Basil is a popular herb used in many dishes, but what does it taste like? People seem to have different opinions on the matter. Some say that basil tastes like anise or licorice, while others claim that it has a peppery flavor. What’s the truth? Let’s explore the taste of basil and find out!
What Is Basil?
As anyone who has ever been to an Italian restaurant can attest, basil is an essential ingredient in many classic dishes. This fragrant herb belongs to the mint family and is most often used in tomato-based pasta sauces and pesto. While it is most commonly associated with Italian cuisine, basil also plays a role in Thai, Indonesian, and Vietnamese dishes. Basil leaves are large and delicate, with a smooth texture and prominent veins. They have a sweet smell and peppery taste that make them a popular seasoning for a variety of foods. In addition to being a culinary staple, basil is also a common addition to kitchen gardens due to its ease of growth. Whether you’re looking to add flavor to your cooking or spruce up your garden, basil is a versatile option that is sure to please.
What Does Basil Taste Like?
Known for its distinctive flavor, basil is a popular ingredient in many culinary dishes. The taste of basil is often described as a balance between sweet and savory, with hints of mint, anise, and pepper.
What Are Basil Benefits?
Basil is a powerhouse of a herb, containing high levels of beneficial essential oils. These oils have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties, which help to protect the body against harmful microbes and bacteria. Basil also helps to prevent the growth and spread of bacteria that cause ailments such as diarrhea, food poisoning, and cholera. In addition to its powerful antibacterial properties, basil is also rich in beta-caryophyllene and vitamins K, C, and A.
This natural combination of nutrients makes basil a potent source of antioxidants—which can help prevent inflammation, boost the metabolism, lower blood pressure, reduce free radicals, and lower blood sugar levels. Simply put, adding basil to your diet can have a multitude of health benefits. So why not try it in your next salad or pasta dish? Your body will thank you for it!
What Are The Different Types Of Basil?
Many people are familiar with the sweet basil typically used in Italian cuisine, but there are actually many different types of basil, each with its own distinct flavor profile. Check our list of the most popular basil types to see if you don’t know any of the varieties.
- Sweet Basil, also known as Genovese Basil or Common Basil, is the most widely available form of basil. It has a fresh, subtly sweet flavor and aroma that make it a popular choice for Italian and Mediterranean cuisines. Sweet basil is typically used to add flavor to salads, pasta dishes, pizzas, and soups
- Thai Basil is a variety of basil commonly used in Southeast Asian and Chinese cuisine. It is known for its smaller, darker leaves and spicy, anise-heavy flavor. Thai Basil is used frequently as a garnish in Thai and Vietnamese cooking. It is also used in other Southeast Asian cuisines, such as Laotian and Cambodian.
- Cinnamon basil is a mild variety of basil with a spicy, cinnamon-tinged flavor. Most frequently used in Asian cooking, including marinades, fried rice, and noodles. Cinnamon basil has a strong aroma and can be used as a garnish or decoration
- Purple basil is a beautiful addition to any herb garden, with its dark burgundy leaves providing a striking contrast to other green plants. Its flavor is more intense than other varieties of basil, with a strong clove taste. Highly aromatic, purple basil can be used to add color and flavor to vinegar, oil, and other dishes. In Italian and Thai cuisine, it is often used as a garnish to add a hint of color and aroma. Thanks to its unique flavor and color, purple basil can be a great way to add interest to your cooking.
- Lettuce basil is a type of basil with leaves that are larger and more wrinkled than other varieties. The flavor of lettuce basil is milder than other types of basil, making it a good choice for salads. The leaves can also be used as a base for other dishes, such as pesto or pasta sauce
- Holy basil is a type of basil that is revered in the Hindu religion as a symbol of the goddess Tulsi. Holy basil extract is traditionally made into a tea that is placed around Hindu shrines. Culinarily, this variety of holy basil has a bitter flavor and is most frequently used in Indian cuisine, particularly in teas and rich dishes. In the Hindu religion, holy basil is considered to be an auspicious plant that is often planted near shrines. The leaves of holy basil are used in religious ceremonies and are also believed to have medicinal properties.
