Summer Vegetable Soup with Pesto
Summer Vegetable Soup with Pesto is filled with zucchini, corn, tricolor bell peppers, carrots, spinach, and white beans, and is topped with a dollop of pesto and grated parmesan. This is summer’s bounty in a bowl!
I just got back from a visit to Boston a few days ago, and it was a wonderful trip. My husband and I went without the kids, which was a special treat. It was nice and relaxing, with no agenda whatsoever. We’ve both been before, taken in a Red Sox game at Fenway, toured the Freedom Trail, took a riverboat cruise, etc., so this time we just did whatever. Crazily enough, we exercised too, because our idea of a good day is one that includes some form of activity. Who wouldn’t want to run along the Charles River? Ok, don’t answer that.
All I can say is I needed the exercise, because I ate my way through the city. 🙂 I normally don’t eat fried food, but when I see fried calamari on a menu, I have to have it. I had it twice. We spent a lot of time in Cambridge, and visited Grafton Street Pub and Grill, Cafe Crema, First Printer, and Russell Tavern. I would visit all of these restaurants again and again if I lived nearby!
I could seriously live in the North End, which is loaded with some of the best Italian restaurants and bakeries I’ve ever been to. At Trattoria Il Panino, you can get a huge fresh lobster dinner with handmade pasta and roasted cherry tomato sauce for $3o. That’s unheard of on the west coast! It just so happened that St. Anthony’s Feast was going on in the North End when we were there, as well as Restaurant Week, so it was very special for a food lover like me. Terramia Ristorante had a nice prix fixed menu for Restaurant Week, and every single thing we ate was delicious. Short rib ravioli, Ossobuco with sweet potato polenta…so delicious. The exercise really helped me, or I wouldn’t have been able to zip up my pants. 😉
I have to talk bakeries now. In the North End, Mike’s Pastries is famous and always crowded. They have everything you can imagine and more. I was completely overwhelmed, so much so that I left without getting anything. Crazy! It was just too crowded. Bova’s Bakery and Modern Pastry were delicious with smaller desserts that didn’t look like they would leave me feeling weighed down. Cookies, fruit tarts — whatever your heart desires! I hit Yogurt Park plenty, too.
The bottom line to all of this talk about my food adventures in Boston is that, as much as I loved the food, by the last day of my trip I was feeling weighed down and the need to get back to my normal eating routine. I needed to detox –and fast — so I made a big, giant pot of this summer vegetable soup. This soup is fresh, clean, and comforting, and was just what I needed to welcome myself back home.
Take whatever shortcuts you need for this soup. I cut some corn off the cob, but you could certainly use frozen corn to save some time. I didn’t have any of my Lemon Pesto Sauce made, so I used bottled. That pesto dollop is a must in this soup! Stir it all in, and get a big bite of vegetables with that fresh basil pesto flavor. Sprinkle the soup with grated parmesan, and you have one satisfying bowl of soup that leaves you feeling good. It was just what I needed. 🙂
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces tricolored baby bell peppers, seeded and chopped (or use 1 large bell pepper)
- 2 medium zucchini, halved and chopped
- Fresh corn cut from 2 ears of corn, about 1 cup
- (1) 15 ounce can of white beans, rinsed and drained
- 8 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess water
- 4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- parmesan cheese rind
- juice of 1 lemon
- salt and pepper, to taste
- pesto sauce and grated parmesan, for garnish
- Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic, and saute for 8-10 minutes or until onion is translucent and carrot is slightly tender. Add the bell pepper, zucchini, and corn, and saute 3 minutes longer.
- While the vegetables cook, place ½ cup white beans in a bowl with about a tablespoon of water, and mash with a fork. Add the whole beans, mashed beans, spinach, broth, and parmesan cheese rind to the pot and stir. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer 15 more minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and remove the parmesan cheese rind. Stir in the lemon juice, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in bowls and garnish with a dollop of pesto and grated parmesan. Enjoy!
I like my soup with less liquid, so if you like more, add 1-2 cups more of water or broth.
Recipe by Flavor the Moments.