This Green Minestrone with Pesto and White Beans screams Spring! Made with a nut-free pesto, this soup is light and fresh tasting. I used pumpkin seeds instead of nuts to add some extra protein, nutrients, and fiber.
Although the Springtime weather inspired this soup it is equally delicious any time of year. This Italian-inspired, vegetarian soup is made without tomatoes but you can easily add tomatoes if you prefer. I've added a variation below.
Always prepare and measure all your ingredients before cooking. This ensures you are prepared and takes the stress out of cooking altogether! Use 4 cups of any combination of vegetables you like!
See recipe card for quantities.
- Homemade pesto - feel free to use your favourite store-bought brand. You can also add nuts or sunflower seeds instead of pumpkin seeds. Or leave the nuts and seeds out altogether! You can also skip the pesto altogether and add some fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, mint, dill, etc.
- Leeks - 1 large Spanish, white or sweet onion
- Asparagus, green beans, zucchini, green beans, green peas - any combination of vegetables will work in this soup. You will need 4-5 cups of chopped vegetables.
- Navy beans - any type of beans or chickpeas, canned or dried beans that have been cooked. Find my method for cooking dried beans here.
- Kale - any leafy green will work in this soup such as spinach, arugula, collard greens, or Swiss chard.
Below is a step-by-step look at how quickly and easily this soup comes together.
For the pesto
Place all pesto ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Make extra and use it on roasted or grilled vegetables, your favourite protein, or pasta!
For the soup
Sautee the leeks until they are soft. Add the garlic then the vegetables and beans minus the kale and peas.
Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer. Then add the kale and cook until wilted.
Add the green peas and pesto, fresh lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
Add extra broth or water if you prefer a thinner soup. You can also puree part of it to give it a more hearty and creamy texture.
- Spicy - add chili pepper flakes or fresh, chopped chili peppers while cooking to add heat to the dish.
- Tomato-based - if you prefer a more traditional tomato-based minestrone, add a can of whole tomatoes that have been chopped or pureed in place of one or 2 cups of broth.
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The only thing you need to prepare this soup is your favourite large soup pot or Dutch oven. My favourite is this Le Creuset Dutch Oven (affiliate link).
Store the soup in the refrigerator for one week or freeze up to 3 months. For the pesto, cover with a layer of olive oil and store in the fridge for one week or freeze it for later.
More recipes for you to try
- Smoky Lentil and Bacon Soup
- White Bean Sausage and Arugula Soup
- White Bean Salad with Roasted Red Peppers
- Spiced Spinach and Chickpea Soup
- Hearty Turkey and Vegetable Soup
Green Minestrone With Pesto and White Beans
- 3 cups basil leaves, loosely packed
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- ⅓ cup pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 leeks white parts only
- 1 cup chopped asparagus
- 1 cup chopped green beans
- 1 cup diced zucchini 1 small
- 1 cup green peas fresh or frozen
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth low or no sodium
- 2 cups navy beans 540 ml/19 oz
- 3 cups kale chopped (or greens of your choice)
- ½ cup pesto plus more for serving, optional
- ½ lemon juiced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. It can have a bit of texture but you don't want it to be chunky.
- Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add leeks and sautè for 5-6 minutes. Lower the heat if the leeks are starting to brown. Add the garlic. Stir and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Add asparagus, zucchini, grean beans, and navy beans. Stir and cook for one minute. Add the broth. Add salt and pepper to taste. The amount of salt will vary depending on the salt level of your broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add greens and continue simmering for another 5 minutes. Add peas and pesto and cook for 2 more minutes. Serve topped with a dollop of pesto and Parmesan cheese if desired.
Frequently Asked Questions
Minestrone soup is basically a bulked-up vegetable soup. Vegetable soup has only vegetables whereas minestrone has the addition of beans, pasta, and/or rice. Minestrone can also contain meat.
The word minestrone means "thick vegetable soup".
Mary Muir says
My husband is a fussy eater and believe me when I say if he loves this everybody will love it. This is a real keeper Andrea.
Very fresh taste. All your greens and protein in one bowl. I used store-bought pesto. Didn’t have any green beans so just added more of the other greens.
So happy you enjoyed it Mary! Thanks for commenting
This was delicious! Thank you for another yummy soup to add to our favourites!
First time making pesto... shoudl I keep adding olive oil if its super thick? Looking forward to diving into what looks to be a delicious soup!
You can add more olive oil or a touch of cold water. Hope you enjoy it!
Kim Hoare says
I also live in Canada, actually in Abbotsford. If I to purchase pesto what brand would you recommend? I too have tried a lot of your soups. I also love your 3 bean chili.
Hi Kim! Honestly, I haven't bought pesto in so many years I wouldn't know what to recommend. What I would look for myself is one with the most minimal ingredients and preferably made with olive oil. President's choice usually has quality products so I would start there. Hope that helps!
Costco’s Kirkland brand pesto is excellent
Great to know, thanks!
Another fantastic recipe! Ready to try another recipe this weekend.
I'm so happy you enjoyed it! Thanks so much for commenting!
Susan Rittee says
This is excellent and definitely nutritious!!
Linda McDonnell says
This is soooo good. Another 5 star recipe. Thank you, Andrea.
I have tried most of your soup recipes and they are all amazing!! (Creamy corn chowder is my favourite). If I substitute store bought pesto how much do I use?
You would use the same amount as is in the recipe, 1/2 a cup. I'm so happy you are enjoying all the soups! Let me know how you like this one!
Hi Andrea! If I am using store bought pesto - approximately how much would I need?
You would use the same amount as is in the recipe. Half a cup. Hope that helps!
Love pesto! This is perfect:) Thank you.