Spring Vegetable Minestrone

Cuisinart original

Pesto stars in this brightly flavored springtime soup.


makes about 12 cups


½         tablespoon olive oil

1          garlic clove, peeled

1          small leek, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

¾         teaspoon kosher salt, divided

½         teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

3          medium carrots, peeled and trimmed

1          celery stalk, trimmed

½         small fennel bulb, trimmed

6          ounce red potatoes, (not peeled), quartered

6          cups chicken or vegetable stock, low sodium

1          small zucchini, trimmed and halved lengthwise

1          small yellow squash, trimmed and halved lengthwise

1          can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1          can (15 ounces) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

2          cups cooked ditalini pasta (optional) (or other small variety)

2 to 4    tablespoons basil pesto (page 11), for serving

Nutritional information

Nutritional information per serving (1 cup): Calories 127 (19% from fat) | carb. 20g | pro. 7g | fat 3g sat. fat 0g | chol. 0mg | sod. 659mg | calc. 57mg | fiber 5g


  1. Put the olive oil in a large pot set over medium heat.
  2. While oil is heating, prepare the vegetables. Insert the chopping blade into the work bowl of the food processor. Add the garlic and leek; pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to the pot with a ¼ teaspoon of the salt and pinch of pepper and begin to sauté.
  3. While the garlic and leek are cooking, remove the chopping blade and insert the slicing disc. Fit the carrots and celery into the feed tube so they are snug and slice. Slice the fennel. Add to the pot, with the remaining salt and pepper, and sauté until slightly soft, about 10 minutes.
  4. Slice the zucchini and squash, reserve in bowls. Once the vegetables have cooked, stir in the potatoes and broth. Increase temperature to bring mixture to just a boil. Reduce to maintain a simmer and add the zucchini, squash, chickpeas and beans. Continue to simmer until all vegetables are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in the cooked ditalini, if using, and simmer for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until heated through. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.
  5. Serve in individual bowls topped with a dollop of pesto. The pesto is best stirred into soup before eating.