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soupe au pistou
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5 from 1 vote

Pistou Soup - French vegetable soup (Soupe au Pistou)

Aromatic vegetable soup served with French pesto sauce (pistou).
Course Soup
Cuisine French
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 servings
Calories 470kcal
Author Aleksandra



  • 4 tablespoons frying oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 leek
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or a couple sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 lb potatoes 500g
  • 1 medium zucchini 12 oz/350g
  • 2 large carrots
  • 8 cups water 2 liters
  • a handful green beans 7 oz/200g
  • 1 14 fl oz can cannellini beans 400g
  • 1 cup green peas I used frozen, 4.2oz/120g
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 4 cups basil leaves loosely packed, 1.4 oz/40g or 1 big bunch parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1.8oz/50g
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 2.5 cups small elbow pasta 11oz/300g pasta, or other small-sized pasta, need to be cooked separately!



  • Prepare all the vegetables: cut potatoes into 1-inch / 2.5cm cubes, zucchini into 1/2-inch / 1cm slices or half-moons, carrot into 1/4-inch / 5 mm slices, leek into thin slices, celery stalk into 1/4-inch / 5 mm slices, chop the onion.
  • In a large pot warm up 2 tablespoons of oil, add the onions, leeks and dried thyme (if you're using fresh thyme, add the sprigs at the end of cooking the onions, not at the beginning). Cook over low heat for about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  • Add another 2 tablespoons of oil to the pot, turn the heat to high and add the zucchini, potatoes, carrots, and celery. Cook for about 3 minutes (do not stir for the first minute!) until the vegetables are lightly browned.
  • Add the onion, leek, and thyme back to the pot and pour over 8 cups water (all vegetables should be covered). Cook over low heat for 15 minutes.
  • Add the green beans, bring to a boil, simmer for 8 minutes.
  • Add the green peas and cannellini beans (along with the liquid from the can), simmer for 2 more minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the heat, season the soup with salt and pepper.
  • Pour the soup into bowls, add separately cooked pasta and a heaped teaspoon of pistou to each bowl. Stir the pistou into the soup just before serving.


  • In a food processor, mix the basil leaves with salt, garlic, and grated Parmesan cheese, until chunky paste forms. Then whisk in thoroughly the olive oil (by hand), or pulse in the food processor on low speed. If you will mix it on high speed, the sauce will be slightly more bitter, than mixed on low speed or by hand.
  • Enjoy!


- Instead of basil pistou, you can make parsley pistou - also taste great!
- Do not add the pistou directly to the pot with the soup, but stir the pistou into the soup just before serving. This is important, cooking the pistou or stirring it into a too-hot soup can ruin fresh basil aroma.
- You can cook the pasta with the soup (you need to add more water) only if you plan to eat it all right away. If the pasta stays too long in the soup it will become soggy and the soup too thick. I prefer this soup with the pasta cooked separately.
- You can easily modify this recipe, by adding any vegetables you have available.
- Calories count (approximately) = 1 serving (1/6 of the recipe), including pasta and pistou.


Calories: 470kcal