Hearty Vegetable Soup with Lemon Pistou

We decided super last minute to go up to Yosemite last weekend when a friend invited us up to stay with them at their campsite. I’ve been pretty hesitant to go because I thought the crowds would ruin it for me, but I was not disappointed at all. It was one of my top California experiences to date. The views of the valley were epic! Half Dome and El Capitan were even more majestic in person and I still can’t wrap my mind around Alex Honnold’s ascent. The crowds were there, but mellower than they would have been a month ago. Overall we had a blast and I would highly recommend it, but maybe wait until September or October if you have the choice. 

Come Fall I make vegetable soup at least once a week. This recipe is a chunky, hearty version with white beans and kale. I roasted a chicken last night which I made into stock, and also made some pistou to top the soup at the very end.  Pistou is basically the same thing as pesto in that it is full of fresh basil and garlic, but it doesn’t contain any nuts. I also added lemon zest and lemon juice to the pistou which will really brighten up the soup and keep the pistou green so you can use it with your leftover soup if you have any. 

Have fun!

Yosemite Yosemite Yosemite 

Hearty Vegetable Soup with Lemon Pistou Hearty Vegetable Soup with Lemon Pistou Hearty Vegetable Soup with Lemon Pistou


Hearty Vegetable Soup with Lemon Pistou

Hearty Vegetable Soup with Lemon Pistou
Serves 5
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Total Time
45 min
Total Time
45 min
For Soup
  1. 2 Tbsp olive oil
  2. 1/2 white or yellow onion, diced
  3. 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  4. 2 celery stalks, chopped
  5. 2 garlic cloves chopped fine
  6. 1 russet potato, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  7. 1 bay leaf
  8. kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  9. 6 cups good stock
  10. 2 small zucchini, chopped
  11. 1 cup chopped fresh green beans
  12. 3 cups chopped kale
For Pistou
  1. 2 cups packed fresh basil
  2. 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  3. zest of one lemon
  4. juice of half lemon
  5. 1 garlic clove
  6. 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan
  7. 3 or so Tbsp olive oil, may need more
  8. kosher salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large stock pot, heat olive oil and start sweating onions, carrots and celery. Season with 1/2 tsp kosher salt and pepper, and add bay leaf.
  2. Cook mirepoix for 3 or so minutes, and then add potatoes and garlic. Cook for about 2 more minutes stirring occasionally. Add stock and bring to a boil.
  3. Meanwhile, make pistou (directions below).
  4. Simmer soup until carrots and potatoes are tender. Remove from heat and add zucchini, green beans and kale. Stir together and cover. Let sit until vegetables are all tender. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
  5. Enjoy topped with pistou.
To Make Pistou
  1. Combine all ingredients except for olive oil in a food processor. With food processor running, add olive oil slowly. Scrape down sides and blend again, and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
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