If you've ever cooked with dried herbs in a pinch, you know they're just not the same as fresh. Basil, for example, is one herb in particular that really shines when it's fresh. Just think of a homemade marinara sauce using fresh basil -- would it be the same using dried? But beyond those familiar dishes we most associate with basil (tomato sauce, pizza, meatballs), the herb can actually work wonderfully well in many more dishes, including cocktails and desserts. Check out our slideshow below for 20 new ideas.

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  • Basil Vinaigrette

    This simple basil vinaigrette makes a great topping for any number of salads. Try it on a tomato salad for the perfect pairing. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/basil-vinaigrette_n_1058225.html" target="_hplink">Basil Vinaigrette recipe</a></strong>

  • Asparagus Rolls With Prosciutto And Basil Ricotta Cheese

    Sweet ricotta cheese and aromatic basil make a delicious filling for these asparagus rolls wrapped in prosciutto. You can also use the spread on bruschetta. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/asparagus-rolls-with-pros_n_1057301.html" target="_hplink">Asparagus Rolls with Prosciutto and Basil Ricotta Cheese recipe</a></strong>

  • Caponata, Mozzarella And Basil Panini

    This oozing grilled sandwich has the best flavors of Italy: mozzarella cheese, sweet eggplant caponata and fresh basil piled into a ciabatta roll. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/caponata-mozzarella-and_n_1057250.html" target="_hplink">Caponata, Mozzarella and Basil Panini recipe</a></strong>

  • Apricot-And-Basil Shortbread Tart

    Basil lends a unique flavor to this elegant dessert tart. The crumbly pastry is filled with a creamy custard filling that's infused with fresh basil. It's finished with roasted apricots. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/apricot-and-basil-shortbr_n_1058201.html" target="_hplink">Apricot-and-Basil Shortbread Tart recipe</a></strong>

  • Chilled Summer Squash And Basil Soup

    Fresh basil imparts a wonderful aroma and flavor to this chilled soup of summer squash. Serve topped with basil ice (basil frozen with stock) for a unique garnish. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/chilled-summer-squash-and_n_1057603.html" target="_hplink">Chilled Summer Squash and Basil Soup recipe</a></strong>

  • Tomato-Basil Finger Sandwiches

    These pretty finger sandwiches take inspiration from the classic Caprese salad of tomato, mozzarella and basil. Serve them as a summery appetizer. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/tomato-amp-basil-finger_n_1049608.html" target="_hplink">Tomato-Basil Finger Sandwiches recipe</a></strong>

  • Orange-Basil Grilled Mahi-Mahi With Stir-Fried Greens

    A dressing of orange juice and zest, garlic, mustard, honey and basil enlivens this recipe for grilled mahi-mahi, which is finished under the broiler to crisp up the skin. Serve with steamed green beans for a healthy dinner. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/orange-basil-grilled-mahi_n_1057602.html" target="_hplink">Orange-Basil Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Stir-Fried Greens recipe</a></strong>

  • Basic Basil Pesto

    A basic basil pesto can do so much in the kitchen: Use it as a sauce for pasta, a spread for sandwiches, a pizza topping and more. This recipe combines fresh basil, Parmesan cheese and walnuts, but feel free to use pine nuts or almonds. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/basic-basil-pesto_n_1049303.html" target="_hplink">Basic Basil Pesto recipe</a></strong>

  • Cherry Tomato Tart With Basil

    Basil and tomatoes make the best of friends in this savory tart. Serve with a green side salad for a refreshing lunch or light dinner. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/cherry-tomato-tart-with-b_n_1058286.html" target="_hplink">Cherry Tomato Tart with Basil recipe</a></strong>

  • Emerald Gimlet

    Don't let mint take all the credit in cocktails, basil makes a terrific flavoring too, especially in this vodka, lemon and lime concoction. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/emerald-gimlet_n_1061248.html" target="_hplink">Emerald Gimlet recipe</a></strong>

