A bowl of this brothy vegetable soup is perfect for an early-spring dinner. If you have pesto saved in the freezer from last summer, this is a great way to use it up, but a good-quality store-bought pesto also works well.
Slideshow: Best Vegetable Soups
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large leek, white and light green parts only, halved and thinly sliced
1 shallot, minced
1 large carrot, diced
Freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 garlic clove, minced
8 cups chicken stock
1 cup cooked white beans
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 cup diced zucchini
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cup mini shells, ditalini or other small pasta, cooked al dente
1/4 cup homemade or store-bought pesto
How to Make It
In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Add the leek, shallot and carrot, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the stock, white beans, salt, pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, zucchini and peas, and cook until those vegetables are just tender, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Stir in the pasta and pesto and serve immediately.
One serving: 297 cal, 8 gm fat, 1.3 gm sat fat, 42 gm carb, 8 gm fiber, 16 gm protein. Tip: Add 2 cups shredded chicken to this vegetarian soup for a heartier meal. Tip: Make your pesto from whatever leafy herbs you have in your garden or farmshare and use in a frittata, pasta or potato salad.
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