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A northern Italian favorite. A simple sauce made from basil leaves.
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Chef Ryan Callahan
Author of Cooking for Chemo...and After! and Cooking for Kids with Cancer

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 ’80s and ’90s, which was captured in the iconic sitcom Seinfeld where George (paraphrased) says, “Ya know? I just don’t care for pesto.”

Tasting Guidelines:

  • This dish should taste clean.
  • The weight of this dish is light but can be balanced with Parmesan cheese.
  • The texture of this dish is saucy.
  • This dish 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
  • 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp. pine nuts (optional)

Recipe Directions:

Put all ingredients into a food processor and blend.

Chef Tips:

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

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Last modified: March 10, 2022

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