First of all, this soup rocks! It’s great for a crowd, but perfect as dinner for 1 or 2. It’s also a great light meal for a party, because it leaves room to have lots of other delicious things on the side. Plus…you can make extra and freeze the leftovers for 2 weeks (or 2 months) from now when you don’t feel like cooking but still need something amazing to eat.

Soup Au Pistou is typically served in the spring or summer in France, but I have always loved it in the fall. It’s certainly hearty enough to eat any time of year, and as you may already know, I’m a rule breaker!

I created this version by researching a handful of recipes and bringing out the best of what I found.

Check more Delicious soups here


1. Never Combine Pasta & Beans. No one needs that much starch. It bogs down your digestion, and it will only make you overly-full and tired. Same goes for pasta & potatoes, or beans & potatoes. Just…no.

2. If You Use Canned Tomatoes, Make Sure They Are BPA-Free. The canned tomato debacle has certainly been one of the toughest ‘food rules’ for me to follow. I never met a tomato I didn’t like, so you can imagine that only using fresh ones becomes a strain on both your wallet and your time. There are a few companies producing canned tomatoes without BPA in the liner: Pomi tomatoes in the tetra-pak & Muir Glen.

3. Use Dry Beans When Possible. Have you ever bought dried beans & made your own? You’ll be a convert as soon as you do. In addition to being quite a bit cheaper, buying dry beans and cooking them yourself gives you a few advantages that canned beans can’t offer. Not only can you control the sodium levels, adding less salt than you will find in the canned products, you will also get a lot more from your beans because canned food doesn’t have as much ‘qi’ as fresh food, or reconstituting dried foods. When you make them at home, I suggest cooking extra and freezing them in smaller portions.


3-5 cups cooked Cannelini Beans (large white beans)

1 large Onion, chopped

1 medium head of Fennel, chopped

2-4 ribs Organic Celery, chopped

2 cloves Garlic, minced

3-5 Carrots, sliced or chopped into cubes

1 can, or 2 cups fresh, chopped Tomatoes with juice

2-3 Zucchini, chopped into cubes

2 cups Green Beans, cut in 1-1/2″ pieces

1 bundle fresh Chard

1 bundle fresh Thyme

Vegetable or Chicken stock

Olive Oil & 2 Tbsp. Butter

Salt & Pepper



Large box or bundle of Fresh Basil

1/2-3/4 cup Toasted Pine Nuts (Pignoli)

About 1/2-3/4 cup Olive Oil

5-8 cloves Garlic

Salt & Pepper


Sauté Onions, Fennel & Celery in 2 Tbsp. Butter mixed with 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil. Once the onions begin to look translucent, add the Minced Garlic and Carrots and sauté for another few minutes. Add White Beans, 1/4 cup of minced Thyme, chopped Tomatoes and enough broth to cover the ingredients by 3″, or so. I used 2 boxes of organic vegetable stock from Trader Joe’s. If you are using homemade stock, this will be about 10 cups. Remember that the beans will soak up a lot of the liquid, so you will need more than you think.

Bring this to a soft boil, then reduce heat to a simmer–small bubbles & steam, but not boiling. Add salt & pepper to your liking. about 15 minutes, Simmer till the carrots are tender. Add the Green Beans and continue to simmer until they are tender. Add Zucchini, simmering for about 3 more minutes, then add chopped Chard and turn off the heat. Cover the soup pot, and allow to rest for about 20 minutes.


Remove all Basil leaves from the stems and put into a blender or food processor. Add toasted Pine Nuts, salt & pepper, peeled Garlic Cloves and Olive Oil. Purée for 30 seconds to 1 minute. There is basically no such thing as ‘too much pesto’ in your house, so if basil is on sale, buy a lot. You can freeze the extra in ice cube trays, if you have any left–but you probably won’t.


Taste the soup and adjust salt, pepper & thyme levels to your preference. I usually like a lot of pepper & fresh herbs in my soups. Adding fresh herbs at the beginning AND the end is important, so make sure to save enough for the end. Add 1-2 Tbsp. of the fresh Pesto to the soup and stir.

Serve with 1 big dollop of the Pesto on top of each serving.



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