot Butter
Vegan Basil Pesto
The combination of smoked almonds, pistachios and green tea gives a depth of flavor that cheese would normally provide, making this a great vegan condiment for pasta or crostini. Freeze leftovers in an ice cube tray and store for up to one month.
Get the Recipe: Vegan Basil Pesto
Forget basic potato salad! Giada gives tender baby potatoes a refreshing spin by topping them with lots of bright lemon and basil. This is the perfect side dish for summer dinners and weekend cookouts.
Get the Recipe: Lemon-Basil Potatoes
Zucchini and Basil Soup
It's always a good time for soup. It's easy to whip up and can be made in bulk and frozen to enjoy later. Take this satisfying soup, for exmaple. It's packed full of fresh flavors like garlic, basil and zucchini and easy to enjoy as a seasonal summertime treat. But it's great during the winter too. There are no rules!
Get the Recipe: Zucchini and Basil Soup
Ree gives her mojitos a summery twist by replacing the mint with fresh basil — and adding lots of ripe, juicy strawberries.
Get the Recipe: Strawberry-Basil Mojitos
Potato Basil Frittata
With potatoes, ricotta and Gruyere, Ina’s frittata is rich and savory. Adding a healthy dose of fresh, herbaceous basil gives the flavor just the right amount of lift.
Get the Recipe: Potato Basil Frittata
This Basil-Balsamic Vinaigrette is a great staple to have on hand. A harmonious blend of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, basil, salt and pepper, this dressing will become your new go-to. The secret? The dynamic between the basil and garlic as they sit in the balsamic vinegar. The longer they marinate in the vinegar, the more each flavor will meld together, into pure deliciousness.
Get the Recipe: Basil-Balsamic Vinaigrette
Tomato Basil Salad
Tomatoes and basil are a classic combination for a reason; Fragrant, peppery basil is the perfect complement to the natural sweetness of tomatoes. Pair the two here for a simple (but stunning) salad.
Get the Recipe: Tomato Basil Salad
Basil Pesto Pizza
Using fresh basil for pesto is always a win — even more so when that homemade pesto becomes the sauce for pizza. Pro tip: Brush a small amount of olive oil around the edges of the pizza crust to make the extra brown and crispy.
Get the Recipe: Basil Pesto Pizza
Basil Ranch Dip
This isn’t your store-bought ranch dressing! An updated take on the classic, this basil-based version is every crudités’ best friend. Combine garlic paste, mayonnaise, buttermilk, parsley, pesto, orange zest, scallions and plenty of salt and pepper. Mix to combine, then pop it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. And may we suggest serving this zesty dip with an array of veggies like bell pepper, celery, carrots and sugar snap peas?
Get the Recipe: Basil Ranch Dip
Roast Basil Chicken, Basil Baby Potatoes, Frisee Plum Salad
A quick basil butter (packed with fresh herbs, garlic and lemon zest) does double-duty in this recipe. We use it to flavor the chicken and the potatoes.
Get the Recipe: Roast Basil Chicken, Basil Baby Potatoes, Frisee Plum Salad
Basil-Mint Coconut Cream Pie
Coconut cream pie gets a makeover with the addition of fresh basil. The savory-sweet flavor of the herbs works well with the flavor of coconut, giving this classic dessert a sophisticated (and delicious!) twist.
Get the Recipe: Basil-Mint Coconut Cream Pie
Frozen Basil Lemonade
You only need 4 ingredients and 10 minutes to whip up a batch of these refreshing slushies. Sugar and lemon juice create the classic lemonade flavor; fresh basil balances out the sweetness.
Get the Recipe: Frozen Basil Lemonade
Capellini with Tomatoes and Basil
Ina knows that plenty of fresh-picked basil is the key to elevating a simple summer pasta. Don't skip the fresh basil on top of the finished capellini; it's a key element in balancing the flavors of this dish.
Get the Recipe: Capellini with Tomatoes and Basil
Strawberries with Basil Granita
If lemon granita isn’t your thing, opt for basil (stuffed inside a fresh strawberry!), instead. That’s right, strawberries and basil. It’s a summertime dream. A perfect poolside popper, these strawberry bites will refresh you from a long day spent outside in the sun. With a bit of sweetness, a bit of fragrance and a bit of white wine, these bites are a great afternoon snack during the hot summer months.
Get the Recipe: Strawberries With Basil Granita