Summer Vegetable Soup with Carrot Top-Pumpkin Seed Pistou

Food stylist and author Susan Spungen loves buying produce at the farms near her home in East Hampton, and this soup is inspired by that produce. Make the recipe your own by varying the vegetables as the seasons change. The pesto is a delicious way to use those frilly—and tasty—carrot tops that usually end up in the compost bin. Slideshow:  Summer Vegetable Recipes 

Summer Vegetable Soup with Carrot Top-Pumpkin Seed Pistou
Photo: © Johnny Miller
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs 45 mins



  • 1 cup dried cranberry beans, soaked overnight and drained

  • 1 garlic clove

  • Kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped

  • 5 medium carrots with leafy tops, carrots sliced 1/4 inch thick, 2 cups of the tops reserved

  • 1 medium leek, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick

  • 1 small bulb fennel, halved lengthwise, cored and finely chopped

  • 1 celery rib, thinly sliced

  • 1 quart chicken stock

  • 3 plum tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped

  • 1 thyme sprig

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 4 ounces green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths

  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice

  • 1/4 cup dried ditalini pasta, cooked until just al dente

  • Pepper


  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped

  • Reserved 2 cups of carrot tops

  • 1/2 cup packed parsley leaves

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper


Make the Soup

  1. In a medium saucepan, cover the beans with 4 cups of water, add the garlic and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover partially and simmer the beans until tender, about 45 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and let the beans cool in their liquid; discard the garlic.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the carrots, leek, fennel and celery and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, thyme, bay leaf and 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover partially and simmer until vegetables are tender, 25 minutes.

Make the Pistou

  1. In a small skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add the pumpkin seeds and garlic and cook over moderately high heat until the seeds turn light brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape the contents of the skillet into a food processor and let cool. Add the carrot tops, parsley, cheese and remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil and process until smooth. Season the pistou with salt and pepper.

  2. Add the green beans and zucchini to the soup and simmer until crisp-tender. Stir in the ditalini and cooked beans with their liquid and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the soup with the pistou.

Make Ahead

The recipe can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated overnight.

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