Living and Eating Well!

 

Posts Tagged ‘Basil’

Spicy Tuesday – Eggplant Pecorino – Basil

We first posted this delicious recipe in 2013. Full of the flavors of spring, the warm weather in Atlanta is inspiring arugula lust:)
 We love eggplant in all its different shapes and size… did you know that more than 4 Billion acres across the world are planted with numerous varieties? This relative of the tomato and potato is a food chameleon – absorbing the flavors of whatever it is cooked with and adding its unique meaty texture to the dish.

The salad we are featuring this week can be a side or a main, as it combines eggplant with leafy greens and other veggies, and is topped with capers and our herb of the week, Basil. Just like eggplant, Basil is used in cuisines around the world. Here in the US we commonly think of it as part of Italian cuisine. Indeed, our recipe takes its flavor cues from Italy with the addition of red peppers, tomatoes and pecorino romano cheese.

Not only does Basil taste great, its also a powerhouse of nutrition.  This herb is a primary “go to” choice for its anti- inflammatory properties. This effect stems from eugenol, a volatile oil in basil that blocks enzymes in the body that cause swelling. Both fresh basil and basil oil have strong antibacterial capabilities as well. In fact, basil has been shown to stop the growth of many bacteria, so add ing it to your salad ensures its safe to eat!

Eggplant Pecorino

1 Large Eggplant, cut in long slices

1 – 2 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

1 Cup Freshly Grated Pecorino Romano

6 Cups Arugula

3 Roma Tomatoes cut in thin long slices

1 Recipe Balsamic Vinaigrette*

1 Roasted Red Pepper, Chopped

½ Cup Capers

½ Cup Basil, Chiffonade

Step One

Drizzle the eggplant with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill the eggplant on a grill pan, in a cast iron or on a grill outside – about 2 minutes a side. While the eggplant slices are still hot off the grill, sprinkle some grated Pecorino cheese over them.

Step Two

Divide the arugula between 4 salad plates. Begin layering the eggplant and tomato slices, each layer perpendicular to the other. Drizzle with dressing and top with red pepper, capers and basil.

* Balsamic Vinaigrette 

2 TB Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tsp Dijon Mustard

¼ to ½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Dry or Fresh Herbs as Desired

1 Grated Garlic Clove, optional

Spicy Tuesday – Crisp and Crunchy Orange Coleslaw – Basil

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There’s nothing like warm weather to inspire the “coleslaw” in us. This one is a yummy blend of cabbages, radishes, carrots and orange. And the perfect partner to zesty orange flavor? Basil.

Basil has a lot of “bang for your buck”. It’s full of anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial compounds. The herb is very low in calories and contains no cholesterol. Try it in this recipe, and you’ll discover it adds lots of flavor to more than just pesto or caprese salad.

Use this slaw as a side, topping slices of avocado in a pita or serve it as a bed for  grilled white fish for dinner tonight – Yum!

Orange and Honey Coleslaw

3 Cups Shredded Purple Cabbage

1 Cup Shredded Napa Cabbage

1 Cup Shredded Jicama

1 Cup Shredded Radishes

1 Cup Shredded Carrots

½ Cup Thinly Sliced Green Onions

½ Cup Chopped Basil

1 Recipe Orange and Honey Dressing

Toss together all the ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss well.

Orange and Honey Dressing

2 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 TB Honey

¼ Cup Orange Juice

1 Clove Garlic, Grated

1 Tsp Cumin

½ Tsp Ground Coriander

½ Tsp Smoked Paprika

½ Tsp Fine Sea Salt

¼ Tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Whisk together all the ingredients in a small bowl

Spicy Tuesday – Strawberry and Asparagus Salad – Basil

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Both of us are big fans of seasonal foods. With spring upon us, this means that both strawberries and asparagus are in season. This easy to make and gorgeous salad is a recipe to add to your recipe file – Delicious, Different and Full of Flavor!

The zippy taste of basil adds lots of pop to this salad – Basil is a top herb of choice for us because of the essential oils it has in it. They are known for their anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Basil is also an excellent source of Vitamin A and iron.

Strawberry and Asparagus Salad

2 Cups Strawberries, Stemmed

¼ Cup Fresh Lemon Juice

1 TB Dijon Mustard

½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Black Pepper and Sea Salt to Taste

3 Cups Quinoa, Prepared

12 Asparagus Spears, Roasted and Chopped

2 Ripe Avocados, Chopped

¼ Cup Chopped Basil, Chiffonade

4 Cups Baby Arugula

½ Cup Chopped Toasted Almonds

Step One To make the dressing, roast the strawberries on a aluminum foil lined sheet tray, sprayed with nonstick spray – 10 minutes in a 400F oven.
Remove from the oven and let cool briefly. Coarsely Chop.

