Inspiration from Meghan

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Lemon Basil Pesto



If you missed the first part of the story, you can read part 1 here . And if you have no interest, skooch down to check out my Lemon Basil Pesto Recipe

We left off with Erik Carvhalo feeding me the grand cheddar of lines that could only earn a farewell smooch when delivered with a foreign accent.

Erik Cravhalo went off into the sunrise that early Sunday morning to catch his train back to Italy.

A month later, after much adventure around Spain and Portugal, I was hearing rumours of a train strike and so decided to get myself straight over to Italy to commence the Italian leg of the journey. I got as far as Nice when the strike was announced. I looked up at the train schedule and there was just one train that wasn’t sold out. It was to Turin. Hmmm… what could I do in Turin? It hadn’t been on my list of stops but like an Italian smooch in Spain, it hit me. I pulled out my notebook and flipped to the page where Erik Carvhalo had written his contact details.

Sure enough! It was too early to call so I decided to get on the train and hope for the best. When I arrived in Turin, it was mid afternoon. Inserting my lira into the slots of the payphone, I dialed his number.

Ring ring. Ring ring. “Pronto”. This is what Italian’s say when they answer their phone.

“Ciao Erik!” I said. “Meghan. Turin. Estacio train. Pronto!” Languages were never my thing.

Less than an hour later, I found myself in Erik Carvhalo’s battered old BMW. It turned out that Erik Carvhalo, who was well into his 20’s, shared a bedroom with his older brother and lived with his parents.

In the three days I spent in Turin, there was much I learned about Italy, Erik Carvhalo and holiday romances. First, there was no basil to be found anywhere. Second, within moments of entering Erik Carvhalo’s apartment, off came the Diesel jeans as he slipped into something more comfortable, a nylon track suit and leather slippers.  Third, he had a penchant for leopard print briefs and gold chains.

Apparently, at 5:30 am after a night of dancing to Ricki Martin, it is easy to be blinded by sangria goggles.

We went for walks, ate Boccio flavoured gelato (think Nutella in ice cream form), looked at buildings, drank with his friends and didn’t have a single conversation. Because I look Italian, Erik’s family and friends kept speaking to me in Italian, only louder than normal. My mom does this with people who don’t speak English. I can confirm right now, volume does not help translate a language.

It was a long three days and I felt a mild sense of relief when Erik Carvhalo took me back to the station to catch a to Milan. I waved out the window as the train pulled out of the station and Erik Cravhalo never heard from me again. And in my three days in Turin, I never once ate a single thing with basil in it.

To make up for it, I have been indulging ever since (in basil, not Italian men). Here is my latest basil creation.

Lemon Basil Pesto

by Meghan Telpner

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: None

Keywords: blender food processor condiment dairy-free gluten-free vegan vegetarian basil Italian


Ingredients (1 cup)

  • 1 Bunch of basil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbs tamari
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • salt and/or cayenne to taste


Blend all ingredients together in a food processor or Vitamix.

If you don’t have either, just chop everything up and finely as you can and mix together.

Serve as a dip with veggies, over a pasta, rice, quinoa or fish dish.

Serve as a dip with veggies, over a pasta, rice, quinoa or fish dish, or smear over that hot Italian stallion and  savour. Now off to see if I can find a photo of the boy.

15 responses to “Lemon Basil Pesto”

  1. Michelle says:

    Lol! Stuck home with a sick toddler and teething baby…. I needed a giggle this morning. That is a great story. An awkward three days for you, but a good story! Will try the pesto too!

  2. The Veg Next Door says:

    Yup. That sums up Italian men. Great story and the basil looks great.

  3. Ashley says:

    Meghan you make me giggle. Great Friday morning story and yummy sounding pesto!

  4. Sharon L says:

    I love your little Italy story…I wish I had one that I could tell….

    Maybe next time when I venture off there!

    I will definitely try your pesto and pretend I’m there hehe.

  5. Alyssa says:

    Meghan, you are too much, i love little travel stories such as this, and relating them to food is that much better!

  6. Ricki says:

    Great story! Yes, Ricky Martin will do that to ya. . . Glad you weren’t turned off basil, though. ;)

  7. Briony says:

    Hi Meghan! Love your recipe-in-a-story-style. Exciting news is that we have a new healthfood store in St Lucia, and tonight I cooked up some sprouted grain penne pasta – your pesto would have been the perfect companion. Silly to get so excited about such things, but you understand! A novelty for this little island. Do you know how they make sprouted grains into flour?

    Great to hear you’ll be running a retreat here.

    Treated someone who is about to move to Toronto – I’m giving her your details…she needs you!

    Lots of love, Brionyx

  8. mariposagirl says:

    awwww poor Erik…never a word again???

    totally love the story. You should do more food and a story! Love it!

    happy Saturday

  9. Meghan Telpner says:

    Mairposagirl… I sure will, and actually, I have been a doing a lot more writing than goes on to my blog. I am working on my book which is just that. My agent calls it a foodoir… Memoir+Cookbook. Hopefully to sell to a publisher this fall.

  10. Jes says:

    Ahhhhhhh tracksuits. And the pesto looks fabulous!

  11. Taryn says:

    Tracksuits, leopard print briefs, gold chains? Oh my!

    Ricki Martin is stuck in my head now, some really questionable music became cool in the 90s, that’s for sure.

    Meghan, how much do you figure your bunch of basil was equivalent to? My basil came this week from a big ol’ bag from the farmers market.

  12. Erin says:

    I just made this – it is delicious!

  13. Jennifer says:

    I LOVED that story!! Thank you for the chuckle. It stirred up all sorts of memories from my world travels.

  14. Simple Pizza for Simple Living | Meghan Telpner Nutritionista says:

    […] Lemon Basil Pesto […]

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