The weather is finally warming up! Everything is pretty and green. I can almost wear shorts. Farmer’s market season is about to start up. Life is pretty dang good right now.
Lately I’ve been eating a lighter dinner and heavy lunch. I usually skip breakfast except on the weekends when I like to make something breakfast-y that I can take my time and enjoy. Also lately my schedule has been a little whacked out. I prefer to work out and burn off steam right before dinner. For most people this would mean doing something after work but before you come home. I’ve been working a weird schedule a lot where I start work at 10 am most days so my mornings are wide open but then don’t finish until much later than I’m used to. So! I’ve switched to starting my mornings with a workout.
The issue with working out in the morning is that I get abnormally hungry all. day. long. To avoid overeating I’ve switched my heaviest meal from dinner to lunch. It took a little getting used to but I’m over the hump. I’ve been eating a lot of soup and salad combos for dinner to support my lower supper caloric needs. This rustic French vegetable soup is one of my favorites! It’s packed with vegetable goodness but not at all lacking in flavor. I used to a traditional mirepoix mix for the vegetables – onion, celery and carrot – and added potatoes for a little body with peas and leek to round it out. Then when everything was adequately simmered, I threw in a bunch of freshly made basil pistou to really pack in some extra brightness.
The soup base is super BASIC. Haha. You could add in some white beans or rice for more density. I was plenty happy with my carrots, celery, potato mixture. And leeks! The subtle sweetness that leeks add is fantastic paired with the pistou we will add in later. I also used a generous amount of peas. Peas make me think of spring because they are so green! Add them in the last few minutes of cooking to make sure that they stay that way. This soup is really simple to throw together but so so good for you –
I like this soup by itself just fine but it’s 100x better with pistou. Pistou is a cousin of pesto. They are very similar. Pistou traditionally lacks the nut and cheese that pesto has. When I think of pesto I think of a heavier condiment. Pistou is much lighter which is great because you can eat more of it! Basil is the common base for both sauces and basil is high in vitamin A. Herbs in general tend to be concentrated in vitamins and minerals so eat em up. Pistou is made with olive oil much like basil. I make mine without the olive oil. You get more of the basil flavor, in my opinion, without adding in olive oil. It you wanted to have pistou spread over crusty bread as an appetizer or brunch meal then I think the oil would be great. For this soup I omitted. I try to not use oil in my cooking ever unless I’m going to be missing out on important flavor. I promise that’s not the case. You won’t miss the oil in this pistou. Make sure to stuff as much basil as possible into your food processor.