White Bean Soup with Pesto



For a few months now I have now been hoarding my summer goodies that were processed and stored in the freezer.  Those tastes-of-sun treats—the green beans and strawberries and pesto—I keep thinking that I need to wait for that special moment to bring them out.  It’s a small freezer and I did no canning, so the bounty is not endless.

But it’s time to stop the saving and begin the archeological dig into the frozen depths to see what I squirreled away!



Nothing is more cheery than uncovering the vibrant green of a pesto container.  That basil glow…it’s magical, especially this time of year when the sun is scarce and visions of taxes and holiday credit card bills dance in our heads.


I love winter and I really struggle with summer (yes, I am aware that most people are not in my camp with that topic).  But I have a silver lining for the sweltering days of July when the humidity is so high that my lungs feel like they are filling with water with every inhalation—-and that trade-off is that the basil flourishes.

When I have melted into a pool on the kitchen floor from the summer heat, I am comforted that at least something fabulously flavorful will come of it!

Sometimes you have to Suffer for the Feast.



The pesto I make for freezing is what I call a Base Pesto—without cheese or nuts.  Then I can utilize it for whatever purpose later on, like adding it to a hearty winter soup for a ray of sunshine in the dark months.



The cooked cannellini beans are soft and creamy.  Navy beans would also work for this—they aren’t as creamy but they hold their shape.

Just to note: Old beans are dry and take FOREVER to cook.  So if your beans have been hibernating in your cupboard for a decade, you might consider retiring them, and trotting out to get some more!

Any pesto will work for this soup.  Enjoy the green!


Base Pesto

Puree in a food processor:

2-3 cloves Garlic

2 cups packed Fresh Basil

2/3 cup Olive Oil

Salt to taste

Dash Lemon Juice

Freeze, or use fresh.  Finish by adding parmesan cheese and pine nuts, sunflower seeds or walnuts.



White Bean Soup with Pesto

Prep Time:  15 minutes to chop veggies, 2 hours to cook beans    Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes


2 1/2 cups cooked Cannelini Beans

1/2 cup Celery, diced

1 medium Onion, diced (approximately 2/3 cup)

1/2 cup Carrots, diced

1/2 cup Potatoes, diced

1/4 – 1/2 tsp Salt (to taste)

Black Pepper to taste

1/2 tsp Granulated Garlic

1/8 tsp Nutmeg

Dash of Cayenne

4 cups Water, Chicken Stock or Vegetable Stock

(Tasty Optional—1 cup Chicken Sausage)

Simmer 30 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked but not mushy.

Turn off heat and add:

1 cup Tomatoes, diced (optional)

3-4 Tbsp Base Pesto (or any pesto you can get!)

1/2 tsp Lemon Juice

1/3 cup Fresh Parsley, Chopped

Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve immediately.

Buon appetito!



photo by Scott Hervey



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