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The 52 New Foods Challenge – Basil

basil in bowl 1000pxWhile working at the Campbell Farmer’s Market, basil was always a top seller for Tomatero. Tomatoes, strawberries, and basil always brought folks to the booth. In fact, one of my coworkers would often wave some basil through the air to release the scent to help lure them in like Yogi Bear. I love basil. I like making traditional caprese salads, basil pesto, and my awesome sister-in-law Amy, makes a watermelon caprese salad (watermelon subs nicely for tomatoes for those avoiding nightshades). Jennifer Tyler Lee suggests trying a nut free pesto – using sunflower seeds or adding fresh peaches and basil to ice cream! YUMMMY! What’s your favorite use for basil?

Food Facts:

  • Sweet basil is the variety that we typically eat, however Holy basil or tulsi is a variety that is coveted for its medicinal purposes and is native to India.
  • Excellent source of vitamins A, K, and C and maganese.
  • It is rich in antioxidants, especially carotenoids.
  • Basil’s essential oils are antifungal and antimicrobial and have been shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi.
  • It is also an anti-inflammatory and can be used to support conditions where inflammation is a factor.
  • Basil should be stored with stems in a glass of water on the counter. Putting basil in the fridge turns it black.
  • There are more than 60 varieties of basil.
  • It belongs to the mint family.
  • Some of the major medicinal uses include: digestive support, a mild sedative, headache relief, kidney support, poor circulation, and intestinal spasms.

From The 52 New Foods Challenge: A Family Cooking Adventure for Each Week of the Year, with 150 Recipes by Jennifer Tyler Lee, Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno, and Superfoods: The Healthiest Foods on the Planet by Tonia Reinhard.

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Dill Pesto Recipe [Paleo, Vegetarian, GF, 21DSD]

During our travels this summer, we had an amazing dinner in Florence, Italy. The food was so good that we ate lunch AND dinner at Trattoria Il Francescano during the course of one weekend. The salad that I ordered came with pesto sauce on it. This may seem simple, but for me it was revolutionary. I’ve used pesto in soups, on pizza, and on salmon, but never on salad. Since then I’ve been pretty obsessed with making my own basil pesto. Last week at the farmers market, Tomatero had huge bunches of fresh dill. I only needed a little for my salmon dinner that night, so rather than let the herb go to waste, I decided to make Dill Pesto. Result = AMAZING. I have these cool little herb freezer storage containers that allow me to save the extra. Highly recommended!

Dill Pesto

Recipe:

2 small bunches of dill

1/3 cup pine nuts

1 lemon, juiced

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp. Simply Organic garlic sea salt

1 tsp. Simply Organic lemon pepper 

Directions:

  1. Rinse the dill and trim the ends off.
  2. Add all ingredients to food processor and pulse until combined. A blender could be used instead.
  3. Serve on salads, veggies, or on salmon. Enjoy!

Olive Oil is a great source of omega-9 fatty acids, copper, iron, and vitamin E. Olive oil has been shown to help manage and prevent cardiovascular disease, asthma, arthritis, cancer, and blood sugar disregulation. It also helps to lower inflammation.

Dill is a member of the Umbelliferae family which includes, carrots, celery, parsley, and fennel. Dill has been shown to reduce flatulence and digestive ailments. It also has antimicrobial and anticancer effects. It helps the liver in detoxification. Dill is also a known sleep aid. In addition to its phytonutrients, it is rich in vitamins A and C and manganese and potassium.

Pine Nuts are a good source of protein – more than any other nut or seed! They are a good source of vitamins B1, B2, B3, and E and manganese, copper, magnesium, molybdenum, zinc, and potassium.

Sources:

Murray, M., Pizzorno, J., & Pizzorno, L. (2005). The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York, NY: Atria Books.

World’s Healthiest Foods. (November 8, 2015) Retrieved from: http://whfoods.com/index.php

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a Registered Dietician or Medical Doctor. As such, I do NOT provide medical nutrition services, or diagnose and treat disease. Rather, I educate people on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to improve their quality of life. I advise people with existing medical problems to consult with medical doctors. I shared evidence-based health information, whether to class participants, wellness counseling client sessions, or on this website.