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Creamy Basil-Lime-Ginger Dressing

May 31, 2012
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There are lots of things you can do to add flavor to your cooking, but one that I've found to make a huge difference is using spices and herbs. Fresh herbs add amazing flavors, taking an ordinary dish to a whole new level. When you grow your own fresh herbs, you can pick them as you use them, which is even more amazing.

People often worry about combining fresh herbs and spices 'correctly' in a dish. The best way to learn what combinations of spices and herbs work together, and with which foods, is to start by looking at recipes. There are some flavors that generally work well, and are always used in the same combination.

But also keep in mind that everyone has slightly different tastes and you might prefer to swap something - maybe ditch coriander for cinnamon. Start from the tried and true as a base and try experimenting a little bit on your own. Over time, you'll figure out what you like.

One of my favorite simple flavor combinations is fresh basil with lime and ginger. Here's a recipe for a creamy dressing that tastes great with that awesome flavor combo, and is perfect when you have fresh basil and chives sprouting up in your garden.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp nut or seed butter (almond, cashew, sunflower seed, tahini, etc)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice and zest
  • Handful fresh basil
  • Handful fresh chives or green onion
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup water (more or less, for the consistency you want)

Preparation

Puree all of the ingredients until smooth and creamy. For a milder ginger flavor, squeeze the juice from the grated pulp rather than adding it all. Add a pinch of salt if you need it, but if you use fresh ingredients you might not need any.

This dressing works really well drizzled over sweet potatoes and tossed with some fresh greens. Or, you can leave it thicker and use it as a dip for some fresh cucumber slices and cherry tomatoes. Try it with different dishes and see how you like it. The best way to learn is to experiment!

Heather - this sounds wonderful! I love Basil & must have been stuck on it for eating alone or in savory Italian classics. Thank you for your very refreshing perspective & the menu notes!

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