To find fresh basil, look in the grocery store’s produce section; it should be near the lettuce and other fruits and vegetables. Fresh basil is a common herb used in many Mediterranean dishes but has made itself famous in the West.
It’s delicious and has a very earthy taste; it’s very palatable. It’s incredibly versatile and can be added to just about anything.
It’s fantastic when added to potatoes, macaroni, meats, and more, so we’re covering a few ways to use it. You’ll also learn of a few substitutes for basil. Plus, because it has so many health benefits, we’re featuring a few of those as well.
What Are Some Benefits of Basil?
Basil is Great For The Brain
Basil contains copper, manganese, and other properties that are very beneficial to the brain. These help the brain rebuild itself (neuroplasticity) and assist with serotonin production, dopamine, and adrenaline production.
Fresh basil helps the body release specific molecules that quicken the process of metabolizing carbs. Most of this is due to the manganese found in basil, which also helps reduce cholesterol.
Antioxidants are found in abundance in basil. Antioxidants are vital to keep the skin healthy and prevent free radicals from going silly. If the skin doesn’t receive enough nutrients, it begins to age faster than it would otherwise.
What Are Some Substitutes for Basil?
Fresh basil isn’t always available everywhere, so the next best option is to go with spinach leaves. They still provide the same tangible flavor and are a very popular ingredient in many of the same dishes that are candidates for fresh basil.
To get a super fresh alternative, go with oregano. Oregano is an excellent substitute, as it’s very similar in taste. It’s also very healthy for you, as it contains fiber, iron and other vital nutrients.
Celery leaf is another great option because it’s very similar in taste and texture. There isn’t much of a difference in general, except that celery leaves lack basil zing.
How Can You Use Basil?
Basil has a very distinct mint flavor with a hint of licorice. This makes it great for soups, but primarily vegan soups. In general, Basil is a favorite in the vegan community, so we invite you to try some in your soup! Okra, tomato, and corn also mix great with it; experiment!
Most salads are pretty basic, which is fine. However, there is nothing wrong with spicing up your salad, which is why we suggest trying fresh basil with it! It adds the perfect amount of flavor; it’s also very healthy for you by itself.
Basil is a very popular topping on pizzas. There aren't many things that can match the flavor of cheese, pepperoni, and fresh basil. Plus, it adds a few healthy nutrients, which certainly is a good thing.
To any master chef, basil is a valuable tool in their kitchen arsenal. Basil is a herb that’s widely used in many recipes around the world, especially in Italian and other Mediterranean diets. It has a mild taste that still adds plenty of personality to your dish.
Best of all, it’s very widely available, so basil isn’t something you have to spend forever hunting down. That means you can continue or get started on your cooking journey right away!