- More and more, lemon basil is showing up in nurseries and garden centers across the country. This variety of basil grows 12 to 18 inches tall and has lighter green leaves. When you crush a leaf between your fingers and take a deep breath, you’ll be rewarded with the wonderful lemony scent of this herb. Lemon basil is perfect for fish or poultry marinades, grilled vegetables, desserts, and teas. If you’re looking for a way to add a little extra zing to your cooking, lemon basil is a great option.
- Christmas basil is a hybrid of Thai and Genovese basil. It is prized for its fruity, aromatic flavor, which has been described as being similar to wine with a hint of pine. This versatile herb can be used in a variety of dishes, including pesto, sauces, salads, and herbal teas. It is also a popular ingredient in cocktails and other drinks.
How To Use Basil In Cooking?
There are many ways to use basil in cooking. The leaves can be rinsed under water and patted dry. They can be removed from the stem and used whole, torn, cut into chiffonade (thin strips), finely chopped or pureed. Basil can be added into dishes like pastas, sauces, salads, and vegetables and Southeast Asian stir fries of all kinds. Its sweet flavoring also may appear in sweets like ice creams, fruit soups and gazpachos, and beverages. Whole leaves are perfect as a pizza topping or layered into a caprese salad.
Chopped or sliced, basil is often added into dishes like pastas, sauces, salads, and vegetables and Southeast Asian stir fries of all kinds. Its sweetness also makes it a perfect addition to desserts like ice cream or fruit soup. Basil can also be used to make refreshing summer drinks like iced tea or lemonade. Whether you’re using it to flavor savory dishes or sweet treats, basil is a versatile herb that can add a fresh, delicious taste to any meal.
How To Store Basil?
For anyone who frequently cooks with basil, knowing how to store the herb can be a tricky task. If you’re not careful, basil can quickly lose its flavor and become mushy. The good news is that there are a few simple storage methods that can help keep your basil fresh for extended periods of time. Fresh basil will last for at least a week if you wrap it in a slightly damp paper towel and then place the bundle in a sealable plastic bag or container. Place it in the crisper drawer for even better storage conditions (it’s less cold than the back of the fridge). Dried basil, like all dried herbs, should be stored in a sealed container in a cool dry place. By following these simple steps, you can enjoy fresh-tasting basil in your recipes for weeks to come.
If you need more options for storing Basil, you can check out our article Easy Ways How To Store Basil
What Food Goes Well With Basil?
There are few herbs as versatile as basil. Its sweet, peppery flavor pairs well with a wide variety of dishes, from pizza and pasta to salads and grilled meats. For a simple but delicious meal, pair basil with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. The sweetness of the tomatoes complements the herbaceous flavor of the basil, while the rich creaminess of the mozzarella balances out the acidity. Another great way to enjoy basil is in a Caprese salad, which traditionally includes tomatoes, mozzarella, and olive oil. The key to making a great Caprese salad is to use fresh ingredients; the sweetness of ripe tomatoes and the creamy smoothness of fresh mozzarella are essential. Add a drizzle of high-quality olive oil and some freshly ground black pepper, and you have a dish that is simple but truly delicious. Of course, there are endless other ways to enjoy basil. Check out our ideas for combining with basil.
Broccoli is a delicious and nutritious vegetable that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. One simple way to prepare broccoli is to sauté it with some basil. The sweetness of the basil pairs well with the strong flavor of the broccoli, and the two ingredients come together quickly for a tasty side dish.
When it comes to quick and healthy side dishes, spinach is hard to beat. This leafy green is packed with nutrients, and it cook up in just a few minutes. For a simple but flavorful dish, start by wilting the spinach in a pan. Then, add some torn basil leaves and a handful of pine nuts for a bit of crunch. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and you’re done!
The sweetness of strawberries pairs perfectly with the rich creaminess of avocado, and the addition of basil gives this summer salad a unique flavor. The bright green of the basil leaves contrasts beautifully with the deep red of the strawberries, and the combination of flavors is sure to please any palate. Serve this salad as a side dish or main course, and enjoy the taste of summer all year long.