  • Pasta With Green Beans, Potatoes And Basil Pesto

    A classic basil pesto with pine nuts and Parmesan cheese tops this simple pasta dish. Green beans and potatoes add lots of texture. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/26/pasta-with-green-beans-p_n_1456716.html" target="_hplink">Pasta with Green Beans, Potatoes and Basil Pesto recipe</a></strong>

  • Tomato-Basil Bread Pudding

    This savory bread pudding combines sweet cherry tomatoes with fresh basil for a unique dish that can work as a side or even a main -- just add a salad. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/27/tomato-basil-bread-puddin_n_1382629.html" target="_hplink">Tomato-Basil Bread Pudding recipe</a></strong>

  • Green Apple And Basil Granita

    This icy and refreshing granita combines the sweet-tart flavor of green apples and aromatic basil. Serve it as a palate-cleansing dessert after a large dinner. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/green-apple-and-basil-gra_n_1059297.html" target="_hplink">Green Apple and Basil Granita recipe</a></strong>

  • Coffee-Spice Chicken And Fruit-Basil Salsa

    Basil enlivens a fresh fruit salsa of watermelon and nectarines. It makes the perfect complement for spicy grilled chicken, flavored with a jerk-style rub that includes instant coffee. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/17/coffee-spice-chicken-and-_n_1432937.html" target="_hplink">Coffee-Spice Chicken and Fruit-Basil Salsa recipe</a></strong>

  • Grilled Zucchini With Basil And Balsamic

    Top grilled zucchini with basil, balsamic vinegar and red chile for a sweet, tangy and spicy side dish. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/grilled-zucchini-with-bas_n_1055226.html" target="_hplink">Grilled Zucchini with Basil and Balsamic recipe</a></strong>

  • Shrimp With Mango And Basil

    Mangoes and basil make a unique flavor combination in this Indian-style shrimp dish. Serve over rice for dinner. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/shrimp-with-mango-amp-b_n_1049992.html" target="_hplink">Shrimp with Mango and Basil recipe</a></strong>

  • Green and Yellow Bean Salad With Radishes, Onions, Lemon And Basil

    You'll forget about the traditional three-bean salad after trying this two-bean salad with radish, onion and basil. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/green-and-yellow-bean-sal_n_1057431.html" target="_hplink">Green and Yellow Bean Salad with Radishes, Onions, Lemon and Basil recipe</a></strong>

  • Roasted Corn With Basil-Shallot Vinaigrette

    Roasting fresh corn heightens its sweet flavor. Tossing it with a basil vinaigrette after it's cooked brings out the flavors even more. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/roasted-corn-with-basil-s_n_1049522.html" target="_hplink">Roasted Corn with Basil-Shallot Vinaigrette recipe</a></strong>

  • Skirt Steak BLT With Basil Mayonnaise

    Basil and chives turn store-bought mayonnaise into a unique spread for these skirt steak sandwiches. Also use the mayo as a dip for fries. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/skirt-steak-blt-with-basi_n_1055168.html" target="_hplink">Skirt Steak BLT with Basil Mayonnaise recipe</a></strong>

  • Corn And Basil Cakes

    These savory pancakes combine sweet summer corn and basil. Serve them as appetizers or a side dish. <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/corn--basil-cakes_n_1062205.html" target="_hplink">Corn and Basil Cakes recipe</a></strong>

  • Lebanese Labneh cheese

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/rebmarks"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/rebmarks">rebmarks</a>:<br />Mix teaspoon of salt with half a big pot of fat-free Greek Yoghurt and drain through sieve lined with cheesecloth in fridge for 3 days. Form into about 10 large walnut-sized balls, roll in chopped fresh basil and/or parsley and/or mint and store in olive oil. Enjoy!

  • Marinated Goat Cheese with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Basil

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Susan_Lightfoot_Moran"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1171414516/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Susan_Lightfoot_Moran">Susan Lightfoot Moran</a>:<br />Delicious goat cheese is marinated with sun dried tomatoes and basil, use it in salads, on bruschetta, pizza, or just on a cracker!


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