Beans and Greens Soupe au Pistou




Recipe Image

This is a favorite French soup of ours. It’s essentially beans, greens with a big swirl of fresh basil pesto. It makes a whimsical and pretty presentation for a summer dinner party when topped with edible Nasturtium leaves to look like Lily pads.
It’s very healthy, equally beautiful and low-calorie. Serve it crusty baguette, toasted with cheese and a glass of good white wine.


• 1 pound Swiss chard
• 2 cups vegetable broth
• 2 cups water
• 1 15 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
• 2 medium tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• 1 cup fresh basil
• 6 tablespoons olive oil
• 6 tablespoons finely shredded fresh Parmesan cheese, plus extra for toasted cheese
• 2 cloves garlic
• 4 slices baguette, cut down the middle and open flat


Make the Soup
1. Remove stems from chard. Chop stems and greens and keep separate.
2. In a 4-quart pot combine broth, 2 cups water, the chard stems, beans, tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, about 5 cranks of freshly ground pepper. Bring to boiling and reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 15 minutes.
3. Stir in chard greens. Cook, uncovered, 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally.

Make the Pesto and Toasted Bread
1. In a small food processor or blender combine basil, 4 tablespoons olive oil, 4 tablespoons Parmesan, the garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Process until smooth.
5. Brush both sides of bread slices with olive oil. On a grill pan or under the broiler toast bread on both sides, sprinkling with remaining cheese after turning once.
6. Ladle soup into bowls. Top each with pesto and swirl. Serve with toasted, cheese baguette.


Happy Eating!

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