Cooking Light and Healthy Using Fresh Herbs

BY ACHS Holistic Nutrition Instructor Helen (Eleni) Delfakis, MS, RD

Spring is a great time to begin cooking light and healthy using fresh herbs. One of my favorite herbs is basil (Ocimum basilicum), which is an annual plant cultivated in temperate climates around the world.

In Greece, basil is named Basileus, Greek for ‘king’, is associated with romance, and has been used for aromatherapy since the third century B.C. in Greek and Roman bathhouses. In more recent times, basil has been cultivated by the cosmetic industry for fragrances, shampoos, and soaps.

For medicinal purposes, basil tea has been recommended by herbalists to cure cramps, vomiting and constipation, and its mild sedative properties make it ideal for relieving headaches and anxiety.

For culinary uses, basil is one of the most popular cooking herbs. Its mildly peppery taste and desirable fragrance makes this herb ideal for flavoring veal, poultry, fish, cheeses, and most vegetable and pasta dishes, especially when blending with olive oil, garlic, and tomatoes. The linguini with tomatoes and basil recipe included is delicious and easy, and takes less than 15 minutes to prepare.

Linguini with Tomatoes and Basil
Preparation time: 15 minutes

  • ? lb linguini pasta
  • ? cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ? cup finely chopped green onion
  • 1 lb ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ? ounce fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • Freshly ground black pepper corns

Preparation Directions
Cook the pasta in two quarts of water and ? teaspoon salt according to the time directions stated on the package. Do not overcook. While the pasta is cooking, chop the vegetables and herbs and crumble the feta cheese.

Using a large saut? pan, heat the olive oil over low-medium heat and add the chopped onions and tomatoes. Saut? until slightly wilted, about one minute. Add the garlic and stir for another 15 seconds. Add the cooked and drained pasta, fresh basil, pepper and the cheese, and toss until all the ingredients are well blended. Remove from the heat.

Calories per serving: 360
Number of Servings: 4

*Note, this article originally appeared in the May 2011 edition of The Reporter ACHSeNewsletter. To have monthly health and wellness tips emailed to you, click here to subscribe to The Reporter.

*This information has not been evaluated by the FDA. This information has been provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. You should always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health routine.