50 Tasty Ways to Use Up Fresh Basil (2024)

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ByJason Nowak

Taste of Home's Editorial Process

Updated: Jul. 06, 2024

    Our best basil recipes are the perfect way to use up a bumper crop. Find fresh ideas for salads, side dishes, dinners and even desserts!


    Pesto Corn Salad with Shrimp

    This recipe showcases the beautiful bounty of summer with its fresh corn, tomatoes and delicious basil. Prevent browning by spritzing the salad with lemon juice. —Deena Bowen, Chico, California

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    Caprese Salad

    My husband and I love Caprese salad, but not the high prices we pay for it in restaurants. Here, we created our own version which tastes incredibly close, if not better, than any restaurant version we've tried. —Melissa Pearson, Sandy, Utah

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    Bella Basil Raspberry Tea

    Give iced tea a grown-up twist. Fragrant basil lends flavor and the raspberries give it a bright red color. Tou’ll love the fun fizz and make-ahead convenience! —Laurie Bock Lynden, Washington

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    Prosciutto-Pesto Breakfast Strata

    I’d never tried prosciutto before this recipe, and it instantly made me a die-hard fan! The layers of flavor in this dish are brilliant, making it well worth the time and a must for your recipe box. Leftover pesto? Use it up in these recipes using pesto. —Vicki Anderson, Farmington, Minnesota

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    Mango Chicken Thighs with Basil-Coconut Sauce

    This recipe brings the restaurant to my home kitchen. And it’s easy, too! The meal comes together quickly and fills my kitchen with wonderful aromas. If there are any leftovers, they're just as good reheated the next day. —Kathi Jones-DelMonte, Rochester, New York

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    Peanut Butter, Chicken and Basil Sandwich Recipe photo by Taste of Home

    Peanut Butter, Chicken and Basil Sandwich

    Stay with me, here. These classic Thai flavors work on so much more than noodles…try ’em on a sandwich and you won’t be disappointed. —James Schend, Dairy Freed. Looking for more recipes? Learn how to make Thai basil chicken.

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    Sue’s Spicy Tomato Basil Tortellini

    A friend remarked about a similar baked tortellini dish at a restaurant, so I wanted to try re-creating it for her at home. My stovetop version makes it weeknight easy. —Cynthia Gerken, Naples, Florida

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    Basil Tomato Tart

    I received this tomato tart recipe from a good friend of mine. It's a fun way to use up fresh tomatoes from the garden, and it reminds me a lot of pizza.—Connie Stumpf, North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

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    Pesto Shrimp Pasta Recipe photo by Taste of Home

    Pesto Shrimp Pasta

    Fresh basil and dash of red pepper puts zip in this lively shrimp pesto pasta. — Gloria Jones Grenga, Newnan, Georgia

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    Nectarine, Basil and Clementine Infused Water

    Nectarine and basil may sound a little strange, but trust us, this combination is a real winner. A few slices of clementine seal the deal. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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    Grilled Bruschetta Recipe photo by Taste of Home

    Grilled Bruschetta

    This is my go-to appetizer in the summer when tomatoes and basil are fresh from the garden. The balsamic glaze takes this bruschetta recipe over the top. I like to use a Tuscan herb- or basil-infused olive oil for this. But, it's great with just plain olive oil, too. —Brittany Allyn, Mesa, Arizona

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    Meat Lover's Pizza Rice Skillet Recipe photo by Taste of Home

    Meat Lover's Pizza Rice Skillet

    For a quick dinner, I threw this together from what I had in the fridge and pantry. Add any other pizza toppings you desire. I often add black olive slices or mushrooms. My son loves this and calls it pizza rice. —Teri Rasey, Cadillac, Michigan


    BLT Quinoa Bowls Recipe photo by Taste of Home

    BLT Quinoa Bowls

    I absolutely love a BLT with sliced avocado and an egg. Recently, I've been trying out grain bowls, and I thought the flavors of my favorite sandwich would work really well. My family agreed! —Elisabeth Larsen, Pleasant Grove, Utah

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    Italian Cloud Eggs

    Drop egg yolks on nests of whipped Italian-seasoned egg whites, then bake in a cast-iron skillet. Dreamy!—Matthew Hass, Franklin, Wisconsin

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    Chicken Pesto Meatballs

    These tender, pesto-stuffed meatballs get gobbled up in our house. They're short on ingredients, but packed with flavor. I always make a double batch, freezing the other half for a busy night. —Ally Billhorn, Wilton, Iowa

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    Grilled Basil Chicken

    This cinch of a marinade gives the chicken lots of Italian flavor. Serve the chicken with a tossed green salad and garlic breadsticks, or put slices on a ciabatta roll along with lettuce, tomato and mozzarella cheese for a zesty handheld meal. —Lisa Moriarty, Wilton, New Hampshire

