HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


I accidently bought fresh basil inst of culantro >>what to do with it?

I was going to make sofrito. oh well, this is how new ideas come about.

Any suggestions? Please, no pesto, prefer no pasta (too many carbs), and recipes that use more than a teaspoon or two of fresh basil. I have a huge bunch.

Thanks for your ideas!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I realize that you said no pesto, but maybe you could make it and put it on chicken or fish, rather than pasta. Plus, if you have a lot, pesto freezes really well.

    Also, today I was watching Giada De Laurentis and she made a Baked Squash Gratin, which has pesto in it. It looked tasty!

    (I love pesto!)


    1 Reply
    1. re: valerie

      That *does* look good, and it's certain not how I have ever cooked butternut squash before. Maybe I'll give it a try. Thanks

    2. I bought a bunch of fresh basil on the weekend... I made Zuni chicken with LOTS of basil under the skin instead of thyme... and last night I made bruschetta with basil and fresh tomato. Tomato/basil salad is supposed to be delicious too.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Kajikit

        I always buy skinless chicken, but maybe I can make a pocket in the meat and stuff it with basil. Thx for the tip!

        1. re: xnyorkr

          Puree the basil w/olive oil & balsamic vinegar (the cheap kind) and rub on your skinless chicken & broil or grill.

          1. re: xnyorkr

            I slash chicken breasts and put basil and parmesan in the slits then bake. Yum, sometimes I wrap them in prosciutto too!

        2. Thai beef with basil. Delish.

          1 Reply
          1. Oh, forgot. IF you can find some decent tomatoes -- Buy some FRESH mozzerella. Slice the tomatoes, slice the mozzerella, chop the basil and sprinkle over tomatoes and cheese. Drizzle with olive oil. Simple and perfect.

            1. I've had great success freezing Thai basil and some of the spicier basils, but I admit I've never tried it with sweet basil (if that's what you have).
              Roughly chop leaves. Gently press into ice cube trays (filling each about half way). Add just enough water to cover. Freeze. Once frozen, store cubes in baggie in freezer. Toss in a cube or two at the end of cooking a pasta dish. The cube melts right in, and the flavor is surprisingly fresh.

              2 Replies
              1. re: maestra

                that's cool, you're chopping the thai basil and freezing it in the water / icecube? the stuff with the purple in the leaves, right?

                1. re: maestra

                  It should work with sweet basil fine. I buy the Dorot frozen herbs in TJs and one that they offer is basil - the regular sweet kind. They're great for when you don't have a fresh herb on hand but need the flavor. Making your own cubes would be fantastic.

                2. You can make a soup: Minestrone with Basil, such as this one - there are lots of other recipes for a minestrone with basil:

                  1. Yah know basil can be used in alot of dishes... I have used it many times in desserts that contain apricots or peaches... basil icecream is easy to make and goes with a ton of dishes... as well anything tomatoey... you can also crystalize basil by brushing it with eggwhite and sel Maldon.. or sugar... let it dry out on the counter for a day or two or throw it in the oven on a super low temperature for 2 or three hours...eggwhite and salt for garnishing fish and seafood dishes and sugar ones for icecream..anything with coconut... thai curry dishes... anything with stone fruit... you can keep the crystalized basil in a sealed jar for up to 3 monthes after that it will start turning into a powder... you can then chuck it or freeze it to garnish plates or mix with large rock salt..or even make some basil oil... or if you are really ambitious..make jam or jelly from it .. by adding a half a bottle of unused wine you have left over(has to be white)... works best with unoaked chard... sauvignon blanc unoaked again..or gerwurtz and the best a new world reisling... you can serve this jam or jelly with baked brie or just even a cheese plate...it is amazing and such a beautiful color.

                    1. You can just throw it into a salad. It adds a lot. Or chop it up and put in a dressing with vinegar, olive oil, a little garlic, etc.. It's really yummy. Put it on a sandwich with mozzarella, prosciutto, tomato. I make a risotto recipe with corn, basil,and tomato, but I guess you might not be so into that if you don't like carbs. Make a pizza with fresh basil. Thai rice noodle dishes and also beef with basil (and chilis), tofu with basil, etc.

                        1. what about a great tomato, mozz & basil fresh pizza, or white garlic type.

                          1. Pineapple basil dressing, great with salmon over rice or as a hawaiian style salad dressing. I use to serve it at my now history lunch restaurant and it was a big hit. Just puree the basil with pineapple, or juice reduced, add a touch of vinegar, salt and enough tasteless oil to emulsify.

                            1. thai spicy chicken with basil
                              or thai eggplant with basil