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Basil is a culinary herb found in many Italian and Asian recipes. Basil varieties include Sweet, Thai, Lemon, and Greek.

Basil is originally native to Iran, India and tropical regions of Asia. With sunlight and warm, dry conditions the herb can grow 30-130 cm in height. In the U.S., Basil has the best chance of survival and growth if planted during the late spring or summer months.  Basil can be grown inside in a sun-lit window or outside. However, basil does not fare well in the cold and care should be taken to reduce exposure to cold drafts or frost.

There are several Basil pathogens that will ruin the growth and use of the herb. Fusarium wilt is fungal disease that is soil-borne and will kill young basil plants. Grey mold can also cause plant infections.

Basil has been shown to have positive health effects in humans. It is used as a supplement to treat stress, asthma and diabetes in India.

Popular Basil Recipe:
Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil Bruschetta

6 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 package of mozzarella cheese, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 baguette French bread or similar Italian bread
1/4 cup olive oil

Start by chopping the tomato and mozzarella into small, bite size pieces. Wash and dry the basil and chop.
 
Slice the baguette on a diagonal about 1/2 inch thick slices. Coat one side of each slice with olive oil and minced garlic (combined) using a pastry brush. Place on a cooking sheet, olive oil side up. You will want to toast them in the top rack in your oven, so you may need to do these in batches depending on the size of your oven. Once the oven has reached 450°F, place a tray of bread slices in the oven on the top rack. Toast for 1 minute, until the bread just begins to turn golden brown.

Remove bread from oven and sprinkle tomatoes on baguettes. Place back in the oven for 2 minutes. 

Remove baguettes from oven and sprinkle with mozzarella. Place back in oven and warm until mozzarella begins to melt.

 Remove from oven and add chopped basil, salt and pepper, and drizzle with a touch of olive oil.  Serve!

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review by . June 02, 2010
posted in Gourmand
2 words:       Caprese Salad. Let's stop talking about it and go out and get some.
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
Its a wonderful herb to season just about any dish
Quick Tip by . July 09, 2010
I love making caprese on a stick -- skewer a mini heirloom tomato, a rolled basil leaf and a cube of mozarella on a toothpick. Drizzle balsamic over it. Pretty and yummy.
Quick Tip by . June 18, 2010
If you're growing it, make sure it gets lots of sun but not direct sunlight fot too long or the leaves burn. I've always found basil tricky to grow but so worth it.
Quick Tip by . May 27, 2010
Love pesto!
Quick Tip by . March 17, 2010
posted in Vegan Living
Tomatoes love basil, especially in salad. Fresh is best, dried still works. How could it be bad, it's Italian?
review by . March 03, 2009
posted in Gourmand
To put it simply, basil just rocks! It is by far my favorite seasoning herb and to tell you the truth, I would probably enjoy eating the leaves straight off the plant! I bought Greek basil last summer at the farmers market and was thrilled by how it grew and grew. Add a bit of sunshine, a splash of water every other day (depending on the weather) and I had a very healthy plant.  I had so much of it that by the end of the summer I was force feeding my friends caprese salad and canning …
Quick Tip by . October 05, 2009
Mmmmm, I dig basil gimlets, tomato mozzarella basil salad, and pesto! I'll put basil in just about anything :)
Quick Tip by . October 05, 2009
I love Basil. The fragrance, the smell the multiplicity and more than anything the way that it makes my breakfast better. I heart Basil!
review by . April 20, 2009
     What a versatile herb!  Italian, French, Thai, salads...  I could go on forever!  In dried format, I like to use basil in spaghetti sauce, beef stew, chicken noodle soup, pretty much any kind of pasta sauce, even in my spinach artichoke dip.  I also love to toss fresh basil in with pasta dishes or any Thai dish.  And, of course, throw some fresh basil in the food processor with garlic, oil and cheese and you've got pesto!  (Don't even get me …
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