Author: Lily Mazzarella
It’s basil time!
Basil is a nutrition super-star: one of the constituents in its essential oil, eugenol, is a well-researched anti-inflammatory/anti-oxidant compound that beneficially modulates pro-inflammatory enzyme systems like cyclooxygenase (COX). Eugenol and other basil compounds are also anti-microbial, and the whole plant is nutrient-rich—a great source of vitamins K, A, C, and folate.
If you’re a gardener, you’re probably having a hard time keeping up with your basil plants. If (like me), you’re not, the herb is abundant at the farmer’s market or supermarket—or in your friends’ gardens. (This one is pretty dummy-proof, though. Buy a good plant and take care of it in a sunny-ish location and you’ll have a basil shrub in no time!) Look for fragrant, bright green, slightly shiny leaves with minimal black spotting or yellowing, and minimal flowering. It’s time to make and freeze pesto, and to whiz up this delicious, bright vinaigrette in the blender.
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves (no stems)
½ c olive oil + 1-2 tbsp extra
2 tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1 tsp capers (drained)
¼ tsp mustard powder (or ½ tsp organic prepared mustard)
½-1 small oil-cured anchovy (or ¼ tsp fish sauce)
1 tsp shallot, roughly chopped (optional)
½ clove garlic, chopped (optional)
Himalayan salt & black pepper to taste (capers & anchovies are both salty; proceed with caution on the salt)
all ingredients in blender, food processor, or Vitamix and blend until smooth, uniform, and brilliant
• The anchovy (or fish sauce) is the ultimate umami and adds depth and complexity to this dressing, without tasting fishy. If you’re vegetarian, you may want to add coconut aminos, or a little extra salt.
• Leave off garlic and shallot if you have reflux or IBS.
• Add more basil and oil/acid at will to your taste, and desired consistency.
• Extra lemon juice will preserve color longer.