Step Two Whisk the juice, mustard & oil together. Add the strawberries. Season with salt & pepper.

Step Three To make the salad, gently combine the quinoa, asparagus, avocados and basil together.

Step Four Spoon the quinoa over a bed of arugula, and drizzle with dressing as desired. Top with almonds and basil.

 

Have you ever roasted berries before? Just like with veggies, roasting berries concentrates the flavor, making them even more delicious and sweet – when you take them out of the oven – they smell like fresh berry pie!

Spicy Tuesday – Blueberry Basil Bacon Salad with Cheddar Dressing – Basil

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It’s almost Blueberry Season in Georgia! We are getting ready for it by passing on recipes for super fare like this. (The delicious season starts in mid April and end at the end of July.) We love blueberries in salads, main dishes, topping yogurt and just plain out-of-hand. Here’s a fun main dish blueberry salad that everyone will love, AND it’s pretty, too.

Basil absolutely SINGS in this salad. Its peppery, bright flavor adds a real zip to the salad – we use it as part of our greens, instead of a garnish. As the summer rolls in, this salad will become more and more seasonal, as our herb gardens burst with lots and lots of basil.

Basil has many essential oils such as eugenol, citronellol, and limonene. These compounds are known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Basil also is very low in calories and contain no cholesterol. This salad is rich essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that are required for optimum health.

Bacon and Blueberries Salad

16 Cups Baby Spinach

½ Cup Red Onions, Thinly Sliced and soaked in ice water for 30 minutes, drained and patted dry

4 Slices Turkey Bacon, crumbled

1 Pint Blueberries

¼ Cup Julienned Basil

1 Cup Toasted, Slivered or Sliced Almonds

Toss together the ingredients in a large bowl and serve with the cheddar dressing on top.

Cheddar Dressing

2 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 TB Red Wine Vinegar

1 TB Lemon Juice

2 Tsp Grated Garlic

½ Cup Nonfat Greek Yogurt

1 Cup Grated Low Fat Cheddar

2 Finely Chopped Green Onions, Greens Only

1 Tsp Sea Salt

¼ Tsp Finely Ground Black Pepper

In bowl, combine oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard and garlic. Add in the yogurt and cheddar, stir together well. Add the green onions and season with salt and pepper.

 

Spicy Tuesday – Squash Ribbons – Basil

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We are starting to get excited about warm weather around here. In Atlanta the days are getting longer, and with a weekend that was in the 60s and sunny…well its hard not to dream of the sultry days of summer. And what veggie in the grocery store reminds us of our own summer garden plots? Squash, of course!

This week’s recipe is a new take on a “frequently-used” veggie in our homes. Zucchini and Yellow Squash both work great in this recipe, or together. Sautéed in a little butter and olive oil and topped with Feta and the bright fresh taste of basil, it’s a side that doesn’t get easier OR better!

Basil adds a pop of flavor and health benefits in every bite. Basil can reduce inflammation and protect against unwanted bacterial growth. The health benefits stem from the flavonoids and essential oils in the herb. Finally, basil is a good source of magnesium, which is helpful with cardiovascular health.

Squash Ribbons with Feta and Basil

2 LBs Zucchini or Yellow Squash

1 TB Unsalted Butter

1 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

¼ Cup Crumbled Feta

¼ Cup Chiffonade of Basil (thin strips)

Step One Using a vegetable peeler, make long thin strips of the squash – avoiding the very “seedy” middle. (Use the middle to add flavor to vegetable soup!)

Step Two Melt the butter and olive oil together in a medium hot pan. Saute the ribbons until crisp tender, about 2 -3 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and remove to a platter. Garnish with the feta and basil and serve

Spicy Tuesday – Kale and Basil Pesto – Basil

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Not only can kale make a delicious salad or side – it also makes a fabulous pesto, perfect for tossing with some whole-wheat pasta or as a “schmear” on a goat cheese topped crostini. The bright green color of the kale and basil make this pesto so appealing! Because we can get such beautiful basil in the winter as well as during basil season in summer, this a yummy condiment to make all year round.

Basil creates the peppery pop with this pesto. Basil has a lot of vitamin K, vitamin A, iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C and potassium. It also has antibacterial properties and contains DNA-protecting flavonoids. The essential oils in the pesto have many health benefits. One of those oils – eugenol – can block the activity of the harmful enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX) which deals with the unwanted inflammation often found in the body. What a wonderful pesto this is to keep our body healthy and happy!

Kale and Basil Pesto

1 Garlic Clove

2 TB Tahini*

1 TB Lemon Juice

2 – 3 Cups Packed Shredded Green Curly Kale

1 Cup Packed Basil

½ Cup Chopped Toasted Walnuts, Almonds or Pecans

1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Place the garlic, tahini and lemon juice in the food processor bowl and whiz until pureed. Add the walnuts, kale and basil and pulse to blend. With the machine running, pour the olive oil in a steady stream into the bowl, process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

*Tahini is ground sesame seed paste. It’s easy to find in the grocery store, or just substitute almond butter instead.

