Heidi Strawn
April 27, 2012

Garden Vegetable Soup with Basil Pesto
Photo by Nicole Sipe

Yield: 6 to 8 servings


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  • 1½ cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 T. pine nuts
  • 1/2 T. coarsely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 T. olive oil


  • 2 cups 1-inch asparagus (trimmed) or green bean pieces
  • 1 cup 1/4-inch-thick sliced yellow summer squash
  • 1 cup 1/4-inch-thick sliced small zucchini
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper (any color)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 14½ ounces home-canned tomatoes, salsa or fire-roasted diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 large or 4 small dried bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup orzo


Purée all pesto ingredients in food processor until smooth.

In large stock pot, combine fresh vegetables, tomatoes, broth and water. Stir in bay leaves, fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Cover and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in orzo. Cover, increase heat to medium, and cook additional 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in two-thirds of pesto. Let sit for 20 minutes to meld flavors. Remove bay leaves. Serve hot or cold, garnished with swirl of remaining pesto.


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