Soupe au Pistou

6 Serves

This traditional Proven;al dish gets much of its flavor from the vegetables, which can be as varied as you please. Covering the pistou with a layer of olive oil and refrigerating until just before serving prevents discoloration.



  • 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, quartered lengthwise

  • 4 cipollini onions, quartered

  • 5 ounces red Swiss chard, stems reserved and cut into ½-inch lengths, leaves torn into pieces (½ bunch)

  • 1 small butternut squash, (12 ounces), peeled, seeded, and cut into ½-inch dice

  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut diagonal into ¼-inch-thick slices

  • 1 zucchini, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices

  • 1 cup canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen lima beans, (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • 2 cups fresh sorrel or basil, leaves, tough stems removed

  • ½ cup walnuts

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • ½ cup olive oil

  • Dash freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat a medium stockpot over medium heat, and add olive oil. Add garlic, onions, and chard stems (not leaves); saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add squash and carrot; cook 1 minute more. Add 7 cups water, and cook 8 to 10 minutes. Add zucchini and beans; cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in chard leaves, salt, and pepper; cook 1 minute more.

  2. Make the pistou: Combine sorrel, walnuts, garlic, and Parmesan in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until finely chopped. With motor running, drizzle in 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, and process until smooth. Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Spoon pistou into a small bowl, and top with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil; refrigerate until ready to use. Stir in olive oil just before serving. To serve, ladle hot soup into bowls; top each with a spoonful of pistou. Serve.

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