Spring White Bean and Vegetable Stew “Pistou”

by Gena on May 17, 2012

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You may recall my recent post singing the praises of SweetGreen, which is one of my favorite vegan-friendly eateries in DC. Though SweetGreen is associated with salad, the restaurant chain offers far more than greens alone; it also serves warm grain bowls, wraps, and fresh soups, which are nearly always vegan and gluten free. Recently, the restaurant has been featuring a white bean and vegetable pistou with which I am unequivocally in love. I often find restaurant soups to be very salty and garlicky; this one definitely lets you know that garlic is there, but it’s not overwhelming, and the seasoning is just right. I also love the hearty white beans and the basil sauce, or “pistou,” that brings the dish together.

In my attempt to make healthy, vegan dishes for me and my mom for a couple of days (I wrote about this initiative here), I thought I would try recreating this excellent springtime soup/stew. My version uses sugar snap peas, broccoli, and kale, only because it’s what I had, but you could use any mix of spring veggies you like: asparagus, peas, tender greens, and so on. The soup is brimming with vegetables, it’s low in fat, it’s incredibly high in fiber, and it’s also easy to make. I’ll treat this in the future as the kind of soup into which I put most of my vegetable odds and ends—the carrots that haven’t been used, the few remaining broccoli stalks, and so on. Zucchini will also taste great in here, and I can’t wait to try it.

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Spring White Bean and Vegetable Stew “Pistou” (vegan, gluten free, soy free)

Serves 4-6

1 small white onion, chopped
1 small russet potato, cubed
5 cups vegetable stock or 5 cups water + 2 vegan bouillon cubes
1 cup carrots, cut into bite sized pieces
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme (or 2 tsp fresh, chopped well)
1 scant cup diced tomatoes, fresh or canned (if you used canned, drain before adding)
1 cup broccoli florets, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup snow peas, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup kale or collard greens, chopped
1 1/2 cups cannellini beans, pre-cooked (either home cooked, or canned)
2 heaping tbsp + extra pesto (homemade or prepared)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Sautee the onion in coconut oil spray or water until golden and tender. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

2. Add the potatoes, carrots, stock or water/bouillon, herbs, and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the potatoes can be easily pierced.

3. Add the broccoli, snow peas, cannellini beans, and kale. Simmer until the veggies are bright and cooked through, but not mushy. You may want to add a bit more liquid; I like this soup to feel like a “springtime stew,” but if the veggies are dominating to a ridiculous degree, go ahead and add more broth.

4. Stir in the pesto, and then season to taste (how much salt the soup needs will depend on whether you used low sodium or regular broth/bouillon, your tastes, and your health needs).

5. Ladle soup into serving bowls, and serve with an extra dollop of pesto if you like!

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You can see how the the pesto infuses the soup in a lovely way. You can also see how many veggies are peeking out of this hearty springtime stew!

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I am submitting this lovely recipe to Ricki’s wonderful Weekend Wellness series.

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If you haven’t met Ricki and her blog, Diet, Dessert, and Dogs, now is the time! Ricki is a holistic health practitioner, a professor, a recipe genius, and a lovely writer. Each weekend, she hosts a “wellness weekend” event in which her readers can link up to/submit healthy recipes. They must be vegan, whole food recipes, and they must be free of refined sugar and flour. Readers pick particular favorites, and Ricki also selects some highlights of her own. I’ve been meaning to submit recipes all year long, but student life always kept me thoroughly discombobulated. I look forward to submitting a lot of raw food, but while I’m home and cooking for two, I thought I’d start with this lovely, nutrient rich soup/stew.

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One pot meals like this are always a treat. Enjoy! And see you here tomorrow.

xo

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Hannah May 17, 2012 at 8:00 pm

I love love love pesto. At the dining halls at school everyone went crazy for that stuff! I can’t wait to help my mom make fresh batches this summer (read: she makes it, I eat all of it)…that said, I’m not a fan of soups but anything with pesto is bound to be good. You’ve done watermelon gazpacho on the blog before, right? That is possibly one of my favorite soups.

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Gena May 18, 2012 at 6:30 am

Not yet, actually. This may have to be the summer for it, eh?

