Mammoth amounts of basil are sprouting in gardens around this time of the summer season. The plant thrives in optimal sunlight, needing at least six hours per day. And since it was deemed “one of the healthiest foods in the world,” this basil overflow is no burden. An integral ingredient in drinks, desserts and entrees, basil has the ability to make any taste of food seem clean and light. These recipes double as an antioxidant boost and summer refresher, so delve into at least one before the season wraps up.

1. Pineapple-Basil Agua Fresca


Photo by Elizabeth Layman

Sweet, tangy and refreshing? This agua fresca pairs pineapple with basil like a boss.

2. Pesto


Photo by Julie Maguire

This pasta topping will taste from-the-garden fresh, especially since it calls for 2 whole cups of basil.

3. Fancified Lunchables


Photo by Katherine Baker

This Lunchable hack takes a classy turn with sprigs of basil on top.

 4. Avocado, Basil and Bacon Ice Cream


Photo by Hannah Lin

This savory and aromatic dessert will catch any basil skeptic’s attention.

5. Spaghetti Sauce Simplicity


Photo by Judy Holtz

This mash-up of ingredients doesn’t skimp on basil or oregano in order to perfect the classic spaghetti sauce.

6. Watermelon and Ricotta Salad


Photo by Megan Prendergast

Basil leaves were the only greens spared in “Leave Out the Leaves.” This watermelon salad recipe with basil is a must.

7. Meatball Sliders


Photo by Ben Abrahams

Sub lettuce with a basil leaf for these pop-in-your-mouth meatball sliders.

8. Fried Cheese Sandwich


Photo by Heather Harris

Have your own Euro-trip without leaving US turf with this fried sandwich, topped with garlicky herb and lemon mayonnaise infused with basil.

9. Strawberry Peach Guacamole


Photo by Natalie Cantave

Though the classic guacamole recipe has a soft spot in our hearts, we aren’t impartial to testing this guac mixed with strawberry, peaches and some chopped fresh basil.

10. Healthy Pesto Garlic Pasta


Photo by Parisa Soraya

Nutrient-dense and light on oil and cheese, this update offers a lighter take on a favorite pasta sauce.

11. Cucumber, Avocado & Tomato Salad


Photo by Maggie Gorman

The fresh basil leaves may be “optional” in this salad, but we say toss in the fresh leaves for an extra punch of flavor.

12. Mediterranean Pita Pizzas


Photo by Elyse Belarge

Simple as can be, these pita pizzas are topped with feta, olives, basil and classic tomato sauce, so you can eat like a Greek without paying crazy airfare.