HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Lots of basil

My friend gave me a large bag filled with basil.
Other than basil pesto, what can I do with so much basil?
I was thinking about sauteed thai basil chicken? and maybe tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.
Any other ideas?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Good on a hamburger.....etc.

    1. Make a huge batch of pesto and freeze it in ice cube trays or small baggies. You will be huggung yourself in the dead of winter with a fresh basil pesto dinner!!! Lots of people say that when making it to freeze, leave out the cheese and add it when you actually use it. I have not found this to be necessary, myself.

      3 Replies
          1. re: Monica

            You can blend the basil with oil (but not make pesto) or even in just a tiny bit of water and freeze them like the Dorot packages that Trader Joes carries. Really handy for when you need just a touch of basil in a recipe or for popping into soups and stews in the winter time.

            Personally, I never get tired of caprese salads (and sandwiches when I still ate bread.)

        1. Wilt a bunch of basil in olive oil and butter, then toss with pasta, grated parmesan and breadcrumbs.

          Make a pizza and layer on the basil. Basil even makes frozen pizza taste better.

          But the best way to use it up is Taiwanese "3 cups chicken". Mix 1 cup soy sauce, 1 cup rice wine and 1 cup sesame oil to make a braising liquid, then simmer with a pinch of sugar, a handful of chopped shallots and sliced ginger. Use the liquid to braise chicken drumsticks over low heat for about 1/2 hour. Add lots of basil leaves, then braise for another 1/2 hour until basil is wilted and liquid is almost completely evaporated into a sticky glaze. This is a salty dish that should be eaten with steamed rice.

          2 Replies
          1. re: RealMenJulienne

            Sounds delicious but 1 cup of sesame oil? You sure???

            1. re: Monica

              That's the classic ratio, but I admit I always use less. usually about 1/3 cup.

          2. Make an herb salad using basil, parsley, mint, arugula and chives or a white pizza with garlic, basil and figs. Also make basil ice cream, it's outstanding.

            2 Replies
            1. re: treb

              Last time I tried to make pizza, it came out too doughy..i couldn't handle the dough well but white pizza with fig sounds delicious.

              1. re: Monica

                Buy the dough at your fav super market or bakery. Also, make sure your oven is screaming hot.

            2. I keep hearing about the deliciousness of basil simple syrup in/on desserts and drinks. Haven't tried it but if you're feeling adventurous,

              Maybe also a basil-y tomato sauce??

              1 Reply
              1. re: Siegal

                I actually had ice cream with infused basil in an Indian resto. and it tasted really refreshing.

              2. Well, this doesn't use much, but Ina's Basil Mayonnaise is delicious. Oh, and once you make that pesto, her pesto pasta with peas is also delicious. I just picked basil, parsley, rosemary and sage to make a warm cannellini bean salad for dinner. I haven't made it before, but how can all that be bad, I say. It's from Serious Eats. Oh, I almost forgot, fresh (raw) tomato sauce with basil is the food of the gods!

                1. Basil butter, IME, keeps even better than pesto in the freezer. And keeps for quite a while just in the fridge.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: seattle_lee

                    I bought some olive bread today from my favorite bakery...basil butter sounds great on them.

                  2. Making a pot of tomato and basil soup tomorrow night. Mmmmm!

                    1. Keep it in a vase of water which you change daily. Refrigerating fresh basil makes it turn brown and wilty.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: greygarious

                        This is a great tip, I was just going to start a thread on how to store basil. How long does it keep like this? And does it matter if it is kept in sunlight or not?


                        1. re: greygarious

                          I couldn't keep them in a vase because I have a bag full of basil leaves. I wrap them around with wet paper towels and put them back to the ziploc bag...it still looks good after 2 days. Thanks for the tip.

                        2. You could dry it for use as an herb. Keeps well, and will almost certainly be fresher and more pungent than the store bought herb.

                          Basil is also a nice touch in various drinks. Most often its a minor component, but sometimes it gets blended into the drink in quantity.

                          1. Basil oil or basil mint oil is really good and keeps a long time in the fridge or freezer.

                            Oh, I also make a nice basil cello. Same way as lemon cello or other cellos except with basil. Really nice for a summer drink mixed with lemonade.

                              1. re: youareabunny

                                i tried that last week with regular basil and was not pleased with the result.
                                i need to find a local source of thai basil that does not require hours of driving. . . . .

                                1. re: westsidegal

                                  what do you mean regular basil? genovese vs. thai?

                                  the wrappers are utterly neutral, so if you changed up the ingredients to cucumber and peas with a bit of fet, or small pieces of salmon, yours would be fine.

                                1. I like doing a basil heavy tomato and mushroom sauce. Saute very finely diced onions, mushrooms, garlic in olive oil, add tomatoes (canned is fine) and simmer. Toss in a lot of basil, and run it through the blender when cool. Freeze for later. It's good on ravioli.

                                  I'll typically use about 1 cup onion, 2 cups mushrooms, 1 cup packed basil and 3 cups canned tomatoes.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. I cook with basil A LOT. Here's some ways I'ved used it:

                                    - pizza topping
                                    - sprinkled on chowder (mmm, corn chowder)
                                    - Szechuan style eggplant with basil
                                    - layered in eggplant parm or lasagna
                                    - quiche
                                    - coated on cheese for hors d'oeuvres
                                    - herb cream cheese, with fresh thyme, dill, parsley, garlic, etc
                                    - croutons or garlic bread
                                    - focaccia
                                    - sandwiches or panini (grilled cheese with basil and thinly sliced red onion makes a fulfilling lunch for me)
                                    - herbed roasted new potatoes or cherry tomatoes
                                    - egg or potato salad
                                    - roasted chicken
                                    - salad dressings

                                    Good luck using up your basil. Happy cooking!

                                    1. I made egg omelette with chopped basil in it...while the flavor was good(obviously), I didn't like the texture...i didn't like chewing wilted basil with soft eggs...any thought?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Monica

                                        the leaves can be kinda dense. i'd have whizzed it in the food pro with a smidge of oil.

                                        someone else mentioned herb salad and i love those in summer. you can add some cous cous or orzo for more body. preserved lemon, olives, bits of roasted red pepper or fresh garden cherry tomatoes. toss with great olive oil and squeeze of lemon. delish.

                                      2. Monica the best thing ever is to make a tomato basil pie. several 5 star recipes can be found on a google search and the pillsbury crust works fine.