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Using Your Basil Plant - Health and Happiness in a Dip

By HERWriter
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Now that you have your very own basil plant, growing in your very own home and providing you with a constant supply of fresh flavor and nutritional enhancement, you are probably looking for the best way to utilize this treasure trove of a plant. The recipe below is as versatile and easy as your basil plant itself. With a creamy texture that belies its very low fat content, this dip is perfect for parties, potlucks and any meal to which you are hoping to add a spring-time zest.

Furthermore, the basil is complemented by another spring-harvest vegetable: asparagus, back by popular demand from my previous articles! It is chock full of vitamin A, C, K, protein and fiber. It can benefit your bones, blood, digestion, and ability to produce pungent smelling urine--if you are part of the lucky population with the genetic trait that allows this. Therefore, this tasty Basil Asparagus Dip will leave you and anyone with whom you choose to share it, satisfied and guilt-free when it comes to diet and your desire to live more sustainably.

Creamy Basil Asparagus Dip
(Adapted from a recipe shared by blogger Veggiebelly)

8-9 stalks of asparagus (more if they are skinny stalks)
One 15 oz. can white beans/cannellini beans, washed and drained well (You can also use chickpeas if you don’t have white beans on hand, but expect that you will also need to use more olive oil to allow for the creamy texture.)
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup basil leaves, roughly chopped
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
(optional) extra dried basil

1. Chop off and discard the tough ends of the asparagus stalks. Chop the asparagus into pieces.
2. Boil asparagus in some water, till asparagus is tender (about 8-10 minutes). Drain well and allow to cool.
3. While asparagus is cooking, place olive oil, beans, garlic, basil and lemon juice in the blender and puree until it is as smooth or as chunky as you like.
4. Add asparagus and blend again.
5. Add spices to taste.
6. Serve chilled. This recipe makes roughly 1 ½ cups.

This dip is also fantastic when spread on a sandwich or even when added to pasta. It is a healthy, easy crowd pleaser, and if you don’t have asparagus on hand, works just as well with broccoli, spinach or edamame. Because of its creamy texture and delicious basil flavor, it is a fantastic way to sneak nutrients and vegetable servings into picky eaters’ diets (hint: kids!). While your ever-harvestable basil plant is ripe for a variety of different recipes, this one comes with especially high recommendations. Enjoy! And please feel free to share variations!

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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