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

| 2/22/2011 2:09:38 PM

R.WerstRamona 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. 

2-22-2011-lettuce leaf basil
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.