Soupe au Pistou Or Pesto

I just love a good vegetable soup. And I make vegetable soup in every season because you can eat it hot or cold. Yes you can! One of my favorite blogs (Food52) posted one of their Genius Recipes “Soupe au Pistou” by Jody Williams recently.  I looked at the recipe and remembered making a similar vegetable soup about three years ago after I finished reading the book “The Little Paris Bookshop”. Here is a link to that post and recipe: PISTOU TO YOU.

Pistou (to me) is just pesto. According to Wikipedia, “The key difference between pistou and pesto is the absence of pine nuts in pistou.” Okay, I can agree with that, moving on. 

The Food52 blog post goes on to talk about this soup being so versatile and adaptable – using whatever vegetables you have on hand or in the fridge. This time of year, for me, and perhaps for you, it’s using the vegetables that I have in the garden or abundant in the market. 

This soup includes hubby’s pride and joy, Scarlet Runner Beans that he grows every year. Also garlic, onions, tomatoes, zucchini, green beans, peas, and peppers from our garden, my homemade tomato paste, thyme, basil, and oregano. Whew! So the soup is almost free to make for us, except for all the money we invested in plants/seeds, good soil, watering, and fertilizing. (haha)

So while the fires were burning near us (early September 2020), emergency evacuations taking place, and smoke thicker than San Francisco fog all around us, I made vegetable soup. It soothed my soul and resulted in a nice meal that fed us for several nights. And it made enough in case anyone else needed/wanted some during this crisis. Freezes nicely too!

All the veggies except carrots are from our garden. 

Vegetable broth, tomatoes, and wine, blend together to give the soup a wonderfully flavored liquid base. 

And it’s soup! I mixed the pesto into the soup and sprinkled parmesan bread crumbs on top.

For another meal, I added Italian sausage and tomato poppers on top. The tomato poppers recipe is in the new tomato cookbook coming out in 2021. Oh sooo good!

Soupe au Pistou Or Pesto

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  • 3/4 cup dry beans (I used Scarlet Runner Beans or use your favorite variety)*
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups tomatoes, chopped (I used a variety [cherry, Oregon Spring, Heinz] or your favorite)
  • 1 1/2 cups zucchini, sliced or chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1 cup fresh green beans, trimmed and chopped (or substitute one can of green beans)
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced fine
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup white wine (red is okay)
  • 2 sprigs oregano
  • 4 leaves of basil
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional:
  • Pesto (mix into at finish or dollop on top of hot soup)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated (sprinkle on top when serving)
  • Parmesan bread crumbs (sprinkle on top when serving)
  • Cooked sausage slices


  1. Cover and soak dry beans overnight. The next day rinse beans in cold water and set aside.
  2. In a large soup pot, drizzle olive oil a few turns around and add all vegetables and herbs except the zucchini and tomatoes. Sauté until slightly softened.
  3. Add in the beans and the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil and then cover and lower to a simmer.
  4. Cook soup for 1-2 hours. Check occasionally to make sure that the liquid has not evaporated too much. If it has, add more vegetable broth or water.
  5. Stir in pesto before serving and top with parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Option: add cooked sausage slices for a heartier soups.


*Substitute one can of beans (drained and rinsed) for dry beans if you prefer.

Homemade pesto at: PESTO


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