Green Vegetable Soup with Lemon-Basil Pesto

I was surprised at how GOOD this soup is. Want to hear something else surprising?? My 6 year old said that this is the BEST soup I have ever made, and he made me promise I would make it at least ONCE a week! Wha???? It’s full of green veggies! And they are GOOD for you! This soup is a cinch to make, and don’t leave out the pesto at the end…that’s the best part!

rating: 9.7

Green Vegetable Soup with Lemon-Basil Pesto
(Cooking Light, Oct. 2013)

serves 4

Ingredients:

3/4 cup uncooked orzo
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced leeks (about 2)
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 tablespoon minced garlic, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 1/4 cups unsalted chicken stock (I used vegetarian chicken stock)
1 cup water
3 thyme sprigs
1 cup frozen green peas
1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1/4 pound)
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups baby spinach leaves, divided
1/4 cup basil leaves
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions:

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.
2. While pasta cooks, heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat. Add leeks, celery, 2 teaspoons garlic, and salt; sauté 5 minutes. Add stock, 1 cup water, and thyme. Cover; bring to a boil. Add peas and beans, and simmer, uncovered, 4 minutes. Discard thyme. Stir in pasta and 1 cup spinach.
3. Place 1 cup spinach, basil, cheese, rind, juice, 1 teaspoon garlic, and 2 teaspoons oil in a food processor; process until smooth. Divide soup among 4 bowls; top with pesto.

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