25 Basil Recipes Featuring the Fresh Summer Herb

Make the Most of the Seasonal Ingredient

Italian caprese sandwich

The Spruce

Basil is one of the most popular herbs in the garden for good reason! A member of the mint family, this versatile herb is an essential ingredient in Mediterranean cuisines and loves being added to just about anything—from soups and salads to grilled meat and seafood dishes to sandwiches and spreads. Fresh basil leaves have an aromatic, slightly peppery flavor that complement a wide variety of dishes, from the savory to the sweet.

  • 01 of 25

    Classic Basil Pesto Sauce

    Classic Basil Pesto Sauce

    The Spruce 

    Fresh basil is an essential staple of Italian cuisine and the main ingredient in pesto. This is the classic recipe every home cook needs to know, made with an abundance of fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, salt, and hard Italian cheese.

  • 02 of 25

    Caprese (Tomato, Mozzarella, Basil) Salad

    Caprese (Tomato, Mozzarella, Basil) Salad

    TheCrimsonMonkey / Getty Images

    Caprese salad is a celebration of high-quality fresh ingredients and it's incredibly easy to toss together. Ripe tomato slices are layered with green basil leaves and fresh mozzarella slices, then topped with olive oil and salt.

  • 03 of 25

    Grilled Lemon-Basil Halibut

    Grilled Lemon-Basil Halibut

    Stacie Peterson / Getty Images

    Halibut is a firm white fish that stands up well to grilling. In this healthy fish dinner, seasoned halibut is flavored for the grill with a citrusy vinaigrette featuring aromatic fresh basil, briny capers, and scallions.

  • 04 of 25

    Chicken Stuffed With Basil and Mozzarella Cheese

    Chicken Stuffed With Basil and Mozzarella Cheese

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    In about an hour, you can make impressive-looking stuffed chicken rolls for serving to family or guests. Chicken breasts are flattened, filled with basil and cheese, then breaded, baked, and smothered in a to-die-for mushroom sauce.

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  • 05 of 25

    Caprese Sandwich With Tomato, Mozzarella, and Fresh Basil

    Caprese Sandwich With Tomato, Mozzarella, and Fresh Basil

    The Spruce 

    Upgrade your brown bag lunch with a hearty sandwich inspired by the classic Italian salad. It's a submarine roll packed with delicious ingredients, including herbaceous basil leaves, juicy tomato slices, creamy mozzarella. It's all tied together with a dressing of tangy balsamic glaze and olive oil.

  • 06 of 25

    Basil-Oregano T-Bone Steaks

    Basil-Oregano T-Bone Steaks

    Lisovskaya Natalia / Alloy / Getty Images

    Beefy T-bone steaks are rubbed with a mixture of fresh basil and oregano before cooking to perfection on your grill. Be sure to follow the tips in the recipe for getting a perfect sear on the steak.

  • 07 of 25

    Thai Lettuce Wraps With Beef and Fresh Basil

    Thai Lettuce Wraps With Beef and Fresh Basil

    The Spruce / D. Schmidt

    Refreshing Thai lettuce wraps are always a hit at cookouts and parties and also perfect for anyone on a low-carb diet. Ground beef is combined with fresh basil, vegetables, cashews, and Asian seasonings, then wrapped up in lettuce leaves for a delicious hand-held appetizer or light main course.

  • 08 of 25

    Sweet Basil Ice Cream

    Sweet Basil Ice Cream

     BRETT STEVENS / Getty Images

    Your foodie friends will rave about this stunning basil ice cream that provides the perfect sweet ending to summer dinner parties. Both fresh and dried basil are added to a vanilla ice cream base to make the herbaceous flavor even stronger.

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  • 09 of 25

    Fresh Tomato and Basil Bruschetta

    Fresh Tomato and Basil Bruschetta

    Judith Haeusler / Cultura / GettyImages

    Bruschetta is one of the most popular party appetizers ever and this is the classic recipe that everyone loves. Chopped tomato, aromatic basil leaves, garlic, and shaved cheese combine into a lovely topping for toasted bread slices.

  • 10 of 25

    Fresh Basil Vinaigrette

    Fresh Basil Vinaigrette

    The spruce / Molly Watson

    A basil vinaigrette is a wonderful way to wake up salads, grilled meats, vegetables, and fish. Learn to make it easily in five minutes. All you need are four ingredients: fresh basil, olive oil, white wine vinegar, and just a bit of garlic.

  • 11 of 25

    Citrus Basil Shrimp Kebabs

    Citrus Basil Shrimp Kebabs

    Katie Workman / themom100.com

    Succulent jumbo shrimp are marinated in a mixture of fresh basil, citrus juice and zest, garlic, and olive oil, then skewered and cooked quickly on the grill, in this recipe that will please kids and adults alike.

