With an array of vegetables in this recipe, the options are endless. And with the produce ever-changing at the farmer’s market, the types of vegetables available won’t always be the same.

Summer Minestrone with Walnut Pesto | Zestful Kitchen

Leeks can easily be swapped for white, yellow, or green onions, just use about 1 ½ cups of whichever you choose. If you can find fava beans, they are a great addition or they can swap out the green peas. Whatever squash you find at the market can easily replace the zucchini and fresh tomatoes can replace canned for even more summer flare.

This light, refreshing, and vegetable-focused soup gets a boost of flavor at the end from a homemade pesto. Made with toasted walnuts instead of pine nuts, this pesto offers a deeper, more complex flavor.

Lastly, you’ll notice this recipe lists an option between extra-virgin olive oil and avocado oil, this is simply a flavor preference. Olive oil has a fruitier flavor while avocado has slight grassy flavor and tends to be a bit more mild, but either works great in this recipe! 

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Summer Minestrone with Walnut Pesto | Zestful Kitchen

Summer Minestrone with Walnut Pesto

  • Author: Zestful Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 7 servings (15 cups) 1x



For the pesto:

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ⅓ cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1 ounce grated Parmesan Cheese (½ cup)
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

For the soup:

  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • 12 leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and sliced ½-inch thick, soaked and rinsed clean
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed, quartered, cored, and sliced ½-inch thick
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup ditalini pasta
  • ½ lbs. haricot verts, trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise, seeded, and diced
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes


For the pesto: process garlic, walnuts, parmesan, and basil until minced. With processor running, slowly pour in oil until incorporated, scraping down side of bowl as needed. Season with salt and pepper.

For the soup: heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add leeks, celery, carrots, and fennel. Sauté until softened, 6-8 minutes, season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in broth and water and bring to a simmer. Stir in pasta and cook until starting to soften, 4 minutes. Add haricot verts and green peas and simmer for 3 minutes. Add cannellini beans and their liquid, zucchini, and tomatoes. Simmer until pasta is al dente and vegetable are tender, season with salt and pepper. Top each serving with a dollop of pesto.


Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

If freezing for a later date, skip adding the pasta and freeze without it. When ready to enjoy, reheat the soup, add pasta, and cook until al dente.

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Summer Minestrone with Walnut Pesto | Zestful Kitchen

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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