Basil is one of those great summer crops you can get all year round, but there's something special about basil in the summer. I love the smell of fresh basil and I love planting basil in between my tomato plants - I can almost see a dish forming right there in the garden. But there's more to basil than just its dynamic smell. Basil helps reduce inflammation and swelling, has anti-bacterial properties, and is full of antioxidants.
Basil essential oil helps block the activity of the enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX). Anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen) inhibit COX, but so does basil. Basil qualifies as an anti-inflammatory food that helps provide relief from inflammatory issues.
The essential oil of basil has anti-bacterial properties that protect against unwanted bacterial growth.
Studies published in the February 2004 issue of Food Microbiology, have shown that washing produce in solution containing either basil or thyme essential oil at the very low concentration of just 1% resulted in dropping the number of Shigella, an infectious bacteria that triggers diarrhea and may cause significant intestinal damage, below the point at which it could be detected.
Think about adding some fresh basil to your next salad to help protect against any produce that may have some additional bacteria that you might have missed during washing.
Basil is also high in antioxidants which fight against free radicals that can attach onto cells and cause cancer, specifically phenolics which include vicenin, orientin, eugenol and anthocyanins. They work together protecting cells from damage.
So toss some fresh basil in your recipes and you'll start reaping its benefits before you even know it!
I love this roasted vegetable bowl because you can create a bunch of different versions. Just swap out some of the vegetables for other ones and top over quinoa instead of rice. This bowl is a great reboot if you've been struggling with eating healthy. Not only is it delicious it also makes you feel amazing!
I love ratatouille. Originally a French peasant’s dish, this is a super easy yet super delicious recipe you can make in under and hour. Normally I would roast the veggies in my oven, but there’s something summery about grilling the veggies and smelling their aromas while you patiently wait in the outdoors. I made this with two different sauces, tomato and pesto, so pick which one you would like best, or if you can’t decide, make them both like I did. (Don't worry if you don't have a grill - you can easily make this recipe by roasting the vegetables in your oven.)
Pho is SO EASY to make! There are three key spices to really get that familiar and comforting flavor of pho and the rest is super simple to put together. Make this recipe and you’ll have a steaming bowl of goodness in no time.
Want a lasagne, but don't have an hour to make it? Make this soup! It tastes just like lasagne, but in the deliciousness of being a soup!
Ready for a great set-it-and-forget-it recipe? Try this awesome slow cooker goulash! Tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, and a little bit more. This simple supper makes a delicious meal!
If you have an overload of eggplant from your summer crop this is a great new way to enjoy it! A little salty, a little spicy, and full of delicious flavor thanks to fresh basil and green olives! This is a great side dish or main entree!
Did you love the Baked Eggplant with Basil Walnut Sauce? Want to even love it more by putting on a SANDWICH? Here you go! Get your tastebuds and napkins ready for this flavor explosion!
I wanted to called this recipe eggplant parmesan, but obviously there is no parmesan cheese in it - its like a traditional eggplant parm, but with a twist. Much healthier and just as delicious!
This soup is loaded with fresh herbs and veggies - its light, yet filling and perfect for a spring dinner!
I love this breakfast! Its super quick and easy to put together and will put any scrambled egg to shame! Plus it has 0mg of cholesterol compared to eggs that have 169mgs per egg which comes out to 53% of your daily value! Give this healthier breakfast scramble a go and I promise you won't be disappointed!
Breakfast might not get any better than this casserole. You can make it ahead of time and keep it in your refrigerator until you’re ready to bake. This is definitely a crowd pleaser!
Its Friday - you're tired from a long week, who wants to think about making dinner? If you think you can't eat healthy fast food I'm here to change your mind! All these recipes can be ready in under 30 minutes and they're super delicious and filling! Today's recipe - Pesto Cavatappi!
I’ve been trying to come up with new whole grain recipes to eat the night before my long runs. I’ve been veering away from pastas because I’ve noticed I run better when I eat unprocessed grains like rice and quinoa. This tomato soup was perfect fuel for my 6 mile Saturday run and was quick and easy enough to make on a tired Friday night!
Get ready! Here's a new risotto recipe! Soon I'll have one for all the seasons! This risotto is ALSO creamy, fresh, and full of flavor. It mixes the best of summer with basil, tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, and mushrooms.
Get chopping! This salad is super quick to throw together and delicious with a little splash of red wine vinegar and lemon juice or any kind of vinegar based dressing you like! Light and refreshing, yet filling and hearty!
This lasagne uses both pesto sauce and marinara and is full of mushrooms, spinach, and shredded zucchini. A delicious twist on classic lasagne and super easy to make!
This salad is just as good hot as it is cold, which makes it PERFECT for leftovers! Its great as a full meal or a side dish and perfect for pot luck dinners! Its simple and easy to make with lots of vitamins and protein!
I had one of those "this-is-so-amazing-why-have-I-never-tried-this-before!" moments when making this dish. I'd always heard of people using zucchini as noodles, but I didn't think it would be that great. Ha! I was WRONG! Its AMAZING! Paired with a delicious marinara beanball - welcome to the new Spaghetti & Meatlessballs!
This lasagne will BLOW YOUR MIND. I'm not joking. I'm not the biggest butternut squash fan, but I am IN LOVE with this lasagne. You'll never know its vegan AND gluten free. This is THE RECIPE to prove to your non-vegan friends that vegan food is just as good (or better) than non-vegan food.
Have a lot of greens on hand and don't know what to do with them? Try this out! I love this dish using quinoa pasta and four different kinds of dark leafy greens. It may seem like a lot of greens, but they cook down quickly. A little spicy with some crushed red pepper and a little sweet with added diced tomatoes.
Looking for a hearty meal on a cold day? This is a super simple and warming stew that's great with added veggie sausages and thick bread for souping up all the leftover tomato sauce. If you don't have beet greens on hand you can substitute spinach, kale, collard greens, or swiss chard.
This might be my favorite soup, EVER. I love that I can always make a little change here and there when I make this soup based on what I have in my refrigerator. Its hearty, warm, and full of amazing flavor. I ladled a bowl full for this picture and took a bite before I was going to put it in the refrigerator, but then I had to take another bite. And another. And I just finished the entire bowl. Its a good thing I have more for later!
Super quick - you can make this recipe in about 15 minutes. A new take on pesto using the abundance of arugula on hand this season!
A great side or main dish - this recipes includes all things summer: green beans, tomatoes, and fresh basil. A great grilled summer dish!
Sometimes the simplest things in life are the absolute best. This soup is made with five ingredients and, if done in your Vitamix, takes about five minutes, otherwise you can easily whip this out in about 10 minutes.
Here is my basic basil pesto recipe. You can toss it with pasta, use it in lasagnes, mix it with Vegenaise for a pesto mayo, or toss it in salads and quinoa. This pesto recipe has been updated to use no oil - its much healthier now and I doubt you could taste the difference!