1. Small Batches of Pesto - Our little kitchen plants usually don't produce enough basil for huge batches of pesto, so we've taken to making mini-batches all summer long. We throw a cup or so of basil leaves, a handful of nuts, and a generous helping of parmesan into the blender and add just enough oil to make it into a paste. This might be only enough for one batch of pasta, but it hits the spot!
2. Fresh Green Salads - We roll a few leaves together, slice them into ribbons, and toss them with our other salad greens. The burst of basil flavor every few bites is pure heaven.
3. Simple Pasta - One of our favorite summer dishes is simply fresh pasta, a little oil, heirloom tomatoes, and whole leaves of basil. So fresh and good! Of course, a sprinkling of shredded basil is a great finishing touch to any other pasta dish, as well.
4. Pizza - A handful of thinly sliced basil sprinkled over the pizza as it comes out of the oven is out of this world! It adds a fresh, bright flavor that seems to bring all the others together.
5. Stir-Fries - Stir-fry dishes are already a summer favorite since they use all our favorite fresh veggies, are quick to make, and don't heat up the kitchen. We like to toss a handful of whole basil leaves in at the very end of cooking for an added flavor element.
6. Cocktails and Beverages - From lemonade to gin gimlets, basil works surprisingly well in liquid form! Muddling the leaves helps to release their fragrant and flavorful oils. Mixed into any beverage, we get a subtle basil flavor in every sip.
What are your favorite ways to use basil during the summer?
Related: Quick Tip: Add Basil Last
(Image: Emma Christensen)