By mid-summer, I have more basil than I can handle. Pesto is a great way to use up a massive amount of basil at once, but I'm not a wild pesto fan (I'd always choose sauce). So I toss chopped basil in salads, I pair it with tomatoes and mozzarella, and I use it to make one of the most refreshing (beauty) drinks of the summer: basil lemonade.
I borrowed this recipe from my Vitamix cookbook, but I don't follow it exactly, omitting most (if not all) of the sugar. Just a little stevia is nice to counter the tartness of the lemon juice. You can whip up a batch in your blender in minutes, and you'll be getting a really incredible health boost as you drink. Basil is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant in the body, which makes it a great friend of your skin. It contains the flavonoids vicenin and orientin that protect your cells and chromosomes from UV radiation and oxidation damage. Basil also has antibacterial properties. Of course these benefits diminish with freshness, so sprinkling dried basil on your pizza isn't exactly a health boost.
So while the basil is growing like weeds, sip a few glasses of basil lemonade and savor a new summer staple.
Frosty Basil Lemonade, adapted from Vitamix Whole Food Recipes
3 cups water
1 and 1/2 lemons. peeled, quartered, seeded
sweetener of your choice (a pinch of stevia works well)
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup ice cubes
Blend together in your Vitamix or blender and enjoy.