Love Your Basil: Real Texas Tomato Jalapeño Pie with Lettuce Leaf Basil

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Ramona Werst has a love for growing and cooking with basil. Currently, she has more than 30 varieties in her collection and she is adding to it all the time. She creates basil-infused recipes and would love to teach you how to Love Your Basil! Visit her blog ( to download her free e-book, Love Your Basil

Real Texas Tomato Jalapeño Pie with Lettuce Leaf Basil is so easy to make, but from the compliments you will receive you will think you had been in the kitchen for hours. For Valentine’s Day, I wanted to come up with a recipe that was heart-healthy, delicious and easy to make. You can add other ingredients including meats or vegetables. 

Lettuce leaf basil is often used as a wrapper stuffed with cheeses and appetizers.
Photo by oceandesetoiles/Courtesy

Lettuce leaf basil has large leaves and is milder than sweet basil. It is considered one of the oldest basil varieties and as such, cooks have developed many good uses for this classic basil. Cooks and chefs use it directly in a salad or for pesto, and they use the larger leaves as wrappers stuffed with cheeses and appetizers. The lettuce leaf basil itself is a compact looking plant, but the leaves can be fairly large (as much as 4-inches wide by 6-inches long). Also, since its leaves are large, lettuce leaf basil is sometimes used in place of lettuce in sandwiches. A large Italian variety is also used for pesto and in basil oil.

You can substitute this basil for any basil your recipe calls for if you are just wanting a mild flavor. Lettuce leaf basil is a fairly common variety and the leaves are flavorful in hot growing conditions. They can be used all summer long by simply taking care when pruning and harvesting the second set of leaves.

Give lettuce leaf basil a try this summer in a variety of ways. You’ll be glad you added a little lettuce leaf basil to the summer dishes you are preparing. You can also enjoy it all year round by growing it in container pots in your kitchen or greenhouse! That’s what I do. I love lettuce leaf basil because it’s easy to grow and is ready to harvest in just a few weeks.

This savory pie recipe is quick and easy, but packs a big taste.
Photo by David Werst

Real Texas Tomato Jalapeño Pie with Lettuce Leaf Basil
To see the how-to videos for creating this recipe, you can visit Real Texas Blog. Photo by David Werst.

• 9-inch pie crust, unbaked
• 1 cup loosely packed fresh lettuce leaf basil leaves
• 4 cloves garlic
• 2 cup package shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
• 1/2 cup mayonnaise
• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
• 1 package grape tomatoes, sliced
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/4 cup minced jalapeños
• 1/4 cup chopped pecans
• Basil, for garnish


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Take a pie crust and crimp the edge. Place aluminum foil strips and lightly crimp it around the edge.

3. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the bottom is just slightly golden brown.


4. Wash the basil leaves. Remove the leaves from the stem.

5. Place the basil in a food processor and add garlic cloves. Process to a coarse texture.


6. Mix 1 cup of mozzarella cheese with mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese and white pepper. Stir the mixture and set it aside.


7. Take the pie crust out of the oven. Sprinkle the other half of the mozzarella cheese in the bottom of the pie crust while it’s still hot.

8. Cut the grape tomatoes into thin slices. You can slice them in half but I like it much thinner. Arrange these over the mozzarella cheese.

9. Sprinkle salt and jalapeños over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the garlic and basil mixture over the tomatoes and jalapeños.

10. Use your fingers for the mayonnaise so you can crumble it all over the top of the tomatoes.

11. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of the cheese mixture.

12. Place the pie in the oven. Cook at 375 degrees for approximately 40 to 50 minutes. Take off the aluminum foil ring and let your crust bake golden brown for the last 5 minutes. The pie needs to be bubbly.

I’m Ramona Werst, teaching you to Love Your Basil

Please visit my Facebook Fan Page; if you click on the ‘Like’ button you will be entered in the drawing for nine different Free Basil seed packets.

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