Vegetable Gnocchi Soup with Pesto

I confess that in the past my opinion of vegetable soup has been that it’s generally boring and watery, but this version has forever changed my mind. It’s brimming with a variety of vegetables, which makes it flavorful and hearty in and of itself, but it’s also scattered with tender gnocchi and topped with a bright but rich pesto. It’s more delicious than I ever thought vegetable soup could be and yet it still manages to pack a mighty nutritious punch.

As many great soups do, it starts with onion, carrot, and celery sauteed in a bit of olive oil until they’ve softened…

From there, you really start to build up the flavor. Garlic, tomatoes, green beans, thyme, oregano, basil, and zucchini go in next.

Those simmer until they’re just tender, and then some gnocchi follow them in until they’re pillowy and tender.

A heaping bunch of spinach gets stirred in quickly until it’s wilted but still fresh. (Just in case there wasn’t enough green stuff going on here already.)

While the soup simmers, you make a quick – but robust – four-ingredient pesto that you can dollop on every bowl you serve. It freezes well, so making extra wouldn’t be a bad plan.

It’s a vegetable soup that’s hearty enough to fill you up, yes, but more importantly, it’s one you savor bite after bite after bite. The bright and rich pesto backs up every fresh veggie that’s simmered in this soup and the gnocchi adds enough substance to keep you going right up until your next meal.

Vegetable Gnocchi Soup With Pesto

50 minutes to prepare serves 6

Ingredients

  • For the soup:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 (16 oz) package potato gnocchi
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, for serving
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the pesto:
  • 1 1/3 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Preparation

  1. Heat olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, and celery and saute until softened, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more.
  2. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, green beans, thyme, oregano, and basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add zucchini and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until veggies are almost fully tender, 12 - 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in gnocchi, cover, and simmer until gnocchi are tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in spinach until wilted, just 1 minute.
  5. While the gnocchi simmers, make the pesto:
  6. In a food processor pulse basil, parmesan, garlic, and salt until well finely chopped. With processor running, slowly pour in olive oil until a loose paste has formed.
  7. Serve soup hot with a dollop of pesto and grated parmesan. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy.

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