Spicy Tuesday – Crab Stuffed Tomatoes – Basil

Ripe, red tomatoes stuffed full with briny crab, lemon and basil? Yup, we love easy and delicious appetizers like this. This quick recipe fills up lots of small tomatoes – or for a yummy dinner on a hot night, stuff large tomatoes with this salad and place on a bed of crunchy baby lettuces and you have dinner.

The flavors of the crab marry well with the tomatoes, lemon and basil. If you can make this crab stuffing earlier in the day, the flavors develop and meld beautifully as it sits in the refrigerator. Make sure that only the salad goes in the fridge – tomatoes should never be stored in there! Cold makes tomatoes lose their flavor and can make them mealy. Plus, if you’ve bought your tomatoes from the grocery store, the refrigerator’s cold temperatures will stop the ripening process.

Basil adds not only flavor and beautiful bright green color to this salad but also a pop of nutrition. One of the primary medicinal uses for basil is for its anti-inflammatory properties. This effect stems from eugenol, a volatile oil in basil that blocks enzymes in the body that cause swelling, making basil an ideal treatment for people with arthritis. Both fresh basil and basil oil have strong antibacterial capabilities. In fact, basil has been shown to stop the growth of many bacteria, even some that had grown resistant to other antibiotics. Enjoy this summer dish while fueling your body with healthy foods and herbs!

Easy Crab Stuffed Tomatoes

1 LB Fresh Lump Crabmeat

3 Green Onions, thinly sliced – green parts only

2 TB Chopped Basil

1 TB Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

2 TB Olive Oil Mayo

1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Celery

½ Tsp Fine Sea Salt

Basil, Julienned for Garnish

Sweet Pepper Rings for Garnish

14 – 18 Campari or Cherry Tomatoes

Stir together all the ingredients except the julienned basil and peppers. Stuff the mixture into the tomatoes and garnish with additional basil and pepper rings.

This post originally appeared on June 6th, 2014. The recipe is SO good, we had to share it again!

Spicy Tuesday – Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette topped Grilled Veggies – Basil

There’s nothing better from the grill than seasonal veggies. Here’s a way to serve up those delicious veggies that is not only appetizing – but beautiful. Basil is a great accompaniement to summer produce. It adds a mild spicy zing and a wonderful aroma.

Gorgeous green color, wonderful bright flavor and lots of nutrition, too! Basil is full of flavonoids that protect our body at a cellular level. It also has a ton of Vitamin K (98% of your daily amount in a ½ cup to be exact!) The anti-inflammatory component actually comes from basils volatile oils. The oils block the activity of an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX) that is directly related to unhealthy inflammation that leads to many diseases.

Basil-Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 Garlic Clove, Grated

2 TB Dry Red Wine

2 TB Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tsp Dijon Mustard

½ Cup Basil Leaves, (Packed)

¼ – ½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Place the first 5 ingredients in a food processor or blender and process well. Drizzle in the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Spicy Tuesday – Ancient Grains Stuffed Tomatoes – Basil


Even in the coldest days of winter, the bright acidity and sweet flavor of tomatoes can seduce us. Ahh, we can’t wait for the month of August when the siren sound of drippy juicy tomatoes fulfills us! While we wait for better “tomato days”, here’s a way to make those hard, unripe, out-of-season tomatoes taste better. Of course, we would never throw away the seeds and middles of the tomatoes. All of it pops right into the veggie stock bag to enrich our next pot of stock.

Basil is one of the hallmark herbs of the Mediterranean. Lucky for us, it’s grown hydroponically and in greenhouses all over the country, which allow us to enjoy its herbal, sweet, spicy woody flavor year round. Basil contains a wide range of essential oils rich in phenolic compounds and a wide array of polyphenols such as flavonoids and anthocyanins. Basil is also rich in vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium.

Ancient Grains Stuffed Tomatoes – Mediterranean Style

2 Cups Prepared Brown Rice

2 Cups Prepared ANCIENT GRAINS like Farro, Sorghum, Freekeh or Kamut***

½ Cup Pitted and Chopped Oil Cured Black Olives

½ Cup Chopped Sundried Tomatoes OR Chopped Roasted Red Peppers

½ Chopped Fennel or Celery

¼ Cup Capers

¼ Cup Basil, Chiffonade

1 Recipe Mediterranean Vinaigrette

6 Cups Shredded Kale, Napa Cabbage, Chard or Bok Choy

12 Roma Tomatoes, halved and hollowed out with a melon baller

1 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese

Step One Toss the rice, ancient grains, olives, tomatoes or peppers, fennel or celery and capers together in a large bowl. Drizzle with the Mediterranean Vinaigrette, reserving 2 TBs.

