My wife loves basil. We eat mozzarella and basil, bruschetta and basil, pea soup and basil, pizza and basil. I don’t know any food we eat which we have not had some basil. I love basil, so I was excited to grow some microgreens to see how they taste.
The aroma is intoxicating, and the flavor is even better. But did you know that these microgreens are packed with nutrition? Welcome to the world of microgreens nutrition, where small plants deliver enormous health benefits.
Basil microgreens, a nutrient-dense food, are packed with vitamins A, C, E, K, and B-complex and essential minerals like iron, calcium, and potassium. They are known for their antioxidant properties and potential to support cardiovascular health. Their unique flavor profile makes them a popular choice in various cuisines.
This post will dive deep into basil microgreens’ health benefits and nutritional data. We’ll explore why they’re a must-have in your diet, whether you’re a health-conscious consumer, an urban dweller with limited gardening space, a gourmet chef looking for the next flavor sensation, a food enthusiast eager to try new things, or a parent wanting to boost your family’s nutrition.
So, stay with me as we unravel the wonders of basil microgreens.
INTERESTED IN MICROGREENS?
Join the community
Join more than 50,000 other health-conscious individuals and couples who visit our site and receive weekly emails from us to help them grow more microgreens to live healthier and longer lives.
Basil and Basil Microgreens: A Rich History
Basil Microgreens Nutrition Info
The Health Benefits of Eating Basil Microgreens
Cooking with Basil Microgreens
Types of Basil Microgreens
Growing Basil Microgreens
Takeaways: Basil Microgreens Nutrition
Share The Guide
Basil, known scientifically as Ocimum basilicum, has a rich history that spans continents and cultures.
Scientific Name: Ocimum basilicum 
Common Name: Basil or sweet basil
Plant Family: Lamiaceae (mint family)
Etymology: Ocimum — from the Greek word Okimon, meaning smell. Basilicum — the Latin translation of the Greek word basilicon, meaning kingly herb. Ancient Greeks called it “The Herb of Kings.”
It was first cultivated in Asia over 5,000 years ago and traveled to Africa and the Mediterranean along spice routes. The ancient Egyptians also valued basil for its healing qualities, using it in their traditional medicines and mummification practices. It has been worshipped as a holy herb and used medicinally for its health benefits in ancient Indian medicine.
The herb made its way to Europe via the Middle East in the Middle Ages and was used to ward off evil spirits. It was in the 16th century that basil became popular in England for its culinary uses, and it eventually found its way to the Americas with the early colonists.
Today, basil is a staple in cuisines worldwide, particularly in Italian and Southeast Asian dishes. It’s the main ingredient in pesto, a crucial element in Thai curries, and a flavorful addition to salads, soups, and pizzas. Basil microgreens are typically added to the food processor at the same time as garlic and pine nuts.
Medicinally, basil is used to aid digestion, alleviate coughs and colds, and even reduce stress and anxiety.
In addition, basil may treat general pain and digestive disturbances in many ways, including as an anti-inflammatory agent. It’s an antimicrobial, which can help heal wounds and infections. The active substance in basil, cinammonic acid, may help with circulation, respiration, and blood sugar.
In its microgreen form, basil retains these medicinal properties. It packs an even denser nutritional punch, making it a valuable addition to any diet.
They are typically harvested before they reach 3 inches in height since they taste better when slightly smaller. Basil microgreens are among the microgreens with the slowest growth rates. They will still be grown in a few weeks, of course.
Basil microgreens are rich in vitamins C and K, minerals iron and calcium, and antioxidants that help reduce cancer risks and promote cardiovascular health.
|Total lipid (fat)||0.64||g|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||2.65||g|
|Fiber, total dietary||1.6||g|
|Sugars, total including NLEA||0.3||g|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid||18||mg|
|Vitamin A, RAE||264||µg|
|Vitamin A, IU||5280||IU|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin||5650||µg|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)||0.8||mg|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone)||415||µg|
|Fatty acids, total saturated||0.041||g|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated||0.088||g|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated||0.389||g|
Nutrients Found in Basil Microgreens
It is good to know what’s in your food! The nutrients found in basil microgreens include various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Here are some of the nutrients present in basil microgreens:
Basil microgreens are rich in Vitamin C, which is essential for developing and repairing all body tissues. They contribute to various bodily functions such as collagen production, iron absorption, immunity, wound healing, and maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth.
They are also a good source of Vitamin K1, primarily involved in blood clotting but also contribute to bone health.
Basil microgreens contain Vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant that protects your cells from oxidative damage.
