Soupe au Pistou

16 Jul

I had intended to post two more recipes quite soon after my last post but things got in the way and I am behind again. Half the month is gone and before I know it, we’ll be going away again so I am forcing myself to write this and the next post quickly.

On the trail of southern French food after our recent visit, I decided one day to make a soupe au pistou. Usually, at the end of the week, I look into my refrigerator to see what’s left and throw everything that looks like its life is about to end, into a pot. This time, it looked like I had about everything to make an Italian minestrone. This soup appears quite often on the table, through lack of inspiration on my part to search for something else, and it’s also something I can do with my eyes closed. While flipping through my French cookbook La Cuisine Francaise for another recipe, I noticed the soupe au pistou. I’ve looked at this  a couple of times and written it off as ‘minestrone with pesto sauce on top’, which it actually is but this time around, I remembered the pot of fresh basil sitting on the kitchen counter, waiting to be plucked. I didn’t have the celery, lima beans and potatoes the recipe called for but lima beans and potatoes are carbs anyway and just like a minestrone, one can substitute veggies without substantially altering the outcome. To my surprise, it came out really nice and actually tasted different from minestrone. The pesto made the difference. So here is my version and of course, you can be flexible with the veggies. It’s the pesto that’s important.

Please excuse the poor photos. They don’t do justice to the soup!

Soupe au Pistou

(serves 4)


For the soup

1 small leek, sliced into rings

1 carrot, cut into little cubes

1 small zucchini, cut into little cubes

60gr green beans cut into 2 cm lengths

60 gr green peas

100gr broccoli or cauliflower, cut into small florets and cut the stems into cubes like the carrots and zucchini

a handful of spinach leaves

1 large tomato, cut into cubes

4 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth or water

1 Tbsp herbes de Provence (or just mix rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram)

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic. finely chopped

1 Tbsp olive oil

salt, pepper

For the pistou

1 clove garlic, peeled

1/2 bunch fresh basil

2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

First make the pistou – the pesto. Beforehand, pluck the basil leaves, rinse them and pat dry with a paper kitchen towel. Put them together with all the other ingredients in a mixer and purée till it becomes a paste. If the paste is too dry, add a bit more olive oil and if it is the liquid, add more basil leaves and parmesan. The pesto shouldn’t be runny.

Now on to the soup.

Heat the olive oil in a pot. Add the onions and brown. Next add the carrots and garlic and cook 3-4 minutes. Then add all the other veggies, herbes de provence and broth. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer gently for about 10 min or till the veggies are cooked. Adjust the seasoning, dish out into bowls, top with a dollop of pistou, garnish with a basil leaf and serve.

Nutritional Facts – I haven’t calculated this because quantities and type of veggies can be varied.

Print this recipe – Soupe au Pistou

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: