Garden Vegetable Soup with Basil Pesto

Maximize your garden’s health and flavor benefits by combining your vegetables in a soup garnished with homemade pesto.

by Dani Yokhna
Garden Vegetable Soup with Basil Pesto
Photo by Nicole Sipe

Yield: 6 to 8 servings



  • 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.

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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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