Soupe au Pistou

Kitchen Tested
  • Yield 8 to 10 servings
  • Prep 5 mins
  • Cook 37 mins

A light vegetable soup with a basil flavor.

This French soup requires a lot of chopping, but once that's done, it's no-fuss. Perfect with crusty bread, it's similar to minestrone but not as heavy and quite fresh tasting. Pistou is the French version of Italian pesto.


2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
3 red potatoes, peeled and diced
2 carrots, diced
3 small zucchini, chopped
1 handful green beans, cut in thirds
1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
1 onion chopped
2 quarts water
1 teaspoon salt
Coarsely ground back pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves)
1 bay leaf
1 can (15-ounce) cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup small pasta-such as mini penne
1/2 cup basil pesto (preferably homemade)


  1. Combine first seven ingredients (tomatoes through onion) in a large stockpot. Add water, salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, covered.
  2. Add beans and peas. Cook 5 minutes. Add pasta, and cook 7 to 10 minutes, until pasta is done. Remove from heat and stir in pesto.
  3. Cover and let stand 10 minutes for flavors to meld. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and additional pesto if desired.

Recipe based on Anne Willan’s Soupe Au Pistou in The Country Cooking of France (Chronicle Books, 2007).



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