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    Dried basil adds its rich herb flavor to this creamy and delicious skillet side dish that's table-ready in just minutes! —Anna Chaney, Antigo, Wisconsin

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    Tasty Marinated Tomatoes Recipe photo by Taste of Home

    Tasty Marinated Tomatoes

    My niece introduced me to this colorful recipe some time ago. I now make it when I have buffets or large gatherings because it can be prepared hours ahead. This is a great way to use a bumper crop of tomatoes. —Myrtle Matthews, Marietta, Georgia

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    Shrimp Pasta Primavera Recipe photo by Taste of Home

    Shrimp Pasta Primavera

    They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. So when I invite that special guy to dinner, I like to prepare something equally wonderful. This well-seasoned pasta dish has lots of flavor, and it won't hurt your budget! —Shari Neff, Takoma Park, Maryland

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    Grilled Basil Chicken and Tomatoes Recipe photo by Taste of Home

    Grilled Basil Chicken and Tomatoes

    Relax after work with a cold drink while this savory chicken marinates in an herby tomato blend for an hour, then toss it on the grill. It tastes just like summer. —Laura Lunardi, West Chester, Pennsylvania

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    Best Caprese Pasta Salad Recipe photo by Taste of Home

    Caprese Pasta Salad

    When fresh tomatoes and basil are abundant in the summer, I like to make this wonderful Caprese macaroni salad. —Debbie Glassco*ck, Conway, Arkansas

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    Lemon Basil Salmon Recipe photo by Taste of Home

    Lemon Basil Salmon

    My husband came up with this easy, foil-packet recipe for flaky, fork-tender salmon. This recipe is a winner. —Marianne Bauman Modesto, CA

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    Lemon Chicken with Orzo Recipe photo by Taste of Home

    Lemon Chicken with Orzo

    Here's a dish that's light and summery but still filling. My kids love all the veggies...for real! If you like a lot of lemon, stir in an extra splash of lemon juice just before serving. —Shannon Humphrey, Hampton, Virginia

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    Caprese Skewers Recipe photo by Eric Kleinberg for Taste of Home

    Caprese Skewers

    Trade in the usual veggie platter for these fun kabobs. In addition to preparing these for get-togethers, I often make these as snacks for my family. And because assembly is so easy, the kids often ask to help. —Christine Mitchell, Glendora, California

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    Basil-Tomato Grilled Cheese

    The tastes of summer abound in this easy Italian-style grilled cheese sandwich. Not only is it delicious, it's super-fast, so you can get back to those summer outdoor activities. —Sylvia Schmitt, Sun City, Arizona


    When I had 80 pounds of tomatoes, I got creative incorporating them into meals. Sometimes I slice this loaf into squares to make sandwiches with fresh mozzarella cheese and deli meats. —Katie Ferrier, Houston, Texas

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    Peach-Basil Lemonade Slush

    This chilly slush with peaches, lemon juice and garden-fresh basil is hands-down the best lemonade ever. It tastes just like summer. —Dana Hinck, Pensacola, Florida

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    Eggplant Parmesan Recipe photo by Taste of Home

    Eggplant Parmesan

    We really like eggplant and would rather have it baked than fried. This can be served as a side or a main dish. —Donna Wardlow-Keating, Omaha, Nebraska

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    Grilled Sausage-Basil Pizzas

    We love basil recipes, and these easy little pizzas are a wonderful change of pace from the classic cookout menu. Let everybody go crazy with the toppings. —Lisa Speer, Palm Beach, Florida

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    Flavorful Tomato Soup

    A cookbook recipe called for ingredients I didn’t have on hand, so I improvised and came up with this. I often make it for friends at church, and I’ve shared the recipe many times.-Jean Sullivan, Denver, Colorado

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    Caprese Chicken with Bacon Recipe photo by Taste of Home

    Caprese Chicken with Bacon

    Smoky bacon, fresh basil, ripe tomatoes and gooey mozzarella top these appealing chicken breasts. —Tammy Hayden, Quincy, Michigan

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    Parsley Pesto

    Homemade pesto always makes a thoughtful hostess gift. Mix things up with this parsley pesto variation. It’s delicious served with pasta or in one of these recipes using pesto. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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    Favorite Baked Spaghetti

    This is my grandchildren's most-loved dish. It feels like a special dinner and is so cozy for cooler months. —Louise Miller, Westminster, Maryland

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    Over-the-Rainbow Minestrone Recipe photo by Taste of Home

    Over-the-Rainbow Minestrone

    This vegetarian soup features a rainbow of vegetables. You can use any multicolored pasta in place of the spirals. —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, Colorado

