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provençal vegetable soup with basil pesto


I made this veg soup drizzled with basil pesto for dinner last night and today I had a bowl for lunch with grated parmesan cheese. This is a versatile soup and it stands on it's own for a meal. I like to serve up a bowl with a slice of sourdough, a spoonful of basil pesto, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese or a swirl of extra virgin olive oil. The additions are all good taking this simple veg soup to another level or levels, depending on how you adorn your bowl.  I have a recipe to share but feel free to use the vegetables of your choice, like corn, I love corn but forgot to pick it up at the market. Oh well, bring on the fresh baby spinach leaves, it works just like that. 



Ingredients for Provençal vegetable soup

makes enough for 6

1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
6 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 small new potatoes, cubed
1/3 cup elbow pasta
6 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into pieces
1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained
1 medium zucchini, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
2-3 cups fresh baby spinach
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley 
Basil pesto, for serving
Parmesan cheese, grated
Fresh basil leaves
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven or heavy soup pot, add the chopped onion and cook over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes until translucent.  Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then stir in the red pepper, cook and stir for 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, add a cup of the broth, the herbs and simmer for a minute then add the carrots followed by potatoes.  Add the rest of the broth.  Cook for about 10-12 minutes then add the elbow pasta and cook for 8 minutes.  Then stir in the green beans, garbanzo beans and zucchini, cook until zucchini looks tender, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes, spinach and parsley.  Cook for a few minutes.  Serve the soup with suggested toppings, such as basil pesto, Parmesan cheese, fresh basil leaves and extra virgin olive oil.











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