Cheesy Pesto Soup

Tomato Bread

So, in my last post on Mediterranean Tomato Bread I showed you this picture, right? A picture of beautiful, orange, cheesy bread. Exactly….

But what about that little bowl in the background? The one right next to the big Dutch oven? Yes, that chipped little bowl with soup in it!

As a matter of fact, that ain’t no ordinary bowl of soup! Just like this post ain’t no ordinary Tough Cookie post! I know I have been making desserts a lot. And cakes. And cookies. However, I have so many delicious savory recipes to share that I have decided that it is time to stir things up a bit. So, from now on, I will also post about savory dishes every now and then! To be honest, from the moment when I first started this blog, I have been meaning to post about savory stuff as well, but because I’m magically drawn to anything sweet, the better part of the first year of this blog has been about sugary things.

But this soup is just too good. Especially paired with the Tomato Bread!

If you fear vegetables, look away now, because this soup is loaded with veggies!

Cheesy Pesto Soup

Yes, this soup is actually good for you!

Say what???

Let me explain some soupy things to you first. I’ve called this soup ‘Cheesy Pesto Soup’, but it’s based on a recipe called ‘Soupe au Pistou’, which is French for Pesto Soup. Yes, I’ve added the cheese bit. Because I like things cheesy. Well, except actual cheese. I don’t like actual cheese. And with ‘actual cheese’ I mean Cheddar, Gouda, Emmentaler and such… 

I’m weird. I know…

But back to the soup. Soupe au Pistou or Cheesy Pesto Soup is basically a simple vegetable soup with a ton of vegetables (duh…) to which a huge dollop of garlicky, cheesy pesto is added. Fresh pesto, that is… Not the stuff you buy at the supermarket.

No no, this stuff is way more cheesy!

Cheesy Pesto Soup

The cheesy pesto is really the magic ingredient here. It turn the healthy, but kind of plain vegetable soup into a magic concoction that clears your sinuses, gives you a huge vitamin boost and ensures that no vampire will come near you for a couple of days!

Such a bonus…

Cheesy Pesto Soup

I’ve provided you with a recipe for the pesto, but you can easily adapt it to your own taste. I mean, it’s just blitzing a few ingredients together. Not exactly rocket science.

I’ve you like the pesto (and, consequently, the soup) a little more garlicky – for all I know you live next door to a vampire – just throw in a little more garlic! If you like the soup even cheesier – because you like cheese – throw in some more cheese! If you like green – because who doesn’t like green? – add some more basil!

Like I said: adaptable.

Just stir half of the pesto into the soup and spoon a nice little dollop onto the soup just before serving!

Oh, and save me the childish little jokes: we all know that’s pesto in there!

Cheesy Pesto Soup

Like the pesto, the soup is also very adaptable. I’ve used a combination of red onion, carrot, pumpkin, celery, leek and tomato in this soup, but the kinds of vegetables I throw in depends on the season. And yes – that means that this soup is also really good during spring, summer and fall!

Always great to have a recipe such as this one up your sleeve…

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is: use whatever vegetables you happen to have on hand or whatever vegetables are in season, because ‘in season’ usually means kind of cheap…

Cheesy Pesto Soup

So, my first savory recipe that doesn’t include baking!

Back with a new series on making dulce de leche (called: ‘Making Dulce de Leche’) next Tuesday! First up, the closed can method and a gorgeous dulce de leche cake!

But for now… Enjoy!

Cheesy Pesto Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6-8
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, sliced into thin rings
  • 1 leek, sliced into rings
  • 500g (about 1 pound) pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • half a big carrot, chopped
  • 4 to 5 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 10-cm (or 4-inch) sprig of rosemary
  • 3 big sage leaves
  • 5 5-cm (or 2-inch) sprigs of thyme
  • 10 10-cm (or 4-inch) sprigs of oregano
  • 2 liters (or 1 quarts) boiling vegetable stock
  • 1 400g (or 1 14 ounce) can of cannellini beans or white beans
  • 85ml (or ⅓ cup + 1 teaspoon) extra virgin olive oil
  • 75g (or 1 scant cup) of freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 fat cloves or garlic, minced
  • 20g (or about ¾ of an ounce) fresh basil leaves
  1. To a stock pot or Dutch oven, add the olive oil. Heat over medium-high heat until the oil is hot. Throw in the onions, leek, pumpkin, carrots and celery. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring, then cover with a lid, crank down the heat to low and allow to cook for 10 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, prep the tomatoes. Bring a large kettle of water to a boil and pour the water in a pan. Place the pan over high heat and bring the water to a rolling boil. With a sharp knife, cut a large x into the side of each tomato. Using a slotted spoon, carefully submerge the tomatoes in the boiling water. After about 30 seconds, or when the x on the side of the tomatoes starts to open up a bit, remove the tomatoes and submerge in cold water. Then gently peel off the skin, starting at the x. Cut each tomato in eight wedges and remove the seeds with a spoon or a knife. Cut each wedge into 3 to 5 pieces.
  3. Next, make a bouquet garni by gathering the rosemary, sage, thyme and oregano into a bunch and tying the bunch together with kitchen string.
  4. Add the tomatoes and the bouquet garni to the stock pot. Pour in the hot stock, cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 10 minutes. In the meantime, drain and rinse the beans.
  5. Next, make the pesto, or pistou. In the work bowl of a stick blender or in the bowl of a food processor, combine the extra virgin olive oil, the Parmesan cheese, the garlic and the basil. Blitz to a smooth, fragrant purée.
  6. Add the beans to the soup and simmer for another 5 minutes, then stir half of the cheesy pesto into the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste and spoon the soup onto plates or into serving bowls. Top with another spoonful of pesto and serve!


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