Here are a six of my favorite basil varieties:
1 - Genovese Basil – this is the variety of basil most people recognize. It has broad leaves and a sweet aroma and is used in traditional pesto and Italian dishes.
2 - Thai Basil – has smaller, pointed leaves and a hint of anise aroma. Use this variety in Thai red and green curries and in Vietnamese dishes like pho.
4 - Spicy Globe Basil – perfect for container gardens, this is compact plant with smaller, serrated leaves. It has a strong spicy flavor. Can be used like Genovese basil.
5 - Dark Opal Basil – has dark purple leaves and a milder flavor than Genovese basil. Its aroma has hints of cinnamon, anise and mint. The beautiful color of this basil makes it particularly good in summer salads and slaws.
6 - Holy Basil – also called Tulsi, this basil variety is commonly made into a tea in India. It is an adaptogenic herb, prized for its stress reducing health benefits. Make your own herbal tea with 2 tsp of fresh herb to cup of hot water.
2 cups tightly packed fresh basil
1/2 cup pine nuts (can use walnuts or macadamia nuts)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Use on pasta, vegetables or as a sandwich spread.
What's your favorite way to use basil? Share in the comments below!