Got fresh basil? Here are the best basil recipes for using that peppery herb, from pesto to drinks to pizza.

Basil recipes

Fresh green leaves of peppery basil are one of the best things about summer! There’s nothing that more perfectly evokes the carefree days and warm evenings. Fresh basil brings an irresistibly herbaceous hint to any recipe, and it can be used in both traditional and unique ways. Try classic Margherita Pizza and Basil Pesto, or intriguing ideas like Peach Basil Crisp or Basil Strawberry Popsicles. Here are some of our very favorite basil recipes: and a little on how to grow this popular herb!

And now, our top basil recipes!

How to grow basil

A few tips on how to grow basil at home! Growing your own basil is much cheaper and easier than buying it from the store. Here are a few tips:

  • You can plant it in pots on a sunny ledge! You don’t even need a garden! Though it’s perfect for a raised bed garden.
  • Start from “starts”. We recommend buying a start plant at your local farmers market or garden store. Then plant it in a pot with plenty of drainage (or your garden).
  • Make sure to prune regularly. Regularly remove branches back to the first set of 2 leaves. Pruning the plant makes it grow large and bushy!

For more on how to grow basil, see our posts How to Grow Basil and How to Harvest Basil.

How to store fresh basil

Here’s another tip on fresh basil: how to store it! Storing fresh cut basil inside can be difficult, because cut basil wilts within a few hours. Alex and I have a found a great way to store branches of cut basil.

  • Find a large ball jar and add a bit of water in the bottom: then place the basil stems in cut side down and cover with a lid.
  • Store in the refrigerator and it will last for 4 to 5 days, instead of just hours on the counter!

You can also dry basil! Go to How to Dry Basil.

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Tomato basil pasta

Tomato Basil Pasta & More Recipes!


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This tomato basil pasta pairs sweet tomatoes blistered in a hot pan with fresh basil and Parmesan. An easy dinner idea that’s simply stunning!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 ounces short pasta (penne, rigatoni, orecchiette (shown here), shells, cavatappi, etc)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 pints whole cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • ¼ cup pasta water
  • 1 handful fresh small basil leaves, chopped if large

Instructions

  1. Make the pasta: Start a pot of well salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until it is just al dente. Start tasting a few minutes before the package recommends: you want it to be tender but still a little firm on the inside; usually around 7 to 8 minutes. Before draining, reserve some pasta water with a liquid measuring cup (at least ¼ cup). Drain the pasta.
  2. Blister the tomatoes: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a very large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, add the tomatoes, making sure there is space around each tomato (they are not touching) and the pan is not crowded. If you’re using a medium pan, cook the tomatoes in 2 batches.* Cook for 1 minute without touching the pan, then 2 to 3 more minutes until blistered, shaking the pan several times to rotate the tomatoes. Turn off the heat and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar, gently shaking several times to coat. Add 2 pinches kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Remove the tomatoes from the pan to a bowl.
  3. Finish the dish: Mince the garlic. Once the pasta is done, in the same pan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium low heat. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute until fragrant. Deglaze the pan with ¼ cup pasta water, scraping the pan with a spoon to release all of the flavor of the tomato juices. Turn off the heat.
  4. Add the pasta to the pan and toss to coat. Add the blistered tomatoes, ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, and basil. Season with 2 pinches of kosher salt and lots of fresh ground pepper. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Serve with the remaining ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

Notes

*If the pan is too crowded, the tomatoes will steam instead of blistering. It all depends on the size of your pan: if you’re using a medium pan, you’ll have to cook 1 pint at a time.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Basil Recipes

Looking for more basil recipes?

Looking for a few more ideas? Here are a few more basil recipes:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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1 Comment

  1. I am a first time gardener and have some basil coming in good…the pasta tomatoe salads, soups, and cocktail drinks are some things I will soon be trying! The Collins blend is what I’m talking about! Thank you.