Last Call for Summer Basil

This past weekend, I scored an absolutely massive amount of basil from my local farmers market – for $1. Of course I didn’t need that much, but who can say no to that price for fresh produce?

There was just one small problem. What does one do with that much basil?

Instead of relying on the obvious solution (caprese sandwiches and salads), I did some digging on my favorite food blogs and came up with the perfect solution: basil-infused olive oil drizzled over caprese quinoa.

Basil-Infused Olive Oil (via Shutterbean)
Makes 2 cups

  • 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves

Chop basil finely, in a food processor or by hand. Place basil and oil into a small sauce pan and heat over medium-high heat for five minutes. Remove from heat and let basil and oil steep for at least 30 minutes. Strain mixture into a jar or air tight container for up to one month.

 Caprese Quinoa (via How Sweet It Is)
Makes about 3 cups

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 16 oz. container of grape tomatoes, quartered (or chop up the tomatoes you have on hand – I used Roma tomatoes)
  • 3/4 cup fresh mozzarella pearls (or cut a roll/ball of fresh mozzarella into chunks)
  • 10 large basil leaves, cut into ribbons
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Prepare quinoa according to directions on box. Depending on whether you want your quinoa hot or cold, either let it cool completely or immediately add in the tomatoes, cheese, basil, salt, and pepper. (Feel free to adjust the amount of ingredients to suit your taste.) Drizzle about 2-3 tablespoons of basil oil over the top and serve.

The end result? It was a piece of cake. I sat and watched an episode of House Hunters while the oil was steeping, and the quinoa took a whopping 15 minutes. It’s a deliciously simple dinner recipe suited for busy weeknights, complete with minimal cleanup. And don’t forget, if you still have extra basil after cooking, you can store the leftovers by popping it into the freezer.

By Melissa Mann, Staff Writer

What’s your favorite basil recipe? Share it in the comments below, or tweet us at @ruelala.

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