Raise your hand if you still have a pile of zucchini to use up on this second day of what is now officially fall. And how about perfectly juicy summer tomatoes? My farmers market is still pumping out summer produce by the box, so I’ve still got it on my mind.
And since I’ve also got tubs of pesto waiting to be used in my freezer, I put two and two together and the end result did not suck. This soup is fresh and bright and satisfying and perfect for the first slightly cool days of fall.
If you didn’t go to the trouble of making your own pesto, you should maybe consider it? But if it’s just not happening, at least go to a store that makes their own in house, and ask if you can sample it before you buy (or if you have a brand you already know and love, use that). Pesto is a huge player in this soup so it has to be on point.
I served my soup with a cheese and charcuterie board and some toasted baguettes. Nobody was mad about it.
End of Summer vegetable Soup With Pesto
makes 6-8 servings
-1 Tbsp olive oil or butter
-2-3 leeks, chopped and washed of grit
-2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
-2-3 zucchini, diced
-2 yellow tomatoes, diced
-1-2 ears fresh corn, or about 1/2 a small bag of frozen corn
-6 cups chicken broth (it’s extra tasty and you get brownie points if you use homemade broth)
-2 cups fresh spinach (frozen will also work, but won’t be as pretty)
-2-3 tsp lemon juice or white wine vinegar
-salt and white pepper, to taste (black pepper is also fine)
-1/4 cup pesto, stirred into the soup, plus more for topping (probably 1/2-3/4 cup total, depending on how many you are feeding)
-optional: parmesan cheese for topping
1. Start by cooking your leeks over medium heat in your fat of choice in a large soup pot. When the leeks are wilted, add garlic and stir for a minute.
2. When the garlic is fragrant, add diced zucchini and cook until the zucchini is soft.
3. Add diced tomatoes, corn, and chicken broth and bring the soup to a boil. Add spinach and allow it to wilt into the soup. Add salt, pepper, and lemon or vinegar. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. The soup will get an added hit of flavor from the pesto, but it should be able to stand on its own seasoning-wise. Summer vegetables tend to be watery too, so you may need to add more salt than you think (depending on the saltiness of the broth you use). Taste, taste, taste.
4. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in 1/4 cup of pesto, taste again and adjust seasoning if necessary.
5. Serve soup with a dollop of pesto on top and a shave or two of parmesan cheese. And definitely some toasty bread on the side.
6. This soup freezes well so, if you didn’t finish your batch, stash the rest in some freezer-safe containers and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge (this will take at least a day) and re-heat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave, stopping and stirring after every minute or so. Future you will appreciate the effort.