Friday, August 17, 2012

Tomato, Corn and Basil Pasta Salad - Putting Fresh Basil to Good Use

Every summer my wife plants basil in the garden and every summer I ONLY end up using a handful of leaves before the frost hits and kills the poor plant.

It basically ends up being food for the mysterious bugs that make little holes in the leaves during the summer.

Part of the reason I rarely use it is because I "like" basil, I don't "love" it.

Nonetheless I should utilize what I have because it's sitting RIGHT THERE in my garden.

I would have easily gone another week ignoring the little green herb in the corner of my vegetable garden but I when I saw a recipe for Creamy Basil Dressing I was suddenly excited to clip some of it's fragrant leaves!

I found the recipe in a dated Bon Appetit Magazine and it called for a cup of packed basil leaves.

For a guy like me who only "likes" basil, 1 cup was WAY too much. Four or five small basil leaves roughly chopped (about 1 tbsp packed) was more fitting. A lot less than the original recipe but it worked (use more if you're a basil lover).

I have to admit I started eating this dressing with a spoon when I first tasted it. You get the basil flavor but it isn't overpowering. Control was regained after about 5 spoonfuls.

The vanilla yogurt makes it sweet, the garlic makes it savory and the mayo (along with the yogurt) adds the creamy element. Very tasty with the pasta, corn, quartered cherry tomatoes and sliced "cukes"!

All I can say is THANK GOODNESS this recipe worked out because now I can put that neglected basil to good use before it turns from vibrant green to sick green (with black spots) in September.

My next goal...

Figure out what to do with the overgrown oregano that's now attacking my tomato plants.

Any suggestions? 

Tomato, Corn and Basil Pasta Salad

Recipe Inspiration: Bon Appetit magazine for showing me how to finally use the fresh basil in my garden 

Make this recipe with LESS effort!
  • Don't spend much time chopping the basil or garlic. It's all heading to the blender.
  • Use 1 tsp of dried basil instead of fresh basil. It probably won't be as good but it's convenient and you won't have to use a blender.
  • Great recipe for using up leftover cooked corn on the cob.
Time it takes: 15 minutes to prepare 
Makes:  4 small servings 

 cups uncooked bow-tie pasta
1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
1 cup thin slices halved English cucumber
1 cup fresh corn kernels or frozen corn thawed
1 tbsp (packed) fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/3 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
3 tbsp low-fat mayonnaise
 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove, peeled and roughly chopped

In a medium pot, cook pasta according to package directions. Rinse under cold water. Drain well. Transfer cooked pasta to a bowl. Add tomatoes, cucumbers and corn.

In a blender, blend basil, yogurt, mayonnaise, lime juice and garlic until basil is finely chopped.

Add basil dressing to pasta and vegetable mixture. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Toss until pasta and vegetables are evenly coated with dressing. Serve

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