Inside My Herb Garden: Basil

This is my first year cultivating an herb garden! Mind you, it is a super small scale herb garden, but I am so excited to have fresh herbs to add to my dishes.

I have various kinds of herbs in my garden, but today I want to highlight basil. I have THREE types of basil in my garden right now: sweet basil, Thai basil and purple basil.

 

Sweet Basil

Arguably the most popular form of basil, sweet basil is well known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties–making this herb perfect for anti-aging and decreasing chances of chronic diseases. This flavorful herb is used in many different cuisines but primarily known for Italian cooking such as pesto, bruschetta, caprese and various pasta dishes.

Sweet basil is rich in vitamin A (eye + skin health), vitamin K (healthy gut microbe), vitamin C (antioxidant + wound healing + immunity), magnesium (aids in metabolism), iron (transports oxygen), potassium (aids blood pressure), and calcium (cardiac function + blood clotting + strong bones). Adding a few fresh leaves of basil to your dishes will not only add freshness but will also boost the nutritional content of your meal.

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Thai Basil

Have you ever gone to a Thai restaurant and ordered a “Basilia” dish? You might be eating Thai Basil! Just like the name states, Thai Basil is an herb used in most Southeast Asia cuisines–especially Thai. Infused in many curries, sauteed with meats and veggies, or simply used for a garnish, Thai Basil is mildly sweet with a little more of a bitter, licorice-like bold flavor than sweet basil. In most recipes, Thai Basil can be substituted for sweet basil, making them interchangeable.

The nutrition profile of Thai Basil is similar to that of sweet basil being rich in vitamin A (eye + skin health) and vitamin C (antioxidant + wound healing + immunity) as well as vitamin E (antioxidant + skin health).

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Purple Basil

In all honesty, I had never heard of purple basil until I planted it in my garden! The deep, rich purple color is a nice accent to my other herbs, and it smells divine–quite similar to other basil family members. While there are similarities of this herb to other basil plants, this herb is more earthy, less sweet, and comparable to the flavor of cloves. Purple basil is primarily used for infusing oils and vinegar as well as garnishing dishes.

This herb is nutritionally comparable to other basil, meaning it is high in anti-aging and anti-cancer properties. In general, purple plants are high in anthocyanins, which are antioxidants that may offer anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer benefits.

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Incorporating basil into diet ideas:

  • make your own homemade basil pesto (traditionally made with olive oil +pine nuts + basil)
  • toss with other mixed greens + veggies for a salad
  • homemade salad dressing using fresh or dried basil
  • saute with veggies
  • add to pasta dishes
  • top fresh pizza
  • caprese salad with mozzarella balls + fresh basil + grape tomatoes all tossed in olive oil
  • combine with watermelon + feta for a refreshing summer salad
  • make a panini with fresh basil + mozzarella + tomato
  • freshen your water with basil + lemon
  • infuse olive oil with purple basil for a strong, aromatic flavor

 

As summer approaches and my garden starts producing large quantities of herbs, I will share some of my favorite recipes and harvesting hacks–this is all new to me, so I will be learning along the way! If you have any harvesting tips or tricks for me, comment below or contact me here. 

 

 

What is your favorite way to use basil?

 

 

 

Until Next Time,

 Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian

Follow me on social media!

@livebetterwithkatdetter

 

 

References:
  1. Karen Gill, M. (2019). Basil: Uses, benefits and nutrition. [online] Medical News Today. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266425.php [Accessed 1 May 2019].
  2. Anon, (2019). [online] Available at: https://www.nutriliving.com/foods/thai-basil [Accessed 1 May 2019].
  3.  I Love Gardening. (2019). All About Purple Basil. [online] Available at: https://www.igardenplanting.com/all-about-purple-basil/ [Accessed 1 May 2019].

 

Garlicky Spinach Dip

Who loves spinach dip?? 🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️

What if I told you I’ve got a healthy spinach dip recipe?? Using tons of fresh spinach and garlic and instead of mayo or sour cream (like traditional spinach dip), I use nonfat Greek yogurt.

Greek yogurt is packed with protein which makes this appetizer more nutrient dense than traditional spinach dip.

For even more creaminess, I use Neufchâtel cheese. Essentially, it’s low fat cream cheese…I choose to use low fat animal products because they are lower in saturated fat. While our body needs fat, saturated fat (found in animal products) may increase total body cholesterol.

See full printable recipe details below, and be sure to tag @livebetterwithkatdetter in your creations!

Healthy Spinach Dip

  • Servings: 8 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1-8 ounce block of Neufchâtel cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Additional add ins: fresh broccoli and artichokes work well in the recipe too!