They’re high in beta-carotene, which is converted to Vitamin A by the body. Good vision, a robust immune system, and good skin and mucous membranes are all necessary for vitamin A.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin
These two types of carotenoids play an essential role in your eye health.
Basil microgreens are rich in polyphenols, which are compounds with antioxidant properties. They help to protect your cells against the harmful effects of free radicals.
They contain essential minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
Please note that the exact quantities of these nutrients can vary based on growing conditions and the specific variety of basil used. It’s best to refer to the USDA Food Database or a similar reliable source for the most accurate information.
Basil, including basil microgreens, is known for its numerous health benefits, many of which have been researched and confirmed by scientific studies. Here are some of the most important ones:
Rich in Antioxidants
Basil is a rich source of antioxidants that help protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. There are flavonoids and volatile oils in these antioxidants.
Basil is rich in compounds such as eugenol and linalool, believed to help reduce inflammation within the body.
Basil is one of the best sources of magnesium, which regulates blood pressure and heart function. It also contains beta-carotene, which can help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol in the blood, reducing the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease.
Basil can help with various digestive disorders. It’s traditionally used for stomach spasms, loss of appetite, intestinal gas, kidney conditions, and more.
Basil has been found to have mood-boosting properties and may help reduce stress and anxiety.
Basil has antimicrobial properties that can fight various bacteria, yeasts, molds, and viruses.
Please note that while basil has many potential health benefits, it’s essential to consume it as part of a balanced diet and not rely on it as the sole treatment for any medical conditions. Always consult with your primary healthcare professional before making any changes in your diet.
This is what I learned from my wife. You can use basil microgreens to garnish your lasagna. Whether you’re making scrambled, sunny side up, or hard-boiled/soft-boiled eggs, add some green to your recipes. With basil microgreens, any dish with mozzarella and marinara sauce will taste better.
Basil microgreens have a more intense flavor compared to mature basil. They offer a fresh, slightly sweet taste with a hint of clove.
Adding basil microgreens to your diet is a simple and delicious way to boost your nutrient intake and enjoy their health benefits. Here are some practical recipe tips to get you started.
Salads and Wraps
Basil microgreens add a fresh, aromatic flavor to salads and wraps. They pair well with tomatoes, mozzarella, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze for a twist on the classic Caprese salad.
Check out my FREE book, “Eat Now! 15 Savory Microgreen Salad Recipes,” available on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B085ZCFK7B.
Juices and Smoothies
Add a handful of basil microgreens to your favorite smoothie for a nutrient boost. They blend well with fruits like strawberries, bananas, and blueberries.
Check out my book, “Eat Now! Microgreen Juices: 25 Savory Pocket Recipes,” available on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Eat-Now-Microgreen-Juices-Microgreens-ebook/dp/B08DQLLGYS/.
Use basil microgreens as a garnish to elevate the presentation and flavor of your dishes. They’re perfect for topping pasta, pizza, soups, and grilled meats.
Check out my book, “Eat Now! Microgreen Soups: 15 Savory Low-Fat Pocket Recipes,” available on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Eat-Now-Microgreen-Soups-Microgreens-ebook/dp/B087BXQSDT/.
Make a microgreen pesto by blending basil microgreens with garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Use it as a spread for sandwiches, a sauce for pasta, or a marinade for chicken.
Sweet basil microgreens in warm water and a touch of honey are used to calm the tea.
Experimenting with different dishes and flavors is the key to enjoying microgreens. Start small, and gradually incorporate them into your meals. With their potent nutrition profile and versatile flavor, basil microgreens are a great addition to any diet. Happy eating!
I didn’t know this until after I started researching for this post. But tens of different kinds of basil are grown in almost every world region. It is amazing!
These basil microgreens offer even more diversity in flavors, appearances, and culinary uses. Whether looking for a specific taste profile, visual appeal, or cultural influence, basil microgreens provide a wide range of options to explore and enhance your culinary creations.
Several types of basil microgreens are popular due to their unique flavors, origins, and culinary applications. Let’s explore some of them (in alphabetical order).
African Blue Basil (Ocimum kilimandscharicum × basilicum ‘Dark Opal’)
African Blue basil microgreens have deep purple leaves with a spicy, peppery flavor. Originating from Africa, they are known for their ornamental value. They are also used in culinary preparations similar to sweet basil.
American or Lime Basil (Ocimum americanum)
Lime basil microgreens have a tangy lime-like aroma and taste. They are often used in Southeast Asian cuisines, especially Thai and Indonesian dishes. Lime basil microgreens complement fish dishes, noodle soups, and spicy curries.
