Dairy FreeGluten FreeMeatlessRecipes

Vegetable Soup with Pesto


This humble vegetable soup recipe packs a nutritional punch – 12 different vegetables (if you count the garlic) plus white beans and a healthy dose of olive oil!

I’m actually not a huge vegetable soup fan. I like it if it is really delicious, but I do like my food to taste good and I would not be sharing this if it wasn’t actually tasty. You do need to invest in good pesto or make your own though. In the US, I actually am pretty impressed with Costco’s pesto. Most store-bought pestos are made with cheaper nuts, oils, and filler ingredients. Try to find one with just basic pesto ingredients like olive oil, pine nuts, basil, salt, and parmesan. In Germany we like Rapunzel’s Pesto Ligure. With a really good pesto you can even thin it out with olive oil and it isn’t quite as expensive per serving.

One quick warning before I share the recipe. It takes a LONG time to peel and chop all those vegetables. Get the whole family involved or listen to an interesting podcast while you work, but it is going to take a while. It is worth it, and you are investing in at least two meals, if not more, even for a family. If you can’t find some of the vegetables then feel free to leave them out or substitute something else.


  • olive oil
  • 2 white or yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped in half circles, white and light green parts only
  • 2-3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 quarts (2 liters) vegetable broth, preferably low sodium so you can add it to taste
  • 2 small-medium potatoes, chopped (quarter circles)
  • 1 medium-large parsnip, chopped (this adds a nice sweetness)
  • 1 kohlrabi, chopped (you can sub a rutabaga, as these are difficult to find in the US.)
  • 5-6 ounces green beans (150g), frozen
  • 5-6 ounces green peas (150g), frozen
  • 2 small or one large zucchini, cut into quarter circles
  • 2 cans of white beans (such as cannellini/navy beans. I only had one can so I used 1 can of white beans and 1 can of chickpeas/garbanzos)
  • 5-6 ounces spinach (150g), frozen or fresh
  • Pesto, good store bought or homemade (without parmesan if dairy free)


Heat the oil in a large stock pot.

Add the onion and leek and sauté about 5 minutes.

Add the celery, carrot, and garlic and sauté for about 5 more minutes.

Add the vegetable broth, potato, parsnip, kohlrabi, and green beans and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add the peas, zucchini, beans, spinach, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with a generous amount of pesto. It also tastes great pureed with a bit of full-fat plain yogurt stirred in for kids.

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