• The Whole-istic Life

Ham and Basil Pesto Rice

Updated: May 27, 2020

Basil leaves are used in a variety of food preparations.

In addition to the flavour, this herb is said to preserve and enhance the properties of the food.

From healthy gut to stronger immunity, benefits of basil leaves are quite a lot.

Here are some you may not have known:

  • Good For digestion

  • Anti-Inflammatory

  • Fights free radical activity

  • Good for skin appearance

  • Helps fight depression and stress (Basil Essential oil can also be helpful here)

  • Diabetes management and supports liver function

  • Helps an upset tummy and aids digestion

  • Aids in Fighting common colds

Herbs add colour and excitement to dishes. They transform the mundane into the extraordinary. Herbs can be used fresh or dried. Fresh herbs have the best flavour and appearance but dried herbs can be convenient. Herbs such as basil, dill, mint and parsley lose most of their flavour when dried.

We encourage you to purchase fresh Basil or even better, try growing your own in the right season.

Some Basil tips:

  • Buy fresh organic herbs to avoid pesticide exposure

  •   Fresh Basil should be brightly, consistently coloured with no brown spots

  •   Fresh Basil should smell robust, not mouldy. Grab a handful of fresh herbs—they should stand on their own, not be limp. (Reader's Digest, 2014)

  • Bunched basil can be stood in a glass of water and stored in the refrigerator to last longer.

To make a simple pesto, blend a large bunch of fresh basil, 2 cloves garlic, a large handful of pine nuts and olive oil until smooth.


1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Brown Onion

200g Smoked Ham (optional, can be left out for vegan/vegetarian)

200g Green Beans

2 Zuchinni's

2 Cloves garlic

1 Lemon

25g Parmesan (Optional)

20g Butter or Nutelex

2 Cups Basmati Rice

1-2 cubes Vegetable Stock

200g Basil Pesto (See above comment for quick and easy basil pesto)


  1. Finely chop the brown onion. Roughly chop Ham into 2cm pieces. Trim the green beans and slice into thirds. Cut the zucchini into 1cm chunks. Finely chop the garlic (or use a garlic press). Slice the lemon into wedges.

  2. Heat a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Melt the butter with a drizzle of olive oil. Add the onion and ham and cook, stirring, until the onion has softened and the ham is starting to brown, 6-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

  3. Add the basmati rice to the pan and stir to coat. Add the warm water, crumble in the stock and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid (or foil) and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the rice is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed, 16-20 minutes. Season with a pinch of pepper.

  4. When the rice has 5 minutes cook time remaining, add the green beans, zucchini and a pinch of pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until , 4-5 minutes.

  5. When the rice is ready, stir through the pesto. TIP: If any rice has stuck to the bottom of the pan, scrape it off and stir it through for extra flavour!

  6. Divide the ham and basil pesto rice pilaf between plates. Top with the grated Parmesan cheese (optional). Serve with the lemon wedges.

Basic recipe Credit - Hello Fresh

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