Ararat Basil (Ocimum basilicum’ Ararat’)
Ararat basil microgreens have green leaves with purple streaks and a spicy, cinnamon-like flavor. They are commonly used in salads, dressings, and topping for pizzas.
Boxwood Basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Boxwood’)
Boxwood basil microgreens have small, compact leaves with a mild, sweet flavor. They are often used as a decorative element in salads and appetizers and as a dessert garnish.
Christmas Basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Christmas’)
Christmas basil microgreens have green leaves with red veins, creating a festive appearance. They have a mild basil flavor and are often used as a decorative element in salads, hors d’oeuvres, and holiday dishes.
Cilantro Basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Cilantro’)
Cilantro basil microgreens have a unique combination of flavors reminiscent of basil and cilantro. Originating from South America, they are often used in Latin American and Asian cuisines. These microgreens add a fresh, herbal twist to salsas, tacos, and Asian-inspired dishes.
Cinnamon Basil (Ocimum basilicum’ Cinnamon’)
Cinnamon basil microgreens feature a distinct cinnamon aroma and flavor. They are often used in sweet dishes like fruit salads, desserts, and beverages, providing a unique twist to traditional basil uses.
Fernleaf Basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Fernleaf’)
Fernleaf basil microgreens have delicate, fern-like leaves and a mild, slightly spicy flavor. They are often used in salads, soups, and as a garnish for seafood dishes.
Genovese Basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Genovese’)
Genovese basil is a specific variety of sweet basil and is well-known for its use in traditional pesto recipes. Its microgreens are robust and aromatic, perfect for pesto, Caprese salads, and garnishing soups.
Globe Basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Minimum’)
Globe basil microgreens have small, compact leaves and a sweet flavor. They are often used as a garnish, in salads, or added to cocktails for a touch of freshness.
Greek Basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Minimum’)
Greek basil microgreens have small leaves and a mild flavor. They are commonly used in Greek and Mediterranean dishes such as Greek salads, tzatziki, and tomato-based sauces.
Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum)
Also known as Tulsi, Holy basil is a sacred plant in Hindu culture. Its microgreens have a peppery and clove-like taste. In Ayurvedic medicine and various Indian dishes, including teas, soups, and stews, holy basil is widely used.
Italian Large Leaf Basil (Ocimum basilicum’ Italian Large Leaf’)
Italian Large Leaf basil microgreens have broad, tender leaves with a classic basil flavor. They are commonly used in Italian cuisine, including pasta dishes, pizzas, and tomato-based sauces.
Lemon Basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Citriodorum’)
Lemon basil microgreens have a refreshing citrusy scent and taste. They add a zesty flavor to salads, seafood dishes, and desserts. Lemon basil is famous for making infused oils, teas, and lemonade.
Lettuce Leaf Basil (Ocimum basilicum’ Lettuce Leaf’)
Lettuce Leaf basil microgreens have large, crinkled leaves resembling lettuce. They have a mild flavor and are often used in salads, sandwiches, and as a wrap for other ingredients.
Opal Basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Purpurascens’)
Opal basil microgreens have striking purple foliage with a sweet and spicy flavor. They add color to salads, sandwiches, and herbal vinegar or oils.
Persian Basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Persian’)
Persian basil microgreens have a mild, sweet flavor with hints of mint and licorice. They are widely used in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines, including salads, yogurt dips, and grilled meat dishes.
Purple Basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Purpurascens’)
As the name suggests, purple basil microgreens have a striking purple hue on their leaves. They offer a slightly spicy and clove-like flavor. Purple basil adds color and taste to salads, desserts, and cocktails.
Purple Ruffles Basil (Ocimum basilicum’ Purple Ruffles’)
Purple Ruffles basil microgreens have deeply ruffled leaves with a sweet, spicy flavor. They are famous for their ornamental value. They can be used in salads, garnish, or even for making flavored oils and vinegar.
Red Rubin Basil (Ocimum basilicum’ Red Rubin’)
Red Rubin basil microgreens have deep burgundy leaves and a mild, sweet flavor. They are primarily used for their vibrant color. They are often used in salads, as a garnish, or in dishes where their appearance can be highlighted.
Sacred Basil (Ocimum sanctum)
Also known as Tulsi, Sacred basil is considered a holy herb in Hinduism and is highly revered in Indian culture. Its microgreens have a strong, spicy, and clove-like flavor. Sacred basil microgreens are used in various Ayurvedic preparations, herbal teas, and medicinal remedies.
Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Sweet basil is the most common and often used in Italian cuisine. Its microgreens possess a firm, sweet, and slightly peppery flavor. They are excellent additions to salads, pasta dishes, and pesto sauces.
Spicy Bush Basil (Ocimum basilicum’ Minimum Compactum’)
Spicy Globe Bush basil microgreens are compact and have a spicy, intense flavor. They are commonly used in Italian and Thai cuisines and are perfect for adding a punch of flavor to sauces, stir-fries, and dressings.
Spicy Globe Basil (Ocimum basilicum’ Spicy Globe’)
Spicy Globe basil microgreens have a compact growth habit and a spicy flavor. Originating from India, they are often used in Indian and Thai cuisines. These microgreens add a kick to curries, chutneys, and spicy dishes.
Thai Basil (Ocimum basilicum var. thyrsiflora)
From Southeast Asia, Thai basil has a distinctive licorice-like flavor with hints of anise. Its microgreens are often used in Thai, Vietnamese, and other Asian cuisines. They complement spicy stir-fries, curries, and noodle dishes.
These are just a few examples of the different basil microgreens available. These basil microgreens can be grown quickly at home or sourced from specialty markets or local farmers’ markets.
Want more ideas on using basil and other microgreens in your daily meals? Read my post, “Mastering the Art – How Chefs Pair Microgreens with Proteins for a Nutritional Boost.“
Each variety offers a unique flavor profile, allowing for versatile culinary applications in various cuisines. Experimenting with different types of basil microgreens can add depth and complexity to your dishes while enhancing their visual appeal.
Basil microgreens are relatively easy to grow but require specific conditions to thrive. Here’s a brief overview of their growing profile.
Basil microgreens prefer a good amount of light. They can grow under indirect sunlight but benefit from 12-16 hours of light per day for optimal growth. A fluorescent or LED grow light can provide the necessary light intensity if you’re growing indoors.
Basil microgreens grow best in a soil-based medium. The soil should be well-draining to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot. It is often very successful to have a mixture of peat moss, vermiculite, and perlite.
Basil microgreens prefer to be watered from below. This method helps to prevent damping-off disease, a common problem in seedlings and young plants.
Basil microgreens prefer warm temperatures. They grow best at temperatures between 70-80°F (21-27°C).
Days to Harvest
Basil microgreens are typically ready to harvest about 16-25 days after sowing. You’ll know they’re ready when they’ve developed their first set of true leaves.
Remember, growing conditions can vary based on the specific variety of basil you’re growing. Always check the growing instructions for your specific seeds.
In conclusion, basil microgreens are a nutritional powerhouse that offers many health benefits. They’re rich in vitamins A, C, and K and other essential minerals such as calcium, iron, and magnesium. These microgreens also contain potent antioxidants, which help combat oxidative stress and inflammation, promoting overall health.
The unique, aromatic flavor of basil microgreens makes them a versatile addition to various dishes, from salads and wraps to smoothies and pesto. Incorporating them into your diet is a simple and delicious way to enhance your nutrient intake.
We’ve explored the origins and uses of basil, the growing profile of basil microgreens, and their impressive nutritional profile. We’ve also provided practical tips on how to include these nutrient-dense greens in your diet.
Remember, the key to enjoying microgreens is experimentation. Don’t be afraid to try different dishes and flavors. Start with basil microgreens today and discover the joy of growing and eating fresh, nutritious greens.
So, why wait? Start incorporating basil microgreens into your diet today and reap their health benefits. Happy growing and eating!
INTERESTED IN MICROGREENS?
Join the community
Join more than 50,000 other health-conscious individuals and couples who visit our site and receive weekly emails from us to help them grow more microgreens to live healthier and longer lives.
Basil microgreens have the same flavor as mature basil if you’ve ever eaten it. Basil microgreens are not grown in place of mature basil for either taste or growth rate reasons. It’s because basil microgreens have much more nutrients than mature basil! Explore more in my post, “What Do Microgreens Taste Like?”
How To Store Basil Microgreens
Basil microgreens should always be washed and dried before use, which is crucial to remember when storing them. Why? Because when you put them inside the refrigerator, they will preserve better if they are dry. Explore more in my post, “How Long Can You Store Microgreens at Home?
Can I grow basil microgreens at home?
Absolutely! Basil microgreens are relatively easy to grow at home. You only need a tray, soil or a hydroponic medium, basil seeds, and a light source. Follow a trusted guide, like “The Easy Guide: How To Grow Microgreens At Home,” or use a microgreen starter kit to ensure optimal growth and yield.
