Chunky bean and vegetable soup with basil pesto
We’re real traditionalists when it comes to Mediterranean and Asian cooking. But convenience is also a big consideration for us. If we’ve got plenty of time on our hands, we don’t mind making our own stocks from scratch, or even making our own curry pastes with a mortar and pestle.
But often, time isn’t on our side so we use stock powder, or a pre-made curry paste instead. I’ll be the first to admit that the end result isn’t quite as good, but the flavors are close, and the time and energy saved makes the compromise worthwhile.
This soup is a good case in point. We could have made the stock from scratch and also the pesto. But this was a weekday dinner for us, which means it has to be on the table in 30 minutes or less — or else we start to get hangry :)
So to save time we used stock powder and a good quality store-bought pesto. During the cooking process the vegetables release their own flavors anyway, so the finished soup has a wonderful depth of flavor, which is accented by the robustness and creamy texture of the pesto. Combined with some fresh crusty bread it made a delicious, healthy and balanced meal. And all without much hassle.
1 onion — diced
1 carrot — halved lengthwise and sliced into half-rounds
1 zucchini — halved lengthwise and sliced into half-rounds
1 potato — peeled and cut into small cubes
16 green beans — cut into 1-inch pieces
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
14 oz (400g) canned cannellini beans — rinsed and drained
¼ cup pesto (store-bought or homemade)