Opal Basil

The deep purple or burgundy, glossy leaves of Opal basil are egg-shaped and sparsely toothed along the edges. The color of the basil intensifies with maturity, although variegated green leaves are considered normal in Opal basil.

opal-basil

Nutritional facts:

Opal basil has a compound of vitamins and minerals that make it a powerhouse of anti-inflammatory properties. Unique to the Opal basil variety is the addition of anthocyanins.

Flavour:

The hybrid basil variety has a slightly stronger anise flavor than the common green sweet basil. Flavor forward is clove-like with mild ginger undertones and a potent aroma.

Goes well with:

Opal basil leaves make aromatic infused vinegars and oils. The dark color leaches into the infusing vinegar, leaving it a beautiful shade of burgundy. Make a purple pesto or use the leaves as a garnish for desserts, salads, pizza and pastas. Opal basil can replace green varieties in caprese salads and most other recipes calling for standard sweet basil.


Recipes

Opal Basil Peaches

  • 4 firm-ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and quartered
  • 1 ounce opal basil leaves (about 2 cups loosely packed)
  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Creme fraeche, for serving (optional)

Purple Pesto Soup

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 1/2 cups (or 1 15-ounce can) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup purple basil leaves, firmly packed (or use green)
  • 1 tablespoon cashew butter (or try almond butter or tahini)*
  • white pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • additional garlic, to taste

Corn and Opal Basil Salad with Avocado

  • 4 ears of sweet corn
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup small, whole, purple (opal) basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Pinch of salt