This Vegetable Soup With Carrot Top-Pumpkin Seed Pistou Is Perfect for Every Season

Fresh produce makes the best soup, and this recipe is inspired by the East Hampton food stylist Susan Spungen who loves buying fresh produce at local farms. The ingredients listed are common for the summer season, but they can be substituted for whatever is available. It also includes a pistou recipe which is a great way to use the carrot tops that usually end up in the compost bin.

Vegetable Soup with Carrot Top-Pumpkin Seed Pistou for Every Season
The Veggie Soup Ingredients & Preparation

  • 1 cup dried cranberry beans
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 5 medium carrots with leafy tops
  • 1 medium leek
  • 1 small bulb fennel
  • 1 celery rib
  • 1-quart chicken stock
  • 3 plum tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 ounces of green beans
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/4 cup dried ditalini pasta, cooked until just al dente
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Preparation

The dried cranberry beans should be rehydrated, and the best way to do it is to soak them overnight and then drain them. However, a few hours before making the recipe could also work.

Slicing and Chopping

Lightly smash the garlic, but don’t peel it. Chop the onions finely and slice the carrots into quarter-inch-thick pieces. Half the leek and slice it crosswise into quarter-inch thick slices. Finely chop the fennel and the celery. Dice the zucchini to medium size (about ½ inch pieces) and cut the green beans into 1-inch segments. Also, chop the tomatoes finely and keep the seeds in. Put everything in different containers (ramekins and small plates also work) and head to the stove.

Step 2: Cooking

Place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Put in the beans and cover them with 4 cups of water – add the garlic and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the beans are tender. Add salt (start with a tablespoon), let the beans cool in the liquid, and discard the garlic once cooled.

While the beans are simmering, you can heat the olive oil in a larger pot. Once hot, add the onions and cook over medium heat until translucent. Add the carrots (but save 2 cups for the pistou), leeks, fennel, and celery, and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes or until everything is soft. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, thyme, bay leaf, and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat once you see the bubbles. Cover with a lid partially and simmer until the veggies are tender (about 25-30 minutes).

The Pistou Ingredients & Preparation

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Reserved 2 cups of carrot tops
  • 1/2 cup packed parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)

In a small skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil and add the seeds and garlic. Cook until everything is lightly browned, and transfer everything into a food processor. Once cooled a bit, add everything else and process until smooth.

Serve the soup with the pistou on top, and enjoy!