What Does Basil Taste Like?

In this article, we're going to tell you everything you need to know about basil. You'll learn about the taste and texture as well as cooking tips you can use at home...

Let's dive in...

What Does Basil Taste Like? 

There's nothing quite like basil. It's a robust herb, not bitter but definitely pungent. Fresh basil is strong and unique, a bit peppery with a hint of anise. It adds a real hint of freshness to anything you put it in. This includes both salads and sauces.

Dried basil is very different. It's much mellower and tastes more like oregano. It's good for sauces and soups while the fresh stuff is best for salads and presentation.

Basil Texture 

Fresh basil leaves feel silky and almost rubbery on your fingertips. They're soft and tear as easily as paper. Actually, torn basil can give your meal a rush of flavor as well as a rustic vibe.

Dried basil looks like dried oregano and has a crunchy texture until added to a dish. Once it picks up some moisture, it'll leave no trace of texture—just flavor.

Is Sweet Basil the Same as Regular Basil? 

A bag of basil that has no particular indications of its variety is probably your common sweet basil. The terms "basil" and "sweet basil" are both used to mean the same thing.

There are, however, lots of different kinds of this herb, each with a different set of characteristics. Thai basil has a strong licorice flavor while lemon basil is citrusy. 

But since all basils are fragrant and taste fairly similar, you don't have to worry if you have one type and not another. Use any kind in any recipe you like.

Is It OK to Eat Basil with Brown Spots? 

Brown spots are an indication that your basil is getting old. If you just see a few, you can snip them out and use the fresh green parts.

If brown and black colors are starting to creep all over the leaves, it may be time to throw them out. And if there's a wet, slimy look to them, definitely toss them. 

Where Is Basil Most Commonly Used? 

Tomato sauces for pasta and caprese salads are famous places you'll find basil. Speaking of caprese salad, we're going to show you how to make a vegan one shortly.

Basil is also used in curries, soups, stir-fries and pesto sauces. More recently, it has become popular as an ice cream flavor. 

If you like making your own vegan ice cream, throw a handful of basil in for a shockingly good summertime treat.

What Can Basil Be Used For? 

Now we can get to the good stuff. There are fabulous vegan recipes in these videos that are easy to follow with guided steps. Anyone and everyone can make vegan pesto.

This pesto gets its cheesy flavor from nutritional yeast, and of course, its famous flavor from fresh basil. Use sweet basil or any type you have in your kitchen.

You'll need:

  • Basil leaves
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Lemon
  • Pine nuts
  • Hemp seeds
  • Garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Tomato basil soup is a classic lunch with a vegan grilled cheese. If you don't have fresh basil, go ahead and substitute dried basil. It'll be just as delicious.

Here are the ingredients:

  • Cashews
  • Tomatoes
  • Salt
  • Garlic
  • Bay leaves
  • Olive oil
  • Tomato paste
  • Celery
  • Vegetable broth
  • Onions
  • Fresh basil
  • Vegan milk

No special ingredients needed here. Instead of vegan cheese, we're using creamy avocado. 

Here are the ingredients:

  • Avocado
  • Tomatoes
  • Basil leaves
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Wrap Up 

Basil is a robust herb that tastes quite different in fresh and dried form with the dried herb being much milder. It's one of those herbs you'll want to use all year long in salads, stuffed mushrooms, tomato sauces and even vegan ice cream. Try Thai basil for an earthy licorice flavor in your vegan pesto or lemon basil for a citrusy twist.

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