Pesto Vegetable Soup



Published by Harmony Books

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Although you may not think of soup in the summer, this one’s delightful as light fare on a cool summer’s eve. It’s stocked with lots of fresh vegetables and redolent of fresh basil. Just add a crusty bread to complete the meal.

NotesClassic pesto:

Pesto gets its name from the Italian pestare, meaning to pound. Long before the arrival of food processors, Italian cooks were pounding together fresh basil, garlic, pignoli, and olive oil to toss with their homemade pasta. Many people feel that the processor-chopped version will never match the flavor of the original.To make pesto, for each serving, pound 1 garlic clove and ¼ teaspoon salt in a large mortar with pestle until it makes a paste. Add 1 cup chopped fresh basil, ½ cup chopped fresh parsley, and, if desired, 1 tablespoon pignoli or chopped walnuts. Pound together, gradually adding 1/1 cup flavorful olive oil until a smooth sauce forms. Stir in 2 to 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired but not necessary. To serve, stir in a tablespoonful of pasta cooking water and toss with 8 ounces dried pasta, cooked and drained.

8 to 10 servings



Total Timeunder 2 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Courseappetizer, main course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Mealdinner, lunch

Type of Dishsoup


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 carrots, chopped (about ½ cups)
  • 1 medium zucchini, chunked (about 1 cup)
  • 1 medium yellow squash, chunked (about 1 cup)
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 cups cooked white beans, drained
  • 3 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (about 2 cups) or 2 cups drained canned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 to ½ cup fresh basil leaves, to taste
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup olive oil


  1. Heat the oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until golden, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Stir in the carrots, zucchini, and yellow squash. Then add the water, beans, tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 40 minutes.

  2. The recipe can be made ahead up to this point. Refrigerate until ready to continue.

  3. Meanwhile, make the pesto by pureeing the Parmesan, basil, and garlic in a food processor or blender. With the machine running, slowly add the oil until a paste forms.

  4. Stir half the pesto into the soup and remove from the heat. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve immediately, with the additional pesto.


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