Basil is a versatile and flavorful herb that can be used in a variety of dishes. One of the great things about basil is that it pairs well with a wide range of foods, from fruits to vegetables to meats. Watermelon is one of my personal favorite foods to pair with basil. I make a mean watermelon basil salsa that is perfect for serving with cinnamon pita chips. Or you could make fruit kebabs, layering watermelon, pineapple, mango, and basil. Then drizzle some balsamic vinegar over the top for an extra burst of flavor. No matter what you pair it with, Basil is sure to take your dish to the next level!
Blueberries and basil are a match made in heaven. The sweetness of the blueberries is perfectly offset by the earthy, slightly spicy flavor of the basil. Try it in desserts, such as a blueberry crumble. And really, basil goes well with most other berries too. Strawberries, raspberries, and even cranberries. So next time you’re looking for a new flavor combination, reach for some basil and your favorite berries. You won’t be disappointed.
Mint is a classic pairing for basil. The two herbs belong to the same family, which is why they work so well together. This combination works well with grilled or sautéed veggies.
What food goes well with basil? Interestingly, cilantro goes quite well with basil. You can make a yummy mint-cilantro chutney. The combination of the two herbs is quite refreshing and goes well with lamb or beef kebabs. If you’re looking for something a bit different, give it a try!
A lot of people think that basil is only good for Italian dishes, but they’re wrong. Basil goes great with all sorts of foods, including some that might seem unlikely at first glance. For example, have you ever tried a peanut butter and basil sandwich? It might sound strange, but the combination of sweet and savory is actually really delicious. Basil also brings a unique flavor to peanut butter cookies.
What does Thai basil sauce taste like?
Thai basil sauce is commonly used as a dipping sauce or a marinade. It has a slightly sweet and spicy taste, with a hint of licorice flavor. The sauce is made with Thai basil, fish sauce, garlic, sugar, and chili peppers.
What does Spicy Globe basil taste like?
Spicy Globe basil, also known as Dwarf Bush or Greek basil, has a compact growth habit and forms a bush. It is a good choice for growing in a pot on a sunny kitchen windowsill. The small leaves of this variety have a pungent peppery aroma with citrus and mint notes. They make a beautiful garnish on fish or salads. When used in cooking, Spicy Globe basil imparts a flavor that is both peppery and minty. It is also a good choice for making pesto or other sauces.
What does basil seed drink taste like?
When you first see them, they look like any other seed. But when you add water, they start to transform, swelling up until they form a jelly-like coating around the seed. And when you take a bite, you get a burst of flavor that is both floral and slightly savory. The interior seed provides a final crunchy texture that makes this drink even more enjoyable.
What does Greek basil taste like?
Greek basil is a type of basil that has a similar flavor to regular basil. It is sweet and aromatic with hints of pepper, anise, and mint. You can use it as a substitute for regular basil in recipes. Greek basil plants produce small leaves that can also be used to garnish dishes.
What does basil pesto taste like?
If you’ve never had basil pesto, you’re in for a treat. Traditional pesto is a thick, green sauce that tastes bright and herby from the basil, and salty and rich from the cheeses and pine nuts. It should be garlicky, with pleasant grassiness from good quality olive oil. Pesto is typically used as a pasta sauce, but it can also be used on sandwiches, in soups, or as a dipping sauce.
What does holy basil tea taste like?
Holy basil tea has a flavor that’s unique and incredibly dynamic! It’s a little bit evergreen, has a slight spice to it (especially when brewed strong), and blends flavors of mint, basil, lemon, and rosemary. Some can even taste hints of chamomile, cardamom, and nutmeg in holy basil tea. The flavor is truly unique and enjoyable, making it a great option for those who are looking for something new to try.
What does basil juice taste like?
When it comes to the taste of basil juice, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The flavor of the juice will depend on the type of basil used and the ripeness of the leaves. However, in general, basil juice has a slightly sweet and minty flavor. Some people also detect notes of lemon or lime. The sweetness of the basil is counteracted by the acidity of the citrus, creating a refreshing and well-balanced flavor. Whether you’re looking for a unique cocktail ingredient or a way to add some extra flavor to your lunchtime salad, basil juice is definitely worth a try.