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PointsPlus Spring Vegetable Soup with Pesto Recipe

PointsPlus Spring Vegetable Soup with Pesto Recipe

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  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 medium leeks, white and green parts only, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 64 ounces canned chicken broth
  • 1 cup zucchini
  • 1 cups green peas, fresh or frozen
  • 19 ounces canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • One 14 ½ ounce-can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 4 teaspoons store-bought pesto sauce or homemade pesto


Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat; add leeks, celery, carrots, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes.

Stir garlic into pot; cook for 1 minute. Add broth and increase heat to high, bringing it to a boil. Stir in zucchini, peas, beans, and tomatoes. Cook until flavors blend, about 10 minutes.

Serve soup with pesto, swirled into top.

The best part is this recipe is endlessly flexible. You can use fresh tortellini, which is available in the refrigerated section of the market where pasta sauces are sold, or frozen. Virtually any flavor variety will do, from cheese to spinach to mushroom.

If you can’t find tortellini, feel free to use fresh ravioli instead. Be sure to read the instructions, since the cooking time may differ.

What you’ll need to make Summer Vegetable Soup with pesto

It’s wonderfully quick and easy to make. Once your vegetables are chopped, the soup is done in 25 minutes. And if you don’t feel like making your own pesto, you can use a good quality store-bought brand (I like the fresh pesto at Whole Foods called “Mama’s Pesto”).


Heat oil and garlic in large saucepan over medium heat until garlic begins to sizzle. Continue cooking, turning garlic occasionally until pale golden and aromatic, about 2 minutes after it starts sizzling. Remove garlic with tongs and discard.

Add spring onions, carrots, celery, leeks, and fennel. Season with salt and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add stock and bay leaf bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until broth is flavorful and vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes. Stir in peas and zucchini, simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in pesto. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaf and serve immediately, or let cool and refrigerate. Microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes to reheat.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 cup dried navy or white beans, rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 2 medium leeks, diced and rinsed well
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 8 ounces Red Bliss or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 pound plum tomatoes, cubed
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 4 ounces green beans, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 small zucchini, cubed
  • 1 cup fresh shelled or thawed frozen peas
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Cover beans with 6 cups cold water in a large pot. Bring to a boil remove from heat. Let stand, covered, 1 hour.

Drain beans return to pot. Cover with 3 quarts cold water. Add bay leaf and thyme bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium simmer, partially covered, until beans are barely tender, about 2 hours.

Add leeks, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, broth, and 2 cups water. Simmer, partially covered, until the beans are tender, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Make pesto: Finely chop garlic in a food processor. Add basil process. Add cheese and oil process until combined.

Add green beans and zucchini to pot. Cook, uncovered, 20 minutes. Add peas cook until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Divide among bowls top each with 1 heaping teaspoon pesto.

PointsPlus Spring Vegetable Soup with Pesto Recipe - Recipes

Spring Vegetable Soup with Pesto
Source: Martha Stewart

For the Pesto:
2 cloves garlic
2C fresh basil
1/4C parmesan cheese (optional)
2T olive oil
salt, pepper

For the soup:
1 can white beans (navy or other), drained nad rinsed
1 bay leaf
1tsp fresh thyme, chopped finely
2 medium leeks, diced and rinsed
2 medium carrots, doced
1 medium potato (

8oz), peeled and cubed
1lb plum tomatoes, cubed
4C low-sodium veggie broth
4oz green beans, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 small zucchini, cubed
1C fresh or frozen peas

To make pesto: Add garlic, basil, cheese, and oil into food processor. Process until combined. Taste. Add salt and pepper if desired.

To make the soup: Bring 2C water and 4C broth to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add bayleaf and thyme. Add leeks, carrots, and tomatoes. Cook for 30 minutes, until veggies are tender. Add green beans and zucchini. Cook for 20 minutes. Add peas and cook for 5-10 minutes, until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaf. Garnish individual bowl with heaping spoonful of pesto.

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over low-medium heat and gently cook the onion, celery and garlic until soft.

2. Divide the asparagus, beans, sugar snap peas and peas into two separate bowls. Add half of the vegetables to the saucepan and cook for 3-4 minutes.

3. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes.

4. Blend the vegetables and stock with a stick blender. Add the risoni and cook, uncovered, for approximately 7 minutes (or 3 minutes less than the recommended cooking time on the packet instructions).

5. Add the remaining vegetables, cook for 3-4 minutes, then season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

6. Divide among warmed bowls and serve topped with the pesto.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium potato, peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup chopped broccoli
  • ½ cup frozen corn
  • ½ cup torn spinach
  • ½ cup chopped fresh mushrooms
  • ½ cup chopped carrots
  • ¼ cup chopped cabbage
  • 2 (32 fluid ounce) containers chicken broth
  • 6 ounces egg noodles
  • 1 cup canned white beans

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat, and cook the onion and garlic until tender. Mix in potato, broccoli, corn, spinach, mushrooms, carrots, and cabbage. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer 20 minutes, until potato is tender.

