Vegetarian Provencal Soupe au Pistou

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.

Portrait image of a spoon or soupe au pistou taken from a a bowl with a drip of broth

Pistou Soup.

This traditional soup form the South of France really is often defined by whatever is good in my vegetable plot.

But you do not need a vegetable plot to cook this recipe!

Any old vegetables cooked in a light neutral vegetable broth are a great base.

But the real start of the soup is the Pistou, a French version of the much more well-known pesto.

It is a recipe that is classically vegetarian. If you wanted to turn it vegan you can swap out the cheese for a vegan equivalent.

Removing the lid on a steaming bowl of soup

What is the Difference Between Pesto and Pistou?

I make pesto a lot, with a lot of different things including wild garlic pesto and rocket pesto.

But just like the classic basil pesto featured in this pesto spaghetti recipe, pistou is made with basil.

Just like its Italian brethren it also features garlic and cheese.

Although that cheese is not always Parmesan, mimolette or gruyere is often mentioned in recipes from the region.

The key difference is the lack of pine nuts.

Which in many ways is sad because pine nuts are delicious, but also frightfully expensive. As a result of this omission, this soup is really easy on the wallet!

Portrait image of soupe au pistou served in a large glazed earthenware bowl with bread on the side

Change the Vegetables!

Seriously, I know I am running a recipe site but please do not hold to tight to these ingredients.

Use whatever is good and in season.

I tested this recipe at the end of summer and as a result have end of summer vegetables as ingredients.

Earlier in the year, I would add stuff like courgettes, fresh beans and broad beans.

The sort of thing that I add in my summer vegetable soup!

Later in the year, I add sweet potatoes and squash.

The simple rule is cook hard vegetables that take time to cook into a 5-7mm dice. Cut quicker cooking vegetables larger and cook them for less time.

Soupe au Pistou Recipe

Soupe au Pistou Recipe

Yield: 2 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Soupe au Pistou is a glorious vegetable based soup from the south of France and is much simpler than its fancy name portrays.

Ingredients

  • 100 g (3.5 oz) Carrot
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) Potato
  • 75 g (2.5 oz) Celery
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) Onion
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 200g (7 oz) Tomatoes
  • 500 ml (17 fl oz) Vegetable Stock
  • 50 g (1.75 oz)Small Pasta Shapes
  • 50 g (1.75 oz) Frozen Peas
  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • Salt to taste

For the Pistou

  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 35 g (1 oz) Basil Pesto
  • 30ml (1 fl oz) Olive Oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the stock for the soup in a small pan.
  2. Cut the carrot, potato, celery and onion into a 5-7mm dice.
  3. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat.
  4. Begin to defrost the frozen peas.
  5. Add the onion and fry for 10 minutes.
  6. Slice the garlic cloves for the soup as finely as you can.
  7. Cut a small cross 1cm x 1cm and 2mm deep in the base of the tomatoes.
  8. Drop them in the hot stock for 6o seconds, then remove and refresh in cold water.
  9. Peel the tomatoes.
  10. By now the onions should have had 10 minutes, add the sliced garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  11. Squeeze the tomatoes in your hands and add to the pan.
  12. Turn up the heat and fry for 10 minutes to cook off the water.
  13. Add the diced vegetables, thyme, bay leaf and the vegetable stock.
  14. Taste and add salt as required
  15. Add a lid to reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
  16. After 20 minutes remove the lid and add the pasta and cook until al dente.
  17. Throw in the peas and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  18. Whilst the soup is simmering place the ingredients for the pistou into a blender and blend to form an almost smooth sauce.
  19. Serve with the pistou on the side allowing the sauce to be stirred in by the diner.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 472Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 1475mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 7gSugar: 11gProtein: 9g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

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