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, add spinach, garlic, Greek yogurt, Neufchâtel cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan, onion powder, garlic salt, and Italian seasoning.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Add to baking dish and top with more cheese.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for one hour or until bubbly. Let dip “rest” to thicken up.
  6. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips and fresh veggies!
  7. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite type of dip?

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!

Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Connect with me on social media!

FB & Pinterest: Live Better with Kat Detter

IG: @livebetterwithkatdetter

Avocado Caprese Bruschetta

With spring just in a few days, I wanted to share a fresh new spin on traditional bruschetta that would serve great as an appetizer, snack, or addition to any meal.

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Containing avocado (heart healthy fat), tomatoes (vitamin C, potassium, lycopene-antioxidant, and fiber), fresh parsley (vitamin K-aids in blood clotting, vitamin A-good for eye site, folate-prevent neural tube defects in pregnancy, and iron-carries oxygen from lungs to rest of  body), and lemon juice (keeps avocado bright green, vitamin C source), this bruschetta is a great nutritious option to bring to the table.

Avocado Caprese Bruschetta

  • Servings: 4 servings, 3 pieces each
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 fresh avocado, cored and diced
  • 3 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 baguette
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil (to drizzle)

Directions: 

  1. Wash, peel, core and dice avocado.
  2. Wash and dice roma tomatoes.
  3. Chop fresh parsley.
  4. Add avocado, tomatoes, and parsley in a mixing bowl.
  5. Add lemon juice, zest, salt, dried basil, and Italian seasoning. Mix well.
  6. Place in refrigerator for ~30 minutes to let flavors marinade.
  7. Slice baguette into 1 inch bites. Drizzle with olive oil.
  8. Toast baguettes until golden brown.
  9. Put about 2 tablespoons of avocado caprese mixture on top of bread slices.
  10. Top with fresh parsley.
  11. Enjoy!

 

Happy-almost spring!

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Follow me on social media!

Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube: Live Better with Kat Detter

Instagram: @livebetterwithkatdetter

St. Patty’s Pancakes

What better way to begin St. Patrick’s Day celebrations than to make green pancakes!

I used my almond & oat flour pancake recipe and adjusted the wet ingredients so I could add…wait for it…

SPINACH! Yes, I went there. If there is any way I can add veggies to my meals, I go for it. Best part? You can’t even taste it, but you’re still benefiting from the vitamins, minerals, and fiber spinach has to offer.

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St. Patty's Pancakes

  • Servings: 2 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1 cup spinach, fresh
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat skillet to ~300 degrees.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, add almond & oat flour, baking powder, salt and  cinnamon.
  3. In a blender, add almond milk and spinach and blend until all spinach is in liquid form.
  4. Pour almond milk & spinach into dry ingredients. Then add vanilla and unsweetened apple sauce.
  5. Mix well,  but leave a few lumps.
  6. Fold in dark chocolate chips.
  7. Spray skillet. Add 1/4 cup of batter onto skillet and cook ~3-5 minutes on each side. *Cook slowly to prevent burning on the outside and uncooked in the middle.
  8. Serve with your favorite toppings! My favs: berries, peanut butter, banana, and a splash of black berry syrup!

 

What’s your favorite type of pancake?

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!

Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Follow me on social media!

Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube: Live Better with Kat Detter

Instagram: @livebetterwithkatdetter

Apple Nachos

One of my favorite ways to eat apples, these nachos do not disappoint! 

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These apple nachos will fill you up and provide fiber, protein, complex carbs and healthy fat so you have a completely balanced sweet treat, dessert, or midday snack.

Did I mention how simple it is? Takes less than 5 minutes to have a nice treat for you and your family. Best part? These are items you probably already have in stock!

 

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Apple Nachos

  • Servings: 1 serving
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 fresh apple, washed (I usually use Pink Lady, Fuji, or Gala)
  • 1-2 tablespoons natural peanut butter, unsweetened
  • 3 tablespoons mini dark chocolate chips (I like Lily’s chocolate if I have it in stock)

Directions:

  1. Wash and slice apple into strips.
  2. Place apples on a plate. Drizzle natural peanut butter on top. (Tip: If peanut butter is thick or too stiff, microwave for ~10-15 seconds)
  3. Top with chocolate chips and serve!
  4. Enjoy!

**Keep it simple or add more toppings such as coconut flakes, chopped nuts, or granola.

 

Treat yourself and your family to this fun sweet treat! If you have kids, this is a fun little recipe to get them involved in the kitchen.

 

What is your favorite way to eat apples?

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!

Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Follow me on social media!

Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube: Live Better with Kat Detter

Instagram: @livebetterwithkatdetter