Cold Weather Soupe au Pistou


Prep time: 
15 minutes
Cooking time: 
35 minutes


Every Thursday after packing the veg, we sit down to enjoy a team lunch. This week Jean has made a warming soup from Diana Henry's book 'Food from Plenty'. You can use any veggies you have on hand for this soup, and bring it all together wiht the pistou topping.


  • 4 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 leek, trimmed and sliced into rounds
  • 250g butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into cubes
  • 1 bunch fennel
  • 150g potatos, diced into cubed
  • 2 L vegetable stock
  • 1 tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed. Fava beans can be used as well.

For the pistou

  • 2 small garlic cloves, crushed
  • 40g flat-leaf parsley 
  • 50g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 150ml extra virgin olive oil


  1. To make the pistou put everything except the oil into a blender. With the machine running, gradually add the oil until you have a pesto-like mixture. You don’t have to use all the olive oil. Check the seasoning.
  2. Quarter the fennel bulb. Trim the top of each one and remove the outer layer. Trim the base of each piece. Roughly chop.
  3. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan and sauté the onion, carrot and celery for about 7 minutes, until softening but not coloured. Add the garlic and all the other vegetables and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring every so often. Season. Add the stock, bring to the boil, turn the heat down and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add the beans and simmer for another 5 minutes. Check the seasoning. Serve in warm bowls with some pistou spooned on top or serve it on the side so people can add their own.


2 tablespoon pesto can be used as an alternative to making the pistou

For a vegan version of this recipe substitute parmesan for the vegan variety, or use ready made vegan pesto.

Parsley and walnut pesto is great with spaghetti (add chunks of ricotta to make it go further). It’s also good with pasta, goat’s cheese and fried radicchio.

Photo Credit: Jonny Hughes @jonny2love
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