Bonkers for Basil
By Cheryl Forberg, RD
I love talking about the benefits of fresh produce. We all know it’s loaded with nutritional goodness. But when these ingredients are also super fresh, their intense flavors allow you to easily create memorable dishes with just a few simple ingredients.
A lot of people tell me they wish they had the acreage we do, to grow their own fruits and veggies. I can’t disagree – there’s nothing I love more than walking into the backyard to “pick dinner” every day. But even if you don’t have garden space (or even a yard or balcony) you can probably at least grow a few pots of your favorite herbs indoors, if you‘re dedicated to watering and trimming them now and then.
My outdoor herb garden isn’t extensive. Though I do have oregano, thyme, tarragon and Italian parsley; I find that my regular go-to’s are rosemary (Sunday’s roast chicken) basil and cilantro. I also try to use fresh herbs, especially basil and cilantro – it’s really hard if I run out or have to compromise with their dried versions. But sometimes, I have too many fresh herbs. I know I can always put those in my dehydrator to use in winter. But I like to have a few easy recipes on hand for those days when my garden has an excess of my favorite fresh herbs.
This recipe for Spicy Basil Dressing takes minutes to make. Just toss everything in the blender and push the button. Try not to blend too long though – the heat of the blade can cause the bright green to turn drab brown. This dressing is phenomenal on a Salade Caprese with garden fresh tomatoes and burrata or buffalo mozzarella. It’s also perfect on a juicy piece of grilled salmon or chicken. I like the mild heat of a little added chipotle, but you can omit that if heat’s not your thing.
Spicy Basil Dressing
Makes 1 cup
2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
½ cup grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Melissa’s Roasted Garlic
1 teaspoon smoked salt
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon chipotle puree or hot sauce (optional)
Place all ingredients in blender jar.
Cover tightly and blend for 30 seconds or just until dressing is smooth.
There will be about one cup. To thin dressing, add 1 to 2 tablespoons cold water.
Store in a jar in the refrigerator. Should keep for one week.
Nutritional Analysis – for one two-tablespoon serving:
Calories from fat 120
Total fat 14 grams
Sat fat 1.5 grams
Trans Fat 0 grams
Cholesterol 0 milligrams
Sodium 250 milligrams
Total Carb 1 gram
Fiber 0 grams
Protein 0 grams
Vit A 10% RDA
Vit C 4 % RDA
Calcium 2% RDA
Iron 2% RDA