Today, Catholics around the world celebrate the feast day of St. Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great and Empress of the Roman Empire.
St. Helena is considered an important figure in the history of Christianity. According to ancient tradition, she went on a religious tour of Syria Palaestina and Jerusalem in her final years, where she discovered the True Cross. The Eastern Orthodox Church, Catholic Church, Oriental Orthodox Churches, and Anglican Communion revere her as a saint, and the Lutheran Church commemorates her. (Read: 3 Traditional Irish Dishes for St. Patrick’s Day)
Tradition also says that sweet basil grew all over the hillside where she discovered the Holy Cross on which the Lord died. So, if you are planning to celebrate her feast day, it would be best to remember her holiness by preparing dishes with basil and other greens! Here are some recipes to get you started.
Basil Dishes for St. Helena’s Feast Day: Pesto
Serve something hearty and delicious like pesto! A cookbook called A Continual Feast suggests serving pesto made with basil during feast days. The author, Evelyn Vitz, said that “with this dish, you can keep the spirit of the day as one of abstinence from meat and still serve something delicious and symbolic.” Make pesto healthier by adding more greens and flavor using fresh basil. It is very easy to cook as it only requires basil, pine nuts, cheese, and seasonings! Get the recipe here. (Read: A Lesson From St. Lawrence: The Importance of Sharing Food)
Basil Dishes for St. Helena’s Feast Day: Tomato basil mozzarella salad
Whether it is for an appetizer or main dish, salad is always a great choice when it comes to healthy food! You can infuse it with any veggies, including herbs. So, it is not an exception in preparing dishes to commemorate St. Helena. Just alternate the tomatoes and slices of mozzarella, then sprinkle the minced basil. Get the recipe here.
Basil Dishes for St. Helena’s Feast Day: Thai basil fried rice
Don’t worry if you already have some dishes reserved for today, which don’t include basil. You can still prepare a dish that honors St. Helena’s feast day by cooking basil fried rice! Instead of the usual rice, opt for this healthier and tastier fried rice that has an aroma of fresh herbs. You can use whatever rice you have at home, but brown or Jasmine rice is better. Get the recipe here. (Read: 3 Easy Fried Rice Recipes From Aaron & Claire on YouTube)