Make-Ahead Spring Vegetable Soup with Pesto Recipe

Suzanne Lehrer

Leeks, fennel, peas and spring onions make this something of a spring vegetable kitchen sink soup. This soup is simmered for only 15 minutes to preserve the fresh flavor of spring's finest, while still keeping some bite to the vegetables. This is a great way to use up leftovers; you can add in beet greens, string beans, or any other veggies sitting on your refrigerator shelf, or even some cannellini beans to steer this into minestrone territory. I stirred in a big dollop of pesto just at the end for extra flavor and brightness. If you want deeper pesto flavor and are taking this to go, stir in before refrigerating. If not, stir in just before reheating.

Recipe Facts



Active: 35 mins
Total: 35 mins
Serves: 2 to 4 servings

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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 4 spring onions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 stalks celery, peeled, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons
  • 1 bulb fennel, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 cups homemade or store-bought low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1 zucchini, peeled into ribbons with vegetable peeler
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pesto


  1. Heat oil and garlic in large saucepan over medium heat until garlic begins to sizzle. Continue cooking, turning garlic occasionally until pale golden and aromatic, about 2 minutes after it starts sizzling. Remove garlic with tongs and discard.

  2. Add spring onions, carrots, celery, leeks, and fennel. Season with salt and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add stock and bay leaf; bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until broth is flavorful and vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes. Stir in peas and zucchini, simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in pesto. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaf and serve immediately, or let cool and refrigerate. Microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes to reheat.

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