Vegetable Pistou

vegetable pistou recipe

Vegetable Pistou – A French vegetable soup topped with pesto and Parmesan cheese. Serve with crusty bread and a simple salad.

This vegetable pistou may not look like much, but I assure you, it is so flavorful. I needed a soup to bring to our school for a teacher luncheon that was completely vegetarian for Lent. I wanted to make something a little different and was having a hard time coming up with something. I asked my sister and without hesitation she recommended that I make this vegetable pistou soup from one of her favorite cookbooks, Country Cooking of France by Anne Willan. This book is gorgeous and will soon be on my book shelf. I am so glad that I took her advice because this soup was so delicious.

Pistou is the french equivalent of pesto. You add pistou to the bottom of the bowl and ladle the soup on top. You stir it together and it gives the soup a freshness that makes this soup really something special. Vegetable pistou is a french peasant soup, so use what you have in your fridge. I am sure that french grandmothers didn’t really measure how many green beans went into their soup, or didn’t make it because they didn’t have enough zucchini. Serve this soup with some crunchy french bread and you have a perfect spring meal.

I was making this soup for 20 people so the pictures do not match the quantities in the recipe.

vegetable pistou recipe1 leek, cleaned and thinly sliced
2 diced carrots
1 large onion
2 potatoes
3 zucchini diced
2 cups green beans chopped
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
a handful of flat leaf parsley
a handful of fresh thyme
a handful of fresh rosemary
2 quarts water
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 box ditalini pasta
salt and pepper

Pistou:

4 ounces fresh basil
6 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 cup Parmesan
3/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

vegetable pistou recipeI prepped all of my vegetables the night before. I put it all in the bowl and covered it with Stretch-Tite. I needed to serve it fairly early in the day and did not want to risk not having enough time, so I got every ready to go the night before. I probably could have made it the day before but didn’t want to risk having mealy potatoes or mush beans.

vegetable pistou recipeMake a bouquet garni with a piece of cheesecloth. Wrap the parsley, rosemary, and thyme in the cheesecloth and tie it.

vegetable pistou recipePut the leek, carrots, onion, potatoes, zucchini, green beans, beans, bouquet garni and tomatoes in a very large pot.

vegetable pistou recipeCover with 2 quarts of cold water.

vegetable pistou recipeBring the soup to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

vegetable pistou recipeAdd the frozen peas and cook for 5 minutes.

vegetable pistou recipeAdd the pasta and cook for another 10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked through. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

vegetable pistou recipeTo make the pistou, add the basil, garlic, and pine nuts to a food processor. Season with salt and pepper. Go easy on the salt because the cheese is salty. Pulse until it breaks down.

vegetable pistou recipe Add the Parmesan cheese. Pulse a few times.

vegetable pistou recipePour the olive oil through the funnel as the food processor is running.

vegetable pistou recipeCheck for seasoning. Put the pistou in a container and set aside until you are ready to serve the soup.

vegetable pistou recipeTo serve the soup, put a generous amount of pistou in the bottom of the soup bowl.

vegetable pistou recipePour the soup over the pistou and garnish with a little Parmesan cheese. I like to put a little drop of pistou on top as well for a little color. Serve with some crunchy french bread.

vegetable pistou

Vegetable Pistou

Yield: serves 6 to 8

French Vegetarian Pistou Soup - A vegetable soup with a fresh pesto for serving.

Ingredients

  • 1 leek, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 2 diced carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 potatoes
  • 3 zucchini diced
  • 2 cups green beans chopped
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 can cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
  • a handful of flat leaf parsley
  • a handful of fresh thyme
  • a handful of fresh rosemary
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 box ditalini pasta
  • salt and pepper

Pistou:

  • 4 ounces fresh basil
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup Parmesan
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Make a bouquet garni with a piece of cheesecloth. Wrap the parsley, rosemary, and thyme in the cheesecloth and tie it.
  2. Put the leek, carrots, onion, potatoes, zucchini, green beans, beans, bouquet garni and tomatoes in a very large pot.
  3. Cover with 2 quarts of cold water.
  4. Bring the soup to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add the frozen peas and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the pasta and cook for another 10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked through. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. To make the pistou, add the basil, garlic, and pine nuts to a food processor. Season with salt and pepper. Go easy on the salt because the cheese is salty. Pulse until it breaks down.
  8. Add the Parmesan cheese. Pulse a few times.
  9. Pour the olive oil through the funnel as the food processor is running.
  10. Check for seasoning. Put the pistou in a container and set aside until you are ready to serve the soup.
  11. To serve the soup, put a generous amount of pistou in the bottom of the soup bowl.
  12. Pour the soup over the pistou and garnish with a little Parmesan cheese. I like to put a little drop of pistou on top as well for a little color. Serve with some crunchy french bread.
Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0Total Fat: 0g
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Oh hey there!