  • 12 of 25

    Vegan Dairy-Free Creamy Basil Pasta

    Vegan Dairy-Free Creamy Basil Pasta

    agi Studio / Photodisc / Getty Images

    Vegans can enjoy creamy pesto pasta with a dairy-free, egg-free recipe that's easy enough for weeknight dinners. Plenty of fresh basil adds fragrant flavor, while soy milk, ground raw cashews, and nutritional yeast give it the same luscious texture as its cheesy counterpart.

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  • 13 of 25

    Basil Butter Smothered Lobster Tails

    Basil Butter Smothered Lobster Tails

    Sabrina S. Baksh / Regarding BBQ, Inc.

    Cookout guests will cheer when you serve up buttery lobster tails infused with the fabulous, herbaceous flavor of fresh basil. They're easy to prepare and cook in about five minutes on a hot grill.

  • 14 of 25

    Corn Tomato Basil Salad

    Corn Tomato Basil Salad

    The Spruce / Molly Watson

    This corn tomato basil salad is a wonderful recipe for summer picnics or dinner al fresco in your backyard. Sweet corn kernels are tossed with a chiffonade of basil, and chopped tomatoes, then tossed with a simple shallot vinaigrette.

  • 15 of 25

    Whole Roast Chicken With Garlic and Basil

    Whole Roast Chicken With Garlic and Basil

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Roast chicken is comfort food at its best. This recipe uses a simple combination of fresh basil and garlic to season a whole bird, with a few extra basil leaves tucked underneath the skin for an impressive presentation.

  • 16 of 25

    Lemon Basil Hummus

    Lemon Basil Hummus

    Jonathan Lovekin / The Spruce 

    Dress up plain hummus with basil leaves and a whole lemon's worth of citrus juice in this vibrant variation. Serve it with raw veggie sticks as a healthy after-school snack for kids or with pita triangles for a party appetizer.

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  • 17 of 25

    Basil Chicken With Pesto Cream Sauce

    Basil Chicken With Pesto Cream Sauce

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Budget-conscious boneless chicken breast and mushrooms are cooked in a creamy homemade basil pesto sauce to form a delicious dinner. Serve over hot cooked rice or noodles to soak up the decadent sauce.

  • 18 of 25

    Vegan Kale and Basil Pesto

    Vegan Kale and Basil Pesto

    Westend61 / Getty Images

    Kids love pesto pasta and this healthy, dairy-free sauce made from basil and kale leaves is perfect for vegan families. Olive oil lends richness, while nutritional yeast replaces Parmesan cheese.

  • 19 of 25

    Grilled Lime and Basil Tilapia

    Grilled Lime and Basil Tilapia

    Mike Kemp / Getty Images

    Fresh basil, bourbon, and lime juice and zest add fantastic flavor to grilled tilapia. Serve the cooked fish on top of hot steamed rice as a healthy entree or use it in fish tacos.

  • 20 of 25

    Caprese Pasta

    Caprese Pasta

    The Picture Pantry / Getty Images

    Caprese pasta combines the star ingredients of the classic caprese salad into a tasty pasta dinner. Fresh basil leaves, ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and a little olive oil add up to loads of great Italian flavor.

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  • 21 of 25

    Tomato Basil Soup

    Healthy Tomato Basil Soup

    The Spruce 

    Meet your new favorite weekday soup! This tomato basil soup has a rich taste and satisfyingly thick texture, while being low in calories and fat. Enjoy it as a starter any time or as a side to grilled cheese.

  • 22 of 25

    Thai Chicken Fried Rice With Basil and Lime Leaf

    Thai Chicken Fried Rice With Basil and Lime Leaf

    Cyrielle Beaubois / Getty Images

    Chicken fried rice with a Thai twist is easy for parents to prepare and always a favorite with kids. Fresh basil and lime leaves, plus a trio of store-bought Asian sauces, add loads of flavor.

  • 23 of 25

    Basil-Rosemary Grilled Trout

    Basil-Rosemary Grilled Trout

    Ned Frisk Photography / Photodisc / Getty Images

    Serve up an impressive dinner with this recipe for whole grilled trout stuffed with garden-fresh herbs, minced garlic, and lemon. It makes a wonderful meal alongside hot cooked rice and your favorite green vegetable.

  • 24 of 25

    Roasted Chicken Thighs with Fresh Basil

    Roasted Chicken Thighs with Fresh Basil

    Katie Workman / themom100.com

    Juicy, flavorful, and inexpensive chicken thighs are a home cook's best-kept secret at dinner time. This super-easy recipe flavors the meat with lots of fresh basil, some olive oil, and a little bit of salt, for a dinner that cooks in 30 minutes.

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  • 25 of 25

    Gluten-Free Summer Penne With Tomatoes and Basil

    Gluten-Free Summer Penne with Tomatoes and Basil

    The Spruce / Katie Workman

    Enjoy a traditional summer pasta with a gluten-free twist! Gluten-free noodles are tossed with a simple vibrant sauce of cherry tomatoes, onion, fresh basil, and white wine—it's a wonderfully tasty 30-minute meal.