Pesto Recipe for Cancer and Chemotherapy


Chef Ryan’s Pesto Recipe is perfect for metallic tastes, and hot days.

Pesto Recipe for Cancer and Chemotherapy

Ease of Preparation: Easy Recipe

Dish Description:
A northern Italian favorite. A simple sauce made from basil leaves. It is incredibly versatile and can be placed on anything that is of a lighter weight. Especially good with chicken. Pesto was huge in the 80’s and 90’s, which was captured in the iconic sitcom Seinfeld where George (paraphrased) says, “Ya know? I just don’t care for pesto.”

Tasting Guidelines:
The recipe should taste clean.
The weight of this recipe is light but can be balanced with Parmesan.
The texture of this recipe is saucy.
The recipe is good for people with low to severe treatment side effects.
This dish gives an emotional response of feeling clean and refreshed.
This dish is best categorized as northern Italian.

1 lb. fresh basil leaves
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
½ c. Parmesan
2 tbsp. pine nuts (optional)

Recipe Directions:
Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend. Check for a medium consistency. Adjust Parmesan and oil to get a perfect balance of thickness.

Chef Recipe Tips:
Pesto is actually a real nice, light sauce. It has a ton of uses. You can put it on pasta, sandwiches, toast, brush it on chicken, and even substitute it in any recipe that fresh basil is required. For example, in caprese salad, you can substitute pesto instead of fresh basil leaves and toss with balsamic vinegar instead of red wine vinaigrette for a change of pace.

Cooking for Chemo focuses on teaching you how to make your food taste good again during cancer and chemotherapy treatments. The flavor and cooking techniques contained within our easy to make recipes will help improve your quality of life as you go through cancer and chemotherapy treatments. Our cooking and flavor techniques can be integrated with any diet regimine. All of our recipes can be made with organic ingredients if you choose. Our holistic approach to cooking will help you not only be able to eat but to also enjoy the taste of your food again during and after cancer and chemotherapy treatments. We have many healthy recipes, crockpot recipes, chicken recipes, dinner recipes, shrimp recipes, pasta recipes, soup recipes, vegan recipes, salad recipes, vegetarian recipes, breakfast recipes, and even a great chili recipe. Talk with your oncologist and dietitian to come up with a quality nutrition plan. This site is not to be taken as or used instead of professional medical advice. Please consult your doctor, oncologist, and dietitian before starting any new diet.

This recipe is taken from Cooking for Chemo …and After! By Chef Ryan Callahan -The Cancer Chef. For more cooking for chemotherapy recipes like this, you can pick up a copy on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Have specific questions? Email us at

About the Author:

Chef Ryan Callahan is a classically trained chef with fifteen years of culinary experience. He is also the author of "Cooking for Chemo ...and After!" Chef Ryan acted as his mother's primary caregiver while she herself went through chemotherapy treatments.