Practical food tips for parents from a RD and mom of three

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Kid Superfood: Basil

I was surprised to see basil on the list of superfoods. After some research, I found that basil contains Vitamin A and magnesium – both great for protecting against heart disease – plus iron, calcium, Vitamin C, and potassium. Basil has also been shown to have antibacterial properties and has been used as an anti-inflammatory agent (possibly alleviating headaches and other inflammatory conditions like arthritis and IBD).

Wow, tons of health benefits AND basil is delicious in summery dishes like tomato/mozzerella/basil salad and pesto. It grows like a weed during this time of the year, so grab some and add it to a salad or meal!

My sister was kind enough to give me a big bag of fresh basil this week. As soon as I saw it I started craving tortellini with pesto – one of my favorites either hot or as a cold salad. I didn't have quite enough to make a batch of pesto, but I happened to have some pre-made pesto in the pantry. I boiled a package of cheese tortellini, adding frozen peas/carrots and broccoli in the final 5 minutes of cooking. Once this was done and drained I mixed in some pesto and lots of the fresh chopped basil.

This was a delicious dinner! The kids were amused by the green pasta. The basil flavor from the combination of pesto plus chopped fresh basil was so good. I would have added fresh veggies, but we finished our farm share batch right before I made this.

If you're looking for a good pesto recipe try this one. I'm always looking for ideas, so please share your basil tips!

Today's tip: Add chopped basil to a sauce or salad for delicious health benefits.

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