Step Two Place the shredded lettuces on a large tray and drizzle with the reserved dressing. Fill each tomato half with about 2 TBs of the ancient grains mixture. Place on top of the lettuces and sprinkle with the crumbled feta.

***We cook ANCIENT GRAINS in the healthy kitchen all the time. They are easy to make! Instead of the 1-2-3 method we use for cooking rice, (2 Cups of Boiling Water, ½ Tsp of Salt to 1 Cup of Rice equals 3 Cups of Cooked Rice), we use 3 Cups of Boiling Water, ½ Tsp of Salt and 1 Cup of Ancient Grains. After stirring the salt and grains into the water, we let it come back up to a boil, turn it down to barely simmering, cover and let it simmer away for about 45 minutes, or until most of the water is absorbed. When ancient grains are done properly they have a delicious “tooth” or al dente texture.

Mediterranean Vinaigrette

¼  Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 TB Sherry Vinegar

1 Tsp Dijon

1 Tsp Lemon Juice

1 Tsp Orange Juice

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Pepper to taste

Shake the ingredients together in a small jar.

Spicy Tuesday – Kale Lasagne – Parsley, Basil, Oregano

Its that time of the year, you know when… The hordes will descend upon your house, or you will be responsible for taking a dish to feed a big group. How about changing it up this year? With a dish that is sure to please everyone, veghead and meat lover alike!

Granted, this lasagna isn’t a super quick recipe. But we can guarantee you, its worth the time. Warm and satisfying, full of white beans, mushrooms, quinoa, kale and creamy cheese it is a nutrition powerhouse as well as a delicious dish.

We use a trinity of Italian herbs in the tomato sauce for this recipe. Fresh basil and parsley along with dried oregano are added to create not only flavor but nutrition, too! These three herbs are rock stars alone but put them together with kale and you have a powerhouse pasta to serve your family and guests during the winter months. Basil is full of Basil is rich in  vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium. Parsley is not just a garnish on your plate but actually has volatile oils that help decrease tumor formation in lungs (in animal studies). And finally dried oregano gets its name from the Greek words oros (mountain) and ganos (joy). So this mountain of joy can help in various ways with GI disorders, menstrual cramps, and urinary tract disorders.

Kale Lasagne

2 TB Olive Oil

1 Large Red Onion, chopped

3 Garlic Cloves, grated or minced

2 TB Tomato Paste

3 TB Chopped Parsley

Perfectly Easy Tomato Sauce*

2 Cans (15 ½ oz) White Beans

16 Oz Wild Mushrooms, Chopped and sautéed in 2 TB olive oil, 2 TB Worcestershire Sauce

1 Large Egg

1 1/2 Cups Prepared Quinoa

2 Large Bunches of Kale, Shredded

8 Oz Skim Mozzarella, Shredded

5 TB Grated Parmesan Cheese

Step One In a large sauté pan over medium high heat, cook the onion in 2 TB oil, until soft. Add the garlic and cook and stir until fragrant. Stir in the tomato paste, parsley, half cup of the tomato sauce, mix to incorporate & remove from the heat.

Step Two Combine the white beans and cooked mushrooms in a large mixing bowl. Add the egg, the cooked quinoa, and the sautéed onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

Step Three Spoon about one third of the remaining tomato sauce in a 9 x 12” casserole dish. Top with ½ of the shredded kale, then the ½ of bean mixture and then sprinkle on 1/3 of the mozzarella. Repeat, and end with the tomato sauce. Sprinkle the top with the Parmesan. Bake for about 45 minutes until hot & bubbly.

*Perfectly Easy Tomato Sauce!

2 TB Olive Oil

1 Medium Red Onion, Sliced

1 Cup Dry White Wine

2 Cans Fire Roasted Tomatoes

1 Tsp Dried Oregano

Sea Salt and Black Pepper

2 TB EACH Chopped Parsley & Oregano

Step One Preheat the oven to 350F. Heat the oil in a sauté pan and cook the onion over medium heat until soft. Add the wine and simmer for 5 minutes.

Step Two Add the tomatoes, oregano and a healthy sprinkle of salt and pepper, cook over medium heat for 20 – 30 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Stir in the herbs.

These three herbs are rock stars alone but put them together with kale and you have a powerhouse pasta to serve your family and guests during the winter months. Basil is full of Basil is rich in  vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, iron, potassium, and calcium. Parsley is not just a garnish on your plate but actually has volatile oils that help decrease tumor formation in lungs (in animal studies). And finally dried oregano gets its name from the Greek words oros (mountain) and ganos (joy). So this mountain of joy can help in various ways with GI disorders, menstrual cramps, and urinary tract disorders.