Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tomato Soup with Chickpeas and Pesto

Swirling homemade pesto in at the end is a nice way to lift homemade soup from ordinary to elegant.  Just add a crusty French bread baguette and a garden salad to round out this simple weeknight meal.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 cups vertically sliced onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable juice (such as R.W. Knudsen)
  • 1 (28-ounce) undrained can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) drained can chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup uncooked ditalini*
  • 1/3 cup Classic Pesto
1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion and celery; cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the water, salt, black pepper, vegetable juice, canned tomatoes, and chickpeas; bring to a boil.  Once boiling, add the ditalini.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.  Stir in the Classic Pesto just before serving. 

*Ditalini is a very short tube-shaped pasta (think of mini penne), making it the perfect size for soup.  I had to hit up several grocery stores before finding a brand called Bartolini that makes a 100% duram wheat ditalini.  Eden Organics also makes ditalini, available online. If you don't want to go to all that effort, any short shape like elbows would make a fine substitute.

Nutrition Info:
6 servings (1 and 1/2 cups), Calories 218 

Tasting Notes:
This soup reminded me of the kind my Italian grandmother makes - that is to say, simple and fresh ingredients swimming in a broth that tastes strongly of aromatics (the celery and onions).  Next time, I would dollop the pesto directly over individual servings for more concentrated flavor, rather than swirling into the whole soup.  I also recommend a few shakes of vegan Parmesan sprinkles on top.  Definitely serve with a big piece of baguette to soak up the last bits of broth.


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