Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Cindy Barr

Green Vegetable Soup with Lemon-Basil Pesto

Covering the pot when bringing the liquid to a simmer gets this soup ready even faster.

Cooking Light OCTOBER 2013

  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 3/4 cup uncooked orzo
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced leeks (about 2)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/4 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1/4 pound)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves, divided
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

2. While pasta cooks, heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat. Add leeks, celery, 2 teaspoons garlic, and salt; sauté 5 minutes. Add stock, 1 cup water, and thyme. Cover; bring to a boil. Add peas and beans, and simmer, uncovered, 4 minutes. Discard thyme. Stir in pasta and 1 cup spinach.

3. Place 1 cup spinach, basil, cheese, rind, juice, 1 teaspoon garlic, and 2 teaspoons oil in a food processor; process until smooth. Divide soup among 4 bowls; top with pesto.


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Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 189
  • Fat: 5.6g
  • Saturated fat: 1.1g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 3.5g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.7g
  • Protein: 12g
  • Carbohydrate: 24.4g
  • Fiber: 6.6g
  • Cholesterol: 2mg
  • Iron: 3.2mg
  • Sodium: 522mg
  • Calcium: 136mg

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Green Vegetable Soup with Lemon-Basil Pesto Recipe