Well, hello there! I’m Bree Hester, the Boston-based blogger and food photographer here at Baked Bree. Here you can get lots of weeknight meal inspiration, eat more plant-based meals, and still indulge in a decadent sweet treat. Baked Bree is a place where you will find great recipes and inspiration for your next family adventure.

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This Post Has 27 Comments

  1. Caroline @ chocolate and carrots

    What a colorful and hearty way to enjoy your vegetables! I love it! Thanks for the great recipe! πŸ˜€

    1. bakedbree

      you are welcome! the pesto sends it over the top.

  2. Rose D., Frenchtown, NJ

    Looks absolutely yummy…Can’t wait to try!

    1. bakedbree

      it is so good, I loved it.

  3. Amy Drinkie

    If I didn’t already have tonight’s manicotti assembled, this is what we’d have! For sure when the manicotti runs out, though…

    1. bakedbree

      umm.. manicotti….

  4. Melissa Vanni

    Looks awesome!

    1. bakedbree

      it is Melissa!

  5. Anne

    Dinner is served! I have everything I will need for this delicious dinner – yum!

    1. bakedbree

      Yeah! Impressed that you have that much veg in your house right now!

  6. emily @ the happy home

    i’ve been working for a food critic for over a year now, and i sooo much prefer the rusticity of this meal to the foofy things that he raves about! what a stunning dish.

    1. bakedbree

      me too, I want a rustic homey meal. That is why I love this book, it is casual french food.

  7. Sisters Running the Kitchen

    love pistou! I have a recipe for zucchini pistou pasta dish on my blog–its great! but this soup looks fantastic! so fresh and flavorful- good idea chopping the veggies the night before- i hate that tedious work! will be book marking this one…thanks πŸ˜‰

    1. bakedbree

      me too! I love this soup. Fresh and bright tasting.

  8. Sisters Running the Kitchen

    now that i think about it…i got that zucchini pistou recipe from YOU! hahahah so funny.

    1. bakedbree

      lol!

  9. Jessica

    When I first looked at the picture It almost looked like a minestrone soup. It looked so good I had to try and I made it for dinner tonight, and it sure is tasty.

    1. bakedbree

      thanks for sharing Jessica!

  10. Memoria

    What an interesting dish! I always thought pistou by definition did not include pine nuts. That is the main difference between pistou and pesto. I only know that because I don’t like nuts, and I’ve always wanted to try pistou. Anyway, thanks for this recipe. The soup looks so comforting!

    1. bakedbree

      Hello friend! I really don’t know to be honest, I got the recipe out of a french cookbook and it called for pine nuts. You can always leave them out, it will still be delicious!

  11. Jessica

    This is perfect! My daughter (inspired by a Blue’s Clues episode πŸ™‚ ) has been asking to make a vegetable soup. This looks like a very nice spring soup, too. Thanks for the book link, too. “Casual French” is always a good idea.

  12. Amanda

    This looks awesome! I will definitely try it soon, must buy more fresh veggies first πŸ™‚

    1. bakedbree

      it is a great way to get a lot of veggies in. I adore this soup.

  13. Luke E. Allis

    This is sooo good! I went to add some bacon, for some of the smokey flavour. Thanks!

  14. Jessica

    So Bree, I made this and – inspired by the rustic French, lol – adapted it to what I had in the pantry. Instead of using the fresh herbs – it kills me to admit this, esp on a FOOD blog – I used dried herbs and put them in a tea ball. (I just cannot get myself to buy herbs when for nearly the same price I can purchase a plant, shove it in the ground or a container, and enjoy the herbs year-round – we just moved or I’d have been out in my garden harvesting said herbs. *sad sigh*) I used Orzo pasta and store-bought pesto (no food processor πŸ™ ). Red potatoes instead of brown and two smallish leeks (and wish I would have done one more leek). Freshly grated Parmesan on the top, of course. Even with these changes, the soup is absolutely marvelous! My kiddo ate 2-3 bowls every meal we had it and I’ve got leftovers to freeze (hope the potatoes do okay). I may blog about this soup it was so good. Thanks SO much!

  15. Jess

    This was absolutely delicious! I also added a few tbsp of tomato paste to the soup, just to thicken it up a little bit. The pesto was an amazing addition – with homemade bread, it was a perfect meal. Thank you!

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