Presto Pesto- 3 Reasons to Love Basil!

Photo by Stoonn

Photo by Stoonn

Basil is an herb well known for its use in Italian cuisine – it is a major ingredient in pesto sauce. Basil is also commonly used in Indonesian, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine.

The Oxford English Dictionary says that basil may have been used as “some royal unguent, bath, or medicine”.

In fact, there are quite a number of different beliefs associated with the herb. The French often refer to the herb as l’herbe royale (the royal herb), and in Jewish folklore basil is thought to give strength while fasting.

Basil is used in traditional Tamil medicine and in ayurvedic medicine, which is a form of alternative traditional medicine in the Indian subcontinent. Eat basil to get a natural dose of vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium.

There are different types of basil, which differ in taste and smell. Sweet basil (the most commercially available basil used in Italian food) has a strong clove scent. Whereas lime and lemon basil have a strong citrus scent.

But let’s get to the point– Here are your reasons to LOVE basil!

1) It may be useful in treating arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases.

2) Basil has properties that can help prevent the harmful effects of aging.

3) Helpful in preventing damage caused by some free radicals in the liver, brain and heart.

 

Did you learn anything new about this pretty little green leaf? Here is a great pesto recipe to put your new basil knowledge to use!

 

Photo by piyato

Photo by piyato

Basil Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup pine nuts (other nuts, such as almonds or walnuts may be substituted)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until nuts are ground. Pesto should still have texture and not be completely smooth. Add more salt and pepper to taste and enjoy! One variation is to add 1/2 cup rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes. For a lower fat version replace half the oil with soy milk.

This vegan pesto recipe. Toss with pasta, use as a pizza sauce or serve with bread or crackers for an appetizer. Vegan pesto is very quick and easy to make as long as you have a good food processor. This is also a raw foods recipe.

 

Enjoy!

In health,

Johanna

 

 

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11 thoughts on “Presto Pesto- 3 Reasons to Love Basil!

  1. Love pesto! Have you ever tried making it with nettles instead of basil? It’s really yummy and good for you too 🙂 thanks for sharing your recipe! ❤

  2. OMG I have alot of basil left from a salad I made and will def make this pesto to freeze for a later date! Love love basil and cannot wait to grow lots of FRESH in the garden this summer! great post!

  3. Thanks for sharing the healing properties of basil. Of course I already know how delicious it is, but I’m still learning about the way different herbs benefit the body. 🙂

  4. What a great reminder about how beautiful and healing basil is! Your recipe looks tasty… love that you include a hefty dose of black pepper. Pesto that’s well seasoned is such a treat!

    A little tidbit that I learned last year when I was researching chia is that, like chia, basil seed is hydrophilic so it will absorb water and swell into cool little globules that are powerhouse hydrators in the gut. When I get organic basil seed in bulk for sprouting, I will sometimes sub it for chia in my water to make a refreshing chilled drink that not only tastes nice but also helps with sustained hydration when I’m out on a run or just on a hot day. My fav — basil or chia seeds in water that’s been muddled with mint or basil and cucumber.

  5. Love this! I really enjoyed how you listed some of the benefits of basil. Your recipe looks super simple to make and I will definitely be trying it out soon! Thank you for sharing this!

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