Stir egg noodles and white beans into the pot, and continue cooking 7 minutes, or until noodles are tender and beans are heated through.

  • Make it spicy: While sauteing the onions, garlic, carrots, and celery add some red pepper flakes. You could also add some diced jalapenos.
  • Try new veggies: This soup can be made with any vegetables you like or have on hand. Just pay attention to cooking time. Quick cooking veggies should be added later so they don't get too soft.
  • Add protein: To make this soup more filling, consider adding some protein. Consider using chickpeas, lentils, or cannellini beans to keep it vegetarian. You could also add chicken breast, ground turkey, or shrimp and still have a delicious zero point soup. You could even add both! Just note you may need some extra broth.
  • More tomato flavor: For more tomato flavor, you have a couple of options. First, you can add extra tomato paste. That adds a rich tomato flavor. Another option is adding blended canned tomatoes. Lastly, you could use a tomato or tomato and chicken flavored bouillon cube.
  • Spices: To keep things simple, I opted to just use some Italian seasoning in this soup. If you prefer more kick, you can swap in any of your favorite spices or spice blends. Fresh herbs are also great.
  • Make it with tomato juice or v8: Some people like to swap in tomato juice or v8 for the chicken broth. You can use half and half or go with all juice.
  • Ranch or taco seasoning: Another way to pack in extra flavor is with store-bought ranch or taco seasoning. This is a popular trick for adding lots of extra flavor. Onion soup mix and vegetable soup mix works as well.

Vegetable soup is a great option to have in the freezer and it will keep for up to 6 months. Personally, I like to freeze my soup in individual servings to make it easy to grab and go meals. For the best results, make sure to let the soup cool completely before placing it in the freezer. These one cup soup "ice cube" trays are one of my favorites since you can freeze the portions and then pop them out of the silicone mold and place them in a plastic bag for easy storage.

  1. Place the onions, carrots, garlic, potatoes, summer squash, zucchini, and diced tomatoes into a large pot. Set aside the macaroni, the cannellini beans, the frozen lima beans, and green beans until needed.
  2. To the pot add the parmesan rind, if using, the bouquet garni, the cayenne pod, half the salt and 2 quarts of water, or enough to cover the vegetables by 1-inch. Bring to a boil over a medium high flame. Cover. Reduce the flame to medium low and simmer very gently for 45 minutes to an hour or until the vegetables are tender. The liquid should be barely bubbling.
  3. While the soup is cooking, prepare the Basil Pesto. Set aside.
  4. Remove the bouquet garni. Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the cannellini beans. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the macaroni. Cook the pasta until it is almost ‘al dente’, usually 10-12 minutes but check the package for timing. 5 minutes before the end of the pasta cooking time, and add the frozen lima beans and the green beans to the soup. By the time the pasta is ready, they will be too. Mash some of the cannellini beans against the pan to thicken the broth and taste for salt - it will probably need more. Let the soup sit for 5 minutes for the flavors to develop.
  5. Stir in the Basil Pesto. Serve immediately sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese.

Chef Tips

On a neutropenic diet, if you’ve made the pesto from scratch, let the soup cook for 2-3 minutes after you’ve stirred in the pesto. Jarred pesto can be stirred in as per recipe.

In the winter, or when I’m tired, I find it’s best to use a 14 oz can of diced Italian plum tomatoes instead of fresh, but at the height of the summer, when tomatoes are at their best, go for delicious, ripe, beefsteak or Roma tomatoes.

A bouquet garni is basically a bundle of herbs that is added to soups and stews to add flavor. They are particularly useful in vegetarian cooking. If you don’t have all the herbs, it’s not the end of the world. I often use just fresh parsley, bay leaf and dried rosemary. If you use cheesecloth for a wrapper, you could also add ½ teaspoon of whole black peppercorns.
To make a bouquet garni:
Lay 3 to 4 stems of flat leaf parsley together on a cutting board. On the leafy end, lay a bay leaf, a sprig of fresh thyme, a couple of sage leaves and a small sprig of fresh rosemary.
Roll the leaves together so that they end up wrapped in the parsley stems. Wrap in cheesecloth or tie with kitchen twine to secure the bundle. That’s it.

Registered Dietitian Approved

All our recipes are created by chefs and reviewed by our oncology-trained staff Registered Dietitian, Kate Ueland, MS, RD, to ensure that each is backed with scientific evidence and meets the standards set by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.