Basil is a member of the large mint family. It has long been used as an embalming and preserving herb, found in mummies of ancient Egypt. Perhaps because of its embalming usage, basil was also a symbol of mourning in Greece where it was known as basilikon phuton, meaning magnificent, royal or kingly herb.
Basil is one of the most widely-used herbs in the world. With so many varieties from which to choose, it is no wonder. From pesto to spaghetti sauce to dessert treats, basil runs the gamut in the kitchen.
Ingredients - Italian Style Stuffed Peppers
- 2 bell peppers, opened and cleaned
- 1 tablespoon bacon grease or coconut oil or butter
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed or chopped
- 1/2 cup diced tomatoes, fresh or canned (to make the consistency less soupy, scoop out the seeds and meat of the tomato prior to cutting)
- 1 pound ground beef, bison, turkey, or chicken (your preference)
- 6 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella
- Extra basil leaves for garnish
Ingerdients - Caprese Salad
- 2 handfuls of your choice of lettuce greens, I went with baby spinach
- 1 cup of cherry tomatoes
- 1 cube of buffalo mozzarella sliced
- 1/4 cup of basil, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 375°.
Place the opened and cleaned bell peppers in a roasting dish face down and stick them in the oven for 10-15 minutes (the longer the more tender it will be)
While the bell peppers are cooking heat the bacon grease or coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the diced onions (I added some extra bell peppers), adding sea salt and black pepper to taste until they are translucent and slightly browned on the edges.
Then add the chopped tomatoes, and chopped garlic, to the onions, and simmer for about two minutes.
Add the meat and cook until fully browned. (You can taste the mixture once the meat is cooked and adjust the seasoning by adding more sea salt or pepper to your taste.)
Once the meat is fully cooked mix in the chopped basil.
Remove the peppers from the oven and flip them over so you can fill them with the yummy meat filling.
Once they are filled you can top them off with some shredded mozzarella cheese. Set the oven to broil and pop them back into the oven for 1-2 minutes to melt the cheese.
While this cheese is melting you can toss together the Caprese Salad.
Take the salad ingredients and layer them as follows; first the lettuce, then the chopped tomatoes, then the mozzarella slices, and finally top it off with the chopped basil leaves.
You can mix the olive oil and balsamic vinegar to create a yummy salad dressing.
Take the peppers out and serve with the salad for a yummy Italian meal. I paired mine with a delicious Italian Chianti.