How long does it take to grow basil microgreens?
Basil microgreens typically take 12-15 days to grow from seed to harvest. This can vary slightly depending on your growing conditions. Explore more in my post, “The 9 Most Nutritious Microgreens You Can Grow at Home.”
If you want more in-depth information, contact Andrew Neves at [email protected].
I hope you found this guide on the nutritional benefits of basil microgreens informative and inspiring. If you did, I’d love to hear from you! Send me an email sharing your thoughts or any experiences with basil microgreens. Remember to share this post with your friends and family on social media – they might find it interesting too!
If you want to stay updated on more posts like this, consider signing up for our newsletter. And if you’re interested in other microgreens, check out our other posts. Start your journey with basil microgreens today and reap the benefits of this nutritional powerhouse!
- For a wealth of knowledge, read the post “The Beginner’s Nutritional Guide to Incredible Microgreens” to explore more about microgreens.
- Discover how to grow microgreens. Read this post, “Beyond the Windowsill: Growing Microgreens on Your Balcony or Patio.“
- Interested in the business side? “Harnessing Technology for a Greener Future: A Guide for Microgreens Entrepreneurs.”
- Bulgari, Roberta, et al. “Yield and Quality of Basil, Swiss Chard, and Rocket Microgreens Grown in a Hydroponic System.” New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science, vol. 45, no. 2, 24 Nov. 2016, pp. 119–129, https://doi.org/10.1080/01140671.2016.1259642.
- Bulgari R, Negri M, Santoro P, Ferrante A. Quality Evaluation of Indoor-Grown Microgreens Cultivated on Three Different Substrates. Horticulturae. 2021; 7(5):96. https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7050096
- Vaštakaitė, Viktorija, et al. “The effect of UV-A supplemental lighting on antioxidant properties of Ocimum basilicum L. microgreens in greenhouse.” Proceedings of the 7th international scientific conference rural development. 2015. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Viktorija-Vastakaite-Kairiene/publication/292527252_THE_EFFECT_OF_UV-A_SUPPLEMENTAL_LIGHTING_ON_ANTIOXIDANT_PROPERTIES_OF_OCIMUM_BASILICUM_L_MICROGREENS_IN_GREENHOUSE/links/56af1a9008ae28588c62cc21/THE-EFFECT-OF-UV-A-SUPPLEMENTAL-LIGHTING-ON-ANTIOXIDANT-PROPERTIES-OF-OCIMUM-BASILICUM-L-MICROGREENS-IN-GREENHOUSE.pdf
- Vaštakaitė, V., Viršilė, A., Brazaitytė, A., Samuolienė, G., Miliauskienė, J., Jankauskienė, J. and Duchovskis, P. (2018). Pulsed LED light increases the phytochemical level of basil microgreens. Acta Hortic. 1227, 579-584. DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1227.73. https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1227.73
- Basil – Ocimum Basilicum | Washington College. Www.washcoll.edu, www.washcoll.edu/learn-by-doing/food/plants/lamiaceae/ocimum-basilicum.php.
- FoodData Central” Basil, Fresh. Fdc.nal.usda.gov, https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172232/nutrients.
- Puccinelli, Martina, et al. “Production of Selenium‐Biofortified Microgreens from Selenium‐Enriched Seeds of Basil.” Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, vol. 99, no. 12, 25 June 2019, pp. 5601–5605, https://doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.9826. Accessed 10 Apr. 2020.
- Christofi, Aristi, et al. “Determining the Nutrient Content of Hydroponically-Cultivated Microgreens with Immersible Silicon Photonic Sensors: A Preliminary Feasibility Study.” Sensors, vol. 23, no. 13, 1 Jan. 2023, p. 5937, www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/23/13/5937, https://doi.org/10.3390/s23135937. Accessed 11 July 2023.
- Rusu, Teodor, et al. “Overview of Multiple Applications of Basil Species and Cultivars and the Effects of Production Environmental Parameters on Yields and Secondary Metabolites in Hydroponic Systems.” Sustainability, vol. 13, no. 20, 1 Jan. 2021, p. 11332, www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/13/20/11332, https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011332.
- Bhornchai Harakotr, et al. “Effects of Light-Emitting Diode Light Irradiance Levels on Yield, Antioxidants and Antioxidant Capacities of Indigenous Vegetable Microgreens.” Science & Technology Asia, 2019, pp. 59–66, https://ph02.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/SciTechAsia/article/view/206350. Accessed 11 July 2023.