Winter Soup au Pistou

butterfly Serves: 6-8

Written By Eydie Desser


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Soup au Pistou is a French Provencal vegetable soup, usually served in the late spring and early summer with  bountiful in-season vegetables (green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini and basil).  Pistou is the French term for the Italian Pesto, pounding and grinding basil, pine nuts, garlic and salt in a mortar & pestle. It is  said that this classic Provençal soup was created in the 18th century by a duchess in order to seduce a marquis. It’s Valentine’s Day and I wanted to woo my husband!  So I made a winter style Soup au pistou using flavorful in-season veggies along with a “winter” Pistou made with walnuts and parsley.  Watch out, this soup really works!


For the Winter Pistou:
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (1 tablespoon)
  • ½ peeled red onion finely diced
  • 20 sprigs of parsley, leaves only
  • 6 ounces chopped tomato, drained
  • 4 ounces roughly chopped walnut halves
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste
For the Soup:
  • 1 yellow onion (12 oz.), finely chopped
  • 1 small leek, white & light green parts, cleaned and thinly sliced ( ¼ cup)
  • 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced (¼ cup)
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced (1-1/2 tablespoons)
  • 1 medium sized orange fleshed sweet potato, peeled and diced to ½-inch (1 cup)
  • 1 small turnip, peeled and diced to ½-inch  (1 cup)
  • 2-3 medium sized carrots, cleaned and sliced in ¼”-inch rounds (1 cup)
  • 1 small parsnip, cleaned and sliced into ¼-inch rounds (¼ cup)
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced to ¼-inch pieces (¼ cup)
  • 14 ounces. (½ of the box) no salt chopped tomatoes, reserve remaining tomatoes  
  • 6 cups vegetable stock (link to house veggie stock)  (enough to cover vegetables by 2-inches)
  • 1-14 ounce can no salt added cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup sugar snap peas or snow peas, strings removed, cut in 1/2


Make the Winter Pistou:

Place all the ingredients, (except the lemon juice),  in a mortar & pestle and grind together to a paste.  Alternatively, place all the ingredients (except the onion as it will get watery) in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the mixture until thoroughly combined.  Add onion and pulse just a few times until incorporated.  Add lemon juice to taste.  Reserve.

Make the Soup:
  1. Heat a 5-quart pot over medium high heat for a couple of minutes or until hot.  Add onion, leek, fennel and garlic to the pot, and dry saute for 1 minute, lower the heat to medium low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until vegetables are starting to soften. If needed, add a little stock to prevent the vegetables from sticking to the pot.
  2. Add the diced sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnip, celery, tomatoes and stock. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through and are tender when pierced with a paring  knife.
  3. Add beans and sugar snap peas or snow peas and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes.
To Serve:

 Ladle soup into pretty bowls and place a large dollop of pistou on top.

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