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    Feta Tomato-Basil Fish

    I rely on my husband for the main ingredient in this fuss-free dish. He fills our freezer after his summer fishing trip. —Alicia Szeszol, Lindenhurst, Illinois

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    Herbed Balsamic Chicken Recipe photo by Taste of Home

    Herbed Balsamic Chicken

    Our kitchen is tiny and cramped, so we try to grill simple (but tasty) meals outside as often as possible during the summer months. Dried herbs work as well, but during the summer use fresh herbs for the best taste. —Kelly Evans, Denton, Texas

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    Basil-Butter Steaks with Roasted Potatoes Recipe photo by Taste of Home

    Basil-Butter Steaks with Roasted Potatoes

    A few ingredients and 30 minutes are all you need for this incredibly satisfying meal. A simple basil butter gives these steaks a very special flavor. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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    Apricots with Herbed Goat Cheese Recipe photo by Taste of Home

    Apricots with Herbed Goat Cheese

    After ending up with bunches of apricots one summer, I created this quick and simple dish. My friends were blown away with its fresh taste and uniqueness. —Wendy Weidner, Ham Lake, Minnesota

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    Basil Citrus co*cktail Recipe photo by Taste of Home

    Basil Citrus co*cktail

    Fruity, fantastic and lighter in calories! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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    Chicken Florentine Casserole

    Creamy and comforting, this chicken and spinach bake is sure to be a hit at dinnertime. The toasty bread crumb topping delivers a bit of a crunch. —Dori Jackson, Gulf Breeze, Florida

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    Mixed Fruit with Lemon-Basil Dressing

    A slightly savory dressing really complements the sweet fruit in this recipe. I also use the dressing on salad greens. —Dixie Terry, Goreville, Illinois

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    Spicy Shrimp Orzo with Lemon and Basil

    This shrimp pasta is made in just one pot. Creating a broth with the shrimp shells is an extra step, but it’s totally worth it for a flavorful final dish. The lemon adds a brightness that pairs well with fresh basil. —Ed Spangler, Timberlake, North Carolina

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    Basil Chicken with Smoked Tomato Jam

    I grow my own herbs and veggies in the summer, and when they are at peak, I incorporate them into my recipes. This is one I developed using fresh basil, parsley and tomatoes when they were at their best and ripest. —Sheryl Little, Cabot, Arkansas

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    Peach Mango Caprese Salad Recipe photo by Taste of Home

    Peach Mango Caprese Salad

    Summer in the Midwest offers a bounty of fresh produce. I wanted to come up with a new recipe for the harvested goods, and this bright, flavorful salad is the refreshing end result. —Richard Robinson, Park Forest, Illinois

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    Pine Nut and Basil Guacamole Recipe photo by Taste of Home

    Pine Nut and Basil Guacamole

    Guacamole is typically a Mexican dish, but that doesn’t mean you can't try to make it with other global flavors. For an Italian-inspired basil guacamole recipe, top it off with toasted pine nuts and fresh herb ribbons. You can also substitute the traditional lime for lemon juice.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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    Cinnamon-Basil Ice Cream

    I started experimenting with herbal ice creams when I was teaching classes at our local college. Not only were the ice creams popular with my students, but my family loved them as well! One of our favorites is made with a variety of basil called cinnamon basil; however, unless you grow the variety yourself, it can be rather difficult to find. I decided to try to re-create the flavor, and this delicious basil ice cream recipe is the result! —Sue Gronholz, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin

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    Basil Chicken Spirals with Mango Salsa Recipe photo by Taste of Home

    Basil Chicken Spirals with Mango Salsa

    I love this recipe! It is one of my favorites to wow a crowd. Most of its wow factor comes from all the fresh ingredients. I always pick up fresh herbs, garlic, cucumbers, and hot peppers—as well as honey and onions when I can— at my local farmers market. All those ingredients give this dish a punch of flavor. —Noelle Myers, Grand Forks, North Dakota

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    Lime Basil Pie

    This sweet lime and basil dessert has a unique taste, plus less calories and fat than the traditional Key lime pie. —Samara Donald, Redmond, Washington.

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    For parties, I turn melon and prosciutto into an easy salad with a honey mustard dressing. To add zip, stir in fresh basil and mint. —Julie Merriman, Seattle, Washington

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    Grilled Eggplant Panini with Basil Aioli

    I love being able to use the bounty of fresh vegetables and herbs from my garden for summer meals. This sandwich is loaded with veggies and has such a satisfying crunch. The melty provolone finishes things off perfectly. —Joseph A. Sciascia, San Mateo, California

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    Originally Published: July 11, 2018

    50 Tasty Ways to Use Up Fresh Basil (2024)
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