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Paula Deen Cuts the Fat, 250 Favorite Recipes All Lightened Up, Exclusive: Pesto-Marinated Cod

By Paula Deen

In the summertime, my basil plants grow like weeds. When I see them starting to get a little out of control, I snip them right back and use the leaves I’ve collected to make up some pesto. I toss that pesto through pasta, slather it on bread, or use it to make a simple fish, like cod, sit up and sing. Delicious.


  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 cod fillets (6 ounces each)
  • Sliced lemons, for serving


  1. In a food processor or a blender, pulse the garlic, pine nuts, basil, parsley, and Parmesan until a thick paste has formed and the garlic and pine nuts are finely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and pulse again. With the processor running, add the oil in a thin stream and puree until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Slather the fillets with the pesto and let them marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 °F. Bring the fillets to room temperature. Place the fillets in a baking dish and roast for 15 minutes, or until the fish is no longer opaque and flakes easily. Serve with sliced lemons.

Serves 4

More about Paula Deen Cuts the Fat, 250 Recipes All Lightened Up

Paula Deen has lost over 40 pounds and has maintained her weight loss for over two years by swapping out ingredients to reduce fat and calories. Paula’s key to weight loss is moderation and accountability, and one day a week she still enjoys good old southern cooking with biscuits and all. One does not have to give up taste when reducing calories, and these recipes are a testament to that. Paula shares 250 of her favorite recipes lightened up. This brand-new, New York Times best selling cookbook presents lightened up versions of fifty of her classic southern recipes and presents new recipes that cut the calories but not the delicious taste.

The New-York Times Best-Selling cookbook, Paula Deen Cuts the Fat, 250 Favorite Recipes All Lightened Up, is now available now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Evine Live, Target, and your local bookstores!

Paula Deen - As a young girl growing up in Albany, Georgia, Paula Deen never dreamed she would become an American icon. As a young mother, Paula was living the American dream — married to her high school sweetheart and raising two adorable boys — when tragedy struck. Her parents died, her marriage failed and she began a prolonged battle with agoraphobia. With her boys in their teens and her family near homelessness, Paula took her last $200, reached deep inside her soul and started The Bag Lady, a home-based catering company that marked the start of Deen's professional cooking career. With sons Jamie and Bobby delivering lunch-and-love-in-a-bag, beginning in June 1989, Paula turned her life around by sharing what she knew best, traditional Southern cooking.