Start with canned pumpkin (for rich, smooth flavor) and canned white beans (for body), and you end up with a speedy first course that's crowned with a flavor-packed pesto. Make the soup a few days ahead, but do the pesto only shortly before serving so its color stays vibrant.
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, divided
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
1 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 cup baby spinach
1 cup basil leaves
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons water
How to Make It
Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, 1 tablespoon sage, and garlic to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Add pepper and cumin; sauté 1 minute. Stir in 1/2 cup stock; cook 1 minute, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Combine onion mixture, remaining 2 cups stock, beans, and pumpkin in a blender; process until smooth. Return stock mixture to pan. Stir in milk and salt. Bring to a simmer; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in vinegar.
Combine remaining 1 tablespoon sage, spinach, and remaining ingredients in a mini food processor; process until smooth. Ladle about 2/3 cup bisque into each of 8 bowls; top each serving with 2 teaspoons pesto.
I followed the recipe as written, making no substitutions. My husband and I loved it. Our two children (ages 4 and 5) were skeptical about it, but tried it and admitted that they liked it as well. It was easy to prepare on a busy night during the work week.
The pesto definitely makes the soup. That said, I thought it was good, but not outstanding. The flavors do come together better after a couple of days. I used unsweetened almond milk instead of regular, and only half the vinegar, which I think was plenty for my taste.
I made this last night for a family dinner with mixed reviews. For me the soup was too vinegary but other than that pretty bland and tasteless .There were other family members who enjoyed the soup and particularly felt the pesto enhanced the flavor. I make a lot of soup and this one for me missed the mark. I will not try it again. That being said I am a big fan of Cooking Light and truly benefit from the seasonal nature of the recipes.
Husband didn't think it was terrible but I did. The worst CL recipe I've ever made. I triple checked the recipe because I couldn't figure out what I did wrong but I did everything exactly to the recipe except used full fat milk which should have made things better.
I thought this soup was good, but nothing amazing. I subbed original almond milk for the regular milk b/c I am dairy-free. And added 1/4 t kosher salt to make up for lack of cheese I omitted. I also used 1/8 t cayenne for kids taste. So, this might have been better without all my subs. That said, it was good, but I probably won't make again.
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