Soupe au pistou |

Spring Soupe Au Pistou {French Vegetable Soup With Basil Paste}

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: french


How to make an early spring soupe au pistou {French vegetable soup}.


  • 8 ounces dried small white beans or cranberry (borlotti)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium leek, white and tender green parts only, cut into thin rings
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 34 cloves of garlic, peeled and quartered lengthwise
  • 1/2 lb winter squash (such as butternut, Hubbard, Kabocha, or Kuri) seeded, peeled, and diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cubed
  • 6 ounces (1/2 medium) rutabaga (or 6 ounces turnips or parsnips, peeled and cubed)
  • 1/2 small can (7 ounces) whole plum tomatoes in juice
  • Bouquet garni: several fresh bay leaves, several sprigs of thyme and parsley, tied securely with twine
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) of water
  • 1/2 head Savoy cabbage or bunch of kale (or combination), thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup capellini/angel hair or spaghetti, broken into small pieces
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 recipe Pistou (recipe to follow)

  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Soak the beans beans overnight. The next day, drain the beans. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large stockpot. When hot, add the the onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the leeks, onion, garlic, squash, carrots, rutabaga (turnips or parsnips), tomatoes, bouquet garni, and 1 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of black pepper, and saute another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the drained beans, stir to combine, and cook for 2 more minutes.
  5. Add 2 quarts (8 cups) of water, re-season with salt, and simmer gently, uncovered, until the beans are tender, about 1 hour (cooking time will vary according to the freshness of the beans).
  6. Taste for seasoning and re-season with salt and pepper.
  7. Add the kale and/or cabbage and cook a few more minutes, until just wilted.
  8. Add the pasta and boil until just al dente. Taste for seasoning.
  9. Serve hot, topped with pistou and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.
  10. For the mint-basil pistou: place the minced garlic, salt, and basil in the bowl of a food processor, and process to a paste. Add the oil and process again. Taste for seasoning. Stir again before serving.