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Summer Vegetable Soup with Pesto

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This summer vegetable soup is healthy yet totally satisfying – perfect for a rainy day or cool summer night.

summer vegetable soup

As promised, here’s the summer vegetable soup to go with last week’s Basil Walnut Pesto. It’s healthy yet totally satisfying – perfect for a rainy day or cool summer night. I’ve served it two ways: as a meal unto itself with a warm baguette or as a side to gooey grilled cheese sandwiches.

What you’ll need to make Summer Vegetable Soup with pesto

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It’s wonderfully quick and easy to make. Once your vegetables are chopped, the soup is done in 25 minutes. And if you don’t feel like making your own pesto, you can use a good quality store-bought brand (I like the fresh pesto at Whole Foods called  “Mama’s Pesto”).

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How to make Summer Vegetable soup with Pesto

Begin by cooking the onions, carrots, and celery in olive oil over medium heat until partially cooked, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook a few minutes more.

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Add the chicken stock, bay leaves and orzo and cook until the orzo is al dente.

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At the last minute, add the frozen peas and zucchini – they only take a minute or two to cook.

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Finally, ladle the soup into bowls and top with heaping tablespoons of pesto and grated Parmesan. Be generous – without these last two essential ingredients, the soup is bland. Pass more cheese and pesto at the table. Enjoy!

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Summer Vegetable Soup with Pesto

This summer vegetable soup is healthy yet totally satisfying – perfect for a rainy day or cool summer night.

Servings: 6


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 small yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ⅔ cup orzo
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup homemade or store bought pesto
  • Hunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano, for grating over soup


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and translucent and the vegetables are partially cooked, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium-low if the onions start to brown. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes more.
  2. Add the chicken stock, salt, pepper and bay leaves. Cover and bring to a gentle boil. Add the orzo, then turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 8 minutes. Add the zucchini and frozen peas. Adjust the heat to bring back to a simmer and cook until the orzo is cooked and all the vegetables are tender-crisp, about 2 minutes more. Remove the bay leaves. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. (Remember, it will taste a little bland without the pesto and Parmigiano-Reggiano.)
  3. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with a heaping tablespoon of pesto and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Pass more pesto and cheese at the table.
  4. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The soup can be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost the soup in the refrigerator for 12 hours and then reheat it on the stovetop over medium heat until hot. (The orzo make soak up much of the broth while in the freezer; if necessary, thin the soup out with a bit of water or broth while reheating.)

Pair with

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 215
  • Fat: 9g
  • Saturated fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 26g
  • Sugar: 6g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 11g
  • Sodium: 727mg
  • Cholesterol: 1mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • This soup was so delicious! My husband and two young kids loved it. The soup definitely livens up once you add the pesto and parmesan cheese. Next time I will try making my own pesto but store-bought worked just fine!

    • — P. Patel on June 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • I have made the soup several times “as is” and love it…I am thinking of adding white beans along with the orzo and am wondering if it will work..Thanks again for your wonderful recipes!

    • — Geri on May 14, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Geri, Glad you like this! I definitely think you can add white beans here; I’d add them with the peas and zucchini as they just need to be heated through. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 14, 2022
      • Reply

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