Superfood: Bright & Fragrant Basil
By Kristi Tamaki, Dietetic Intern, Oregon Health and Science University & Jamie Lee, RD, LD with HealthFull Nutrition, Expert nutritional services located within OAC’s RiverPlace location
Is there a fragrance more vibrant and refreshing than freshly picked basil? We challenge you to find one. Bright bunches of this aromatic herb begin to pop up in home gardens throughout June, heralding the start of early summer. Growing your own potted plants in a windowsill, or in an outdoor garden is the most economical way to enjoy basil. Once picked, it deteriorates quickly, making the $1.99 you spend for a small bunch in the store seem wasteful, especially when you only got a few good leaves out of it.
If you aren’t able to grow your own, there are other ways to preserve basil, and maximize its longevity. In honor of summer and preserving our basil, we’re breaking out the ice cube trays! Next time you have leftover clippings, freeze yours in water or broth to be used at a later date for soups, or a refreshing drink!
Did You Know? Two teaspoons of basil provides a whopping 60% of your daily vitamin K!
Here’s a Tip: Basil oxidizes when you cut it, so if you’re not careful it may turn brown when haphazardly chopped. To avoid this, and so the leaves keep their green color, layer them on top of one another, roll up like a cigar, and thinly slice.
Strawberry Mango Basil Salsa
Servings: makes 2 cups
- ¾ cup chopped mango
- ¾ cup chopped strawberries
- ¼ cup chopped red onion
- 6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
Combine all ingredients and mix, or simply layer ingredients in a bowl. This tastes even better after it sits for a few hours! Serve with cinnamon sugar pita chips, on fish tacos, or on its own.
Advance preparation: This salad will keep for a week in the refrigerator in a sealed container.
Nutrition Facts (per ½ cup): Calories: 35, Calories from Fat: 2, Total Fat: 0g (0%), Sat Fat: 0 (0%), Cholesterol: 0mg (0%), Sodium: 282mg (12%), Total Carbohydrate: 9g, Fiber: 1g (5%), Protein: 1g, Vitamin A: 5%, Vitamin C: 47%, Calcium: 1%, Iron: 1%
Source: How Sweet It Is Blog
Creamy Zucchini Soup with Basil
- 1 lb. zucchini, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, smashed and halved
- 1/3 cup basil, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- ½ cup dry white wine
- vegetable broth
- salt, freshly ground black pepper to taste, bay leaf
- In a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat sauté the onion with olive oil until translucent, about 8 minutes.
- Add chopped zucchini, garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaf, cook for another 5 min, stirring occasionally. Add wine, cover the pot and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add enough broth to barely cover the vegetables, about two cups, simmer partially covered until tender.
- Purée soup in 3 batches in a blender adding some of the chopped basil each time. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Serve warm, garnished with grated lemon zest (optional)
Nutrition Facts: Calories: 116, Calories from Fat: 62, Total Fat: 7g (11%), Sat Fat: 1g (5%), Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg (0%), Sodium: 508mg (21%), Total Carbohydrate: 8g (3%), Dietary Fiber: 2g (6%), Sugars: 4g, Protein: 2g, Vitamin A: 12%, Vitamin C: 35%, Calcium: 3%, Iron: 3%
Source: monikakotus.com “My Photo Journal” Blog
Grilled Steak with Fresh Corn Salad
- 1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
- 3 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- ½ tsp. salt, divided
- 2 boneless strip (top loin) steaks, trimmed (about 1 ¼ lbs)
- 5 large ears of corn, husked
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 small orange or red bell pepper, diced
- 2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- Preheat grill to high.
- Combine garlic, 1 teaspoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Rub the mixture on both sides of steaks.
- Place the steaks and corn on the grill. Grill the steaks 2 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let them rest while the corn finishes cooking. (The steaks will continue to cook while resting).
- Grill the corn, turning to cook all sides, until some of the kernels are slightly charred, 8 minutes total. Let stand until cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the kernels from the cobs using a sharp knife. Combine the corn, tomatoes and bell pepper in a medium bowl; stir in basil, vinegar, the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Slice the steaks and serve with the corn salad.
Advance preparation: Prepare the ingredients for this easy salad before you go to the grill with the steak so that everything can be served together.
Nutrition Facts: Calories: 383, Calories from Fat: 99, Total Fat: 11g (26%), Sat Fat: 3g (15%), Cholesterol: 52mg (17%), Sodium: 379mg (16%), Total Carbohydrate: 39g (13%), Fiber: 6g (24%), Protein: 35g
Source: Eating Well Magazine
Servings: 2 pints, or 5 cups
- 2 ½ cups water
- ¼ cups sugar
- 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
- 2-3 cups packed basil or mint leaves, plus ¼ extra for garnish.
- ½ cup apple juice
- ¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- In a medium saucepan, bring 2 1/2 cups water and the sugar to a boil. Add the apples, and simmer over medium-low flame for about 2-3 minutes, or until apples easily break apart with a wooden spoon. Add the basil leaves. Cover, remove from heat, and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Place the mixture in a blender and blend until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve into a metal bowl, stir in the lemon juice, and allow to cool in refrigerator, or over a larger bowl of ice water.
- Pour mixture into the bowl of an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When sorbet is frozen (it will still seem quite soft), transfer to a storage container, cover tightly and freeze until ready to serve.
- Before serving, garnish with basil leaves.
Basil Switch Out: For a variation, try mint instead of basil!
Nutrition Facts: Calories: 174, Calories from Fat: 3, Total Fat: 0g (0%), Sat Fat: 0g (0%), Cholesterol: 0mg (0%), Sodium: 4mg (0%), Total Carbohydrate: 18g, Dietary Fiber: 2g (8%), Protein: 0g, Vitamin A: 8%, Vitamin C: 0%, Calcium: 2%, Iron: 2%
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