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Audrey May 17, 2012 at 8:12 pm

This sounds so delicious!

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Stefania May 17, 2012 at 9:27 pm

This looks so hearty and filling! The list of recipes I want to try from your site is getting out of control :)

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Ricki May 17, 2012 at 10:09 pm

What a perfect soup/stew for the season–another must-try! Have you served it to your mum yet? I can only imagine it was a huge hit.
And what a lovely surprise to see Elsie peeking out at me from your post as well! Thanks for linking up to Wellness Weekend, Gena–so glad to have one of your recipes to share there! :)

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Averie @ Averie Cooks May 17, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Gorgeous looking meal and I love that cobalt blue pot in the background…beautiful!

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Hannah May 18, 2012 at 12:45 am

Broccoli stalks are my favourite bit :) Gorgeous soup, Gena! I do love how potato soaks up deliciousness in soups.

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Lexi @ You, Me, & A World to See May 18, 2012 at 12:58 am

Looooove Sweetgreen as well! Such a great company :)

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Gena May 18, 2012 at 6:29 am

They are! Absolutely wonderful company.

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Ela May 18, 2012 at 1:34 am

Sounds lovely. I guess you saute in spray/water because the fat is coming from the pesto? Sounds hearty and good.

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Gena May 18, 2012 at 6:28 am

I’ve started giving a water sautee as an option in a lot of recipes because I have so many readers who are no/low oil/ETL. But when I read your comment I realized it was silly in this recipe because there’s oil in the pesto, anyway :-)

Anyway, I used Spectrum coconut oil spray, which is my kitchen go-to, but water would be fine as well in this recipe (as opposed to recipes like, say, caramelized onions, which as a reader pointed out recently, just aren’t the same without a little oil!).

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alyce May 18, 2012 at 6:54 am

Oh this looks wonderful. Soups are one of my all-time favorite things to make. There are so many different combinations of veggies and seasonings, and I find chopping veggies very therapeutic- so it works out well :)

But I never thought to try pesto in a soup! I’ll certainly have to give it a whirl. I also had to look up the meaning of “pistou” but now it makes sense! You learn something new everyday, huh?

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Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles May 18, 2012 at 7:21 am

Thank you for enlightening me on the meaning of pistou! I love that this soup seems so hearty and comforting, but reminiscent of spring as well. Good for those days where the evenings still get chilly!

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Skye May 18, 2012 at 9:03 am

I absolutely love all types of veggie soup. Pesto (nut-free in my case – I use sunflower seeds) sounds like a delicious addition!

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Gena May 18, 2012 at 11:09 am

I love pumpkin seed pesto!

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Gretchen @gfedge May 18, 2012 at 9:14 am

This soup makes me want to run out and buy yhe ingredients that are not in my refrigerator! So many great recipes for Wellness Weekends!

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Andrea May 18, 2012 at 12:23 pm

The soup is GORGEOUS! I love the combination of veggies you chose. You’ve given me a good reason to make pesto — and soup. :)

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Eileen May 18, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Soupe au pistou–yes! This is one of my favorite things to eat when the basil emerges in spring. I usually do the classic French recipe, but I’m definitely eager to try this one out as well! :)

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Fannie May 18, 2012 at 2:16 pm

I just made this and it’s delicious. I didn’t have any pesto in the house so I put in some fresh garlic and dried basil and it came out fantastic! Will definitely make this again! Thanks for the inspiration!

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Cat May 18, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Not only is this JUST my type of soup, but you’ve done a beautiful job with the photography in this post! I love the use of pretty china teacups as props.

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Gena May 18, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Thank you, Cat! They’re my Mom’s :)

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Sarah May 19, 2012 at 8:45 am

I’m in the DC area now too – I’m definitely going to check out that restaurant! How are you liking it here?

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Leslie @ healthybybalance May 19, 2012 at 11:55 am

This looks amazing! I usually find that recipes with pesto get a bit…I don’t really know the word…maybe rich? But this looks like the perfect balance! I will definitely be trying this.

I lived in the DC area for about 8 years…don’t miss the traffic, but I miss my girls…and I definitely miss the food! It’s a great city for sure!

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