Take advantage of all the fresh basil around with these recipes that honour this fragrant and fantastic herb.

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1. Caprese Pesto Pasta Salad

Tis the season for this incredible Caprese Pesto Pasta Salad, a tasty mash up of a traditional Caprese salad with a creamy Pesto pasta salad. With tomatoes and basil at their prime, the fresh flavors combined with homemade pesto perfection make this pasta salad a super-easy and gourmet way to bring sunshine to the table.


Homemade Pesto

1 cup fresh basil, gently packed, stems removed
1 small garlic clove
1/2 cup ground almonds
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar

1 lb rigatoni pasta

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup mini bocconcini cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Fresh basil, to garnish


1) For the pesto, place the basil, garlic, almonds, salt and pepper in a food processor. Process 10 seconds to chop. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. With the machine running, slowly pour in the olive oil in a steady stream until mixture is smooth, about 20 seconds. Add the Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise and white balsamic vinegar, processing just until incorporated.

2) For the pasta, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until tender, drain well and transfer to a large serving bowl. Let cool slightly.

3) Toss pesto with cooked pasta, tomatoes and bocconcini. Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish serving bowl with fresh basil.

Serves 8

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2. Parmesan Chicken & Arugula Salad with Creamy Basil Dressing

Golden-baked Parmesan chicken, peppery arugula and crunchy apples are tossed together in a creamy basil dressing, resulting in a delicious and sophisticated meal-worthy salad.


Parmesan Chicken

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1-inch thickness
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ freshly grated ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp chopped fresh thyme
6 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Creamy Basil Dressing

½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
½ cup fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
½ tsp kosher salt

Arugula Salad

4 large celery stalks, sliced
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 cups arugula, packed


1) For the chicken, preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil and coat with non-stick cooking spray. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, Dijon and thyme. Brush on top of chicken and sprinkle each breast with 2 tbsp Parmesan, pressing lightly to adhere. Bake 15 minutes until cooked trough. Let cool slightly before chopping into bite-sized pieces.

2) For the dressing, in a food processor or blender, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, basil, Parmesan, lemon juice, garlic and salt blending until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

3) To assemble the salad, in a large bowl, combine cut up chicken, celery and apples and toss with dressing. Gently toss arugula into salad. Serve immediately.

Serves 4

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3. Green Goddess Quinoa Salad

When we’re told to “Think Green,” we immediately flash to this incredible Green Goddess Quinoa Salad recipe. Protein-packed quinoa, mixed with edamame and kale, is tossed in a creamy avocado and fresh herb dressing. Really, there is paradise in every bite of this fresh and fantastic salad.


1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups chopped kale
1 cup frozen shelled edamame

Creamy Avocado Dressing

1 ripe avocado
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 small garlic clove, minced
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup olive oil

1 ripe avocado, sliced to garnish each serving


1) Combine quinoa and vegetable broth in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed. Place quinoa in a large bowl and set aside.

2) Fill a large pot with about an inch of water. Place a steamer on the bottom of the pot and add the kale and edamame. Cover and steam over high heat for 2-3 minutes, until kale turns bright green and edamame is defrosted. Plunge greens into a bowl of cold water to prevent further cooking. Drain well and set aside.

3) For the avocado dressing, using a food processor or blender, combine avocado, lemon juice, mayonnaise, white wine vinegar, garlic, parsley, basil, cumin, salt and pepper. Pulse 2 to 3 times, until well combined. Add olive oil gradually and blend well.

4) Add kale and edamame to the quinoa and toss with avocado dressing. Garnish with sliced avocado.

Serves 4

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4. Grilled Peach Panzanella Salad

Want to be a real peach? Serve up this fresh and fantastic Grilled Peach Panzanella Salad, a tasty combination of peppery arugula, juicy tomatoes, aromatic basil and crusty bread cubes all tossed in a zesty mustard vinaigrette.



¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp chopped shallots
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

3 fresh peaches, halved and pitted
1 tsp olive oil
3 cups packed baby arugula
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1½ cups grape tomatoes
1 (10-inch) Italian or French breadstick, cut into 1-inch slices
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp kosher salt


1) For the dressing, in a medium bowl, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, honey, Dijon mustard, lemon zest, shallots, salt and pepper until well combined. Set aside.

2) Preheat grill to medium heat. Lightly brush each peach half on the flat side with 1 tsp olive oil. Place peach halves on grill flat-side down for 1-2 minutes, until they have grill marks. Remove from grill and slice halves into wedges. Place peach wedges in a large mixing bowl along with arugula, basil and tomatoes.

3) Lightly brush bread slices on both sides with 1 tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place on grill and cook until toasted on both sides, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from grill and cut bread into 1-inch pieces. Transfer bread cubes to mixing bowl with remaining ingredients. Toss to coat with dressing and serve.

Serves 4-6

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5. Quick & Easy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

How do you get everyone to say ‘Mamma Mia’ with each bite? Simply whip up this quick and easy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta, fusilli coated in a creamy (yet cream-free) pesto-like sauce of roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan, almonds and olive oil. Mixed with fresh green peas and topped with ricotta and basil, who could resist?


Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and chopped
¼ cup ground almonds
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, chopped
1 tbsp chopped shallot
¾ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ cup olive oil

1 lb fusilli
1 cup fresh peas
½ cup whole milk ricotta cheese
Fresh basil leaves, for garnish


1) For the roasted red pepper sauce, in a food processor or blender, combine roasted red peppers, ground almonds, red wine vinegar, Parmesan cheese, sundried tomatoes, shallot, salt and pepper. Blend until well chopped. Add olive oil and blend until smooth. Cover and let stand until ready to dress pasta.

2) For the pasta, in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water, cook fusilli until tender. In the last 2 minutes of cooking the pasta, add fresh peas and cook until both are tender. Drain well and place pasta and peas in a large serving bowl. While pasta is still warm toss with prepared sauce. Top pasta with crumbled ricotta cheese and garnish with basil leaves.

Serves 6-8

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6. Strawberry & Basil Milkshake

This easy, creamy and smooth Strawberry Basil Milkshake recipe combines the sweetness of strawberries with aromatic basil, creating a unique, cool and refreshing shake. Yes, spring has sprung and this milkshake is the berry and basil patch in one glass.


2 cups strawberry ice cream
1 cup fresh strawberries, stems removed, sliced
½ cup whole milk
1 tbsp strawberry syrup
3 fresh basil leaves, sliced

Fresh strawberry, to garnish


Using a blender, combine ice cream, fresh strawberries, milk, strawberry syrup and basil leaves. Blend until smooth. Pour into a tall milkshake glass and garnish with a fresh strawberry.

Serves 1

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7. Asian Pear Basil Mojito

A spoon (actually two teaspoons) of honey make the vodka go down in the most delightful way, especially in this Asian Pear Mojito, a refreshing blend of pears, basil, honey and vodka.


¼ cup peeled and chopped Asian pear
4 fresh basil leaves, torn
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp honey
2oz pear vodka
Ginger ale, to top up

Fresh basil, thinly sliced to garnish


Using a tall glass, muddle chopped pears, torn basil, lemon juice and honey. Fill the glass halfway with ice cubes and stir in pear vodka. Top up glass with ginger ale. Stir well and garnish with basil.

Serves 1

Authors of bestselling cookbooks Bite Me, Bite Me Too and Lick Your Plate, saucy sisters Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat love eating, feeding, entertaining and dishing up easy recipes at BiteMeMore.com.