Once you’ve got all the ingredients, this is an easy weeknight soup — and a treat for pesto lovers. What we love best about this recipe is that it’s perfect as is, but it’s also open to interpretation. We added artichoke hearts for a hint of tanginess, but you could add potatoes, jerusalem artichokes, or swirl in some cream. Go heavy on the herbs for a bright green soup or consider blending in the Swiss chard as well! Like we said, open to interpretation. Finally, choose a short pasta with ridges or shells to scoop up the thick soup with each bite.
Pesto Soup with Pasta, Beans, and Greens
Lightly adapted from Isa Chandra.
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1 small head cauliflower (about a pound), leaves removed, cut into florettes
- 1 7-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed (about 5 hearts)
- 4 cups vegetable broth, divided
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Lots of fresh black pepper
- 1 cup tightly packed basil leaves, plus a little extra for garnish
- 6 oz Community Grains whole grain fusilli (or other short pasta)
- 1 14-oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 small bunch Swiss chard, stems discarded, coarsely chopped
- 1 lemon, juiced
Optional garnishes: Grated parmesan cheese, toasted hazelnuts or pine nuts, red pepper flakes
- Set a pot of well-salted water over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Once boiling, add pasta and cook until just al dente (6 minutes for the fusilli). Drain immediately and cool down with cold water or over an ice bath. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, preheat a 4-quart stock pot over medium heat. Saute garlic in olive oil for about a minute, being careful not to let it burn. Add cauliflower and continue to saute on medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes, giving the cauliflower a hint of color at the edges.
- Add 4 cups of broth, artichoke hearts, salt, and several dashes fresh black pepper. Cover pot and bring to a boil, stirring every now and again for about 10 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender. Lower heat a bit so that the soup is at a slow boil. Add basil leaves, and remove from heat. Use a blender to puree until smooth. (Optional: Add ½ can of white beans to blender for a thicker soup). Taste for salt and seasoning.
- Return to the stove over medium heat. Add the greens and cook for about 3 minutes. Add pasta and beans and cook for another 2 minutes, until warmed through. Stir in the lemon juice and serve, garnished with chopped basil, a glug of good olive oil, freshly cracked pepper, and optional grated parmesan.