Spring Soupe au Pistou

Pistou is the Provencal cousin of Italian pestothe French version doesn’t include pine nuts and it’s used as a condiment, as well as in a soup that bears its name. This spring rendition of the typically summery soup adds a touch of fresh mint to the traditional basil in the pistou (just enough basil to “borrow” from your new seedlings) and substitutes leeks for onions and sugar snap peas for haricots verts in the soup itself. As spring turns to summer, adapt the recipe to use whatever produce is available. Add zucchini or other summer squash. Trade the snap peas for green beans, use fresh shell beans instead of canned, and swap canned tomatoes for peeled, seeded summer-fresh tomatoes (you’ll need 1-1/2 cups). Serve with grilled bread.



  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium leek (white and tender green parts), thinly sliced
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 large can tomatoes (28 ounces0, whole peeled, drained, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/2 pound red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 pound sugar snap peas, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 can cannellini beans (15 ounces), rinsed and drained
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  • 1 clove garlic
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 1 packed cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 packed cup fresh mint
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated


  • To prepare soup, heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil. Add leek and a pinch of salt, and sauté 3 minutes, or until very tender. Toss in carrot and celery, and saute another 4 minutes, or until tender. Add garlic, and saute 30 seconds, or until just fragrant.
  • Add water, tomatoes, potatoes, a pinch of salt, thyme sprigs and bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Add snap peas, and cook 4 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Add beans, and cook 2 minutes. Season to taste with black pepper.
  • While soup simmers, prepare pistou. If using a mortar and pestle, place garlic in the bowl with a pinch of salt, and pound to a paste. Then add basil and mint a few leaves at a time, and continue to pound to a paste until herbs are gone. Whisk in 2 tablespoons olive oil and cheese, and season with pepper to taste. If using a blender or mini food processor, add garlic to bowl with a pinch of salt, and pulse until minced. Add basil and mint, and pulse a few times until herbs are chopped. Drizzle in oil, and process until herbs are very finely chopped. Add cheese, and pulse just until combined. Serve with soup.
Servings: 8
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Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

My mission is to inspire and equip you to live a richer life through real food by becoming a more competent, confident home cook.

I’m the author of Nourished: A Memoir of Food, Faith, and Enduring Love, founder and CEO of Nourish Evolution, and the creator of Cook the Seasons, Home Cooking School, and the Real Food Reset, and I empower intentional women to cook in a way that brings them (and their families) joy, health, and ease.

Making the shift from processed food to real food doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an evolution that occurs over time, with effort, intention, and belief. And it will change the course of your life. Are you ready to take the first step? I’m so glad you’re here … and I’m honored to be with you on the journey to becoming nourished!


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