Soupe au Pistou is a glorious broth-based vegetable soup from the South of France that is seasoned with pistou, a French version of pesto.
This recipe is a rare dish on my site that does not serve 2, but it will last in the fridge for up to a week and it is a fantastic soup for lunch.
Vegetarian Provencal Pistou Soup
Soupe au pistou is a glorious naturally vegetarian soup form the south of France.
It’s essentially a broth-based soup that showcases the best veggies of the season and it was a dish that I would make endlessly when I grew my own veggies.
It kinda grew into my summer garden vegetable soup recipe, however the defining feature of pistou soup is the presence of the verdant green pistou.
Like many regional dishes there are many toes that you can step on, with vigorous advocates for different ingredients.
I prefer to keep mine simple, basil, olive oil, garlic, cheese and lots of black pepper.
Finally, the pistou is stirred in at the last minute by the diner and for me, never added to the soup, because as far as I am concerned, freshness is the key.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between pistou and pesto?
The key difference between the two is the lack of pine nuts (or indeed and nuts) in pesto.
Just like its Italian brethren, alongside basil, it also features garlic and cheese. Although that cheese is not always Parmesan, Mimolette or Gruyere is often mentioned in recipes from the region.
Can I change up the vegetables?
Yes absolutely, when I was an avid gardener everything and everything from the vegetable pot went into this soup.
Earlier in the year, I would add stuff like courgettes, fresh beans and broad beans, later in the year, I add sweet potatoes, parsnips or squash.
The simple rule is to add root vegetables or harder vegetables at the start because they need longer to cook.
Can I make this in advance?
Yes, this reheats wonderfully, I make this as a large batch soup and eat it over 3-4 days.
Cover the pistou with some cling film and it will sit in the fridge for a few days. You will need to add a splash of water and some more salt with each batch that you reheat because the pasta seems to suck up all the moisture.
What sort of pasta should I use?
I usually use whatever small pasta shapes that I have in the cupboard. I have used some small macaroni in this instance, another wonderful option is to break up some angel hair spaghetti into short lengths.
I’m not gonna be breaking any ground here, but I like to serve the soupe au pistou with some bread, imaginative hey?
I usually opt for some slices of French baguette.
Although if you really want to go to two on the garlic, then some cheesy garlic bread works wonderfully.
I only mention brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But, if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.
- 24cm or 10″ saucepan.
- Mini blender.
- Chopping board.
- Kitchen knife.
- Stirring and serving spoons.
- Sieve or colander.
- Weighing scales and or a combination of a measuring jug, cups and spoons.
Soupe au Pistou is a glorious vegetable based soup from the south of France and is much simpler than its fancy name portrays.
- 1 Medium (150g or 1 Cup) Onion
- 1 Stick (50g) Celery
- 1 Medium (125g) Carrot
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 Large Garlic Cloves
- 1 Medium (125g) Tomato
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 400g (14oz) Tin Cannellini Beans
- 1 Litre (4 Cups) Vegetable Stock
- ½ Tsp Black Pepper
- 75g (½ Cup) Small Pasta (I use Macaroni)
- 1 Small (150g) Courgette
- 100g (⅔ Cup) Green Beans
For the Pistou:
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 50g (1 Packed Cup) Basil Leaves
- 25g (¼ Cup) Parmesan Cheese
- 50ml (3 Tbsp + 1 Tsp) Olive Oil
- Generous of Pinch Black Pepper
- Peel and cut the onion into a 3-4mm (⅛") dice.
- Cut the celery sticks into a dice roughly the same size as the onions.
- Top and tail the carrot, cut it into quarters lengthways and then cut it into 1cm long lengths.
- Heat the olive oil in a 24cm or 10" saucepan over a medium-low heat, add the chopped onion, celery and carrot and give everything a stir.
- Bash the garlic cloves with the side of a knife, remove the paper and throw them in the pan, the cook everything for 10 minutes (stirring occasionally) without colouring the vegetables, if they begin to colour reduce the heat.
- Cut a shallow cross through the skin of the base of the tomato and place it in a bowl, pour over some boiling water and allow it to sit for 5-7 minutes. Then peel off the skin, roughly chop the tomato, and throw it into the pan with the vegetables.
- Throw in the thyme and bay leaf and turn the heat up to medium-high and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- Drain the beans and add them to the pan along with the vegetable stock, have a taste and as much salt as you see fit, and the black pepper. Simmer on low-medium for 10 minutes.
- Pour the pasta into the pan and cook for 3 minutes.
- Whilst the pasta is simmering cut the courgette into 1.5cm (½") chunks.
- Top and tail the green beans then cut them into 1.5cm (½") lengths.
- Add the green beans and courgettes to the soup and cook for another 7-10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked.
- Whilst the soup is finishing throw all of the ingredients for the pistou into a mini blender and blitz to a rough "paste".
- Serve the soup with the pistou on the side and allow the diner to stir it through the soup at the last minute.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 271Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 570mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 6gSugar: 5gProtein: 8g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.