Everyday Meals

What to Do With Too Much Basil

It happens to the best of us. Maybe you got too excited at the farmers’ market and grabbed too many bunches, or that plant you picked up at Trader Joe’s months ago is exploding with leaves and crowding the pot. An excess basil doesn’t have to be a problem—in fact, it’s a real summer blessing if you know how to utilize all those extra herbs. Here are a few ideas to get you started. 

Make pesto

Easy never tasted so awesome.

Making pesto may be the most obvious answer, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook the power of such a vibrant homemade condiment. If you get carried away, you can always freeze it for later. 

Make cocktails

Know what else basil goes great with? Alcohol. Whip up a basil-infused simple syrup you can pour into a drink—boozy or not—anytime. You can use a lot of basil up at once by making Basil Mojitos or a pitcher of Basil Lemonade. Or, throw a handful into your blender for a strawberry-basil smoothie  

Use it in a rehydrating salad

If you also need to use up some watermelon (Yes, they are exciting, but huge), pair it with some chopped basil leaves and a few pinches of crumbled feta. You could also bring some cucumbers into the mix and make this Watermelon, Cucumber, and Feta Salad. Prep a bunch of basil-melon goodness and stash the rest in the fridge to throw on top of some greens for a quick meal or side. The beauty here is that the salty feta will soak up extra water and keep your watermelon cubes from getting smushy. 

Save it

Come winter, your basil plant likely won’t be invading your windowsill. Don’t let all the hard work you put into keeping it alive wither. Puree some basil and olive oil in a food processor, and freeze the mixture in an ice cube tray. You can also blanch and freeze whole leaves, or dry them in the oven. 

Root it

You can also turn all that basil into even more basil by cutting off a piece (Be sure to cut at a 45-degree angle) and transferring it to a glass of water. As long as the sprig gets enough sunlight, it’ll grow enough roots to move into soil within a few weeks. Now you’ve got a perfect impromptu dinner party or housewarming gift that will definitely keep on giving. 

Try These Basil Recipes

Finally, remember that basil is versatile. There are plenty of dishes and drinks you can incorporate basil into, from pizza to chimmichurri and even Caprese Ice Cream Sundaes. 

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