In case you hadn’t figured out from my multiple pesto recipes and variations, I seriously love basil! Seriously. But I’ll be brief so you can get to the recipe!
Nutritionally, basil is a pretty good source of Vitamin A (beta-carotene), potassium, and even calcium, while containing smaller amounts of many other vitamins and minerals integral to good health. But basil is more than a culinary delight.
A distinguished member of the mint family, Ocimum basilicum can also be used medicinally. It is full of antioxidants, is antibacterial, a potent anti-inflammatory, and chock full of beautiful volatile oils which makes it easy to use in teas, baths and facial steams. Basil can calm digestive complaints, itchy bug bites, and cool ear infections.
One of the first known writings about basil claimed it “exists only to drive men insane”, while another claims it to “procure a cheerful and merry heart” (that’s certainly how it makes me feel!). In folklore, basil seems to have a complicated history, being equally feared and loved, and associated with both love and hate, life and death, etc. Linked to the zodiac Scorpio, considered a good luck charm, a symbol of love, and yet basil could “dulleth the sight” if consumed in excess.*
All the more reason to use it as an ingredient in food rather than a food itself – sometimes the most potent medicines are in the smallest doses. I frankly feel happiest simply inhaling the fresh plant, making tea (try Tusli, a.k.a. Holy Basil, for it’s especially beneficial constituents that help combat stress), or making into pesto to add to meats, veggies, or sweet potatoes as a dressing. And now this flatbread for special treats!
This super simple recipe was born out of a compromise with my hubby over his desire for pizza and the fact that we had zero toppings.
1 cup tapioca starch/flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp grain-free baking powder (I use 1:1 starch to baking soda)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2-3/4 cup dairy-free milk (you can use water instead, but milk makes a softer bread)
Make flatbread – mix together ingredients dry to wet until a wet/sticky dough is achieved (depending on your flours, you may need more or less milk, so play around a bit). Press into desired shape on a lined baking sheet and bake at 375F for approx. 10-15 minutes (until just starting to colour, but not fully cooked). Take out and spread with ghee, butter (not AIP), or olive oil, then spread on your chosen pesto. I love using one with a really strong garlic kick as it mellows out beautifully as it cooks. Pop breads back in the oven and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until golden and starting to crisp on the edges. They will still be soft and malleable, not crisp. Serve warm for the best flavour profile, but it’s pretty good cold too!
*Check out this Herb Society for America Guide for a great reference on basil.