Pesto Recipe

Pesto Recipe

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: Taste is clean. Weight is light but can be balanced with Parmesan. Texture is saucy. Good for people with low to severe treatment side effects. Best categorized as northern Italian.
Prep Time10 mins
Course: Pasta, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: basil, italian, pasta, pesto
Servings: 6 people
Author: Chef Ryan Callahan
Cost: $10


  • Blender



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


  • 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.


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 regimen. Talk with your 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 . Have specific questions? Email us at

About the Author:

Chef Ryan Callahan is a 2x Gourmand World Cookbook Award Winning Chef. 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. He has dedicated his life to helping cancer fighters navigate the difficulty that eating related side-effect present to the cancer fighter.