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A light, healthy summer soup recipe, minestrone-style, filled with zucchini, summer squash, carrots, white beans and pesto. Simple and so tasty!
When it comes to summer soups, the Italians seem to have it figured out.
Minestrone soup — which can be made with just about any combo of seasonal vegetables — is often the kind of soup I cook for my family.
Next to Classic Minestrone Vegetable Soup, an all-year-round favorite soup, this recipe is a light and delicious alternative.
Easy, homemade soups are perfect to make when you’re craving something healthy and delicious.
Making soup isn’t at all complicated and it’s usually quick to make, as well as nutritious and satisfying.
But what about soup in summer?
The best thing is that aren’t really any rules when it comes to making soup.
When so much produce is at its best, summer is the optimal time to enjoy certain ingredients — like tomatoes in a hearty homemade Tuscan Pappa al Pomodoro Soup.
Vegetables for summer soup:
The formula for the soup is perfect for improvising – go ahead and swap out the vegetables to suit your tastes or what you have on hand.
After cooking the vegetables for the base of the soup in step 2 , (leek, carrots, fennel or celery) add a total of 3 cups additional vegetables and cook until tender (vegetables like corn and spinach will be cooked in just a minute or two.) Try:
- Sweet corn kernels (1-1/2 cups)
- Trimmed and sliced fresh green beans ( 1-1/2 cups)
- Fresh torn spinach leaves (2 cups)
- Chopped sweet potato (1-1/2 cups)
I made this vegetable soup without tomatoes, but it tastes fantastic with 2 cups of fresh or canned chopped tomatoes added to the pot.
I happen to love the taste of fennel (I prefer its delicate flavor to celery), but if you don’t, just replace it with the same amount of celery.
To make the soup a bit heartier so that it can serve as a simple meal, I also add cannellini beans and cooked pasta to round it out.
Enjoy making vegetable soup from scratch — it’s a nourishing and simple way to eat and cook, in any season.
Summer Vegetable Soup
- ¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 2 leeks, white part only, quartered lengthwise and sliced (to make 1-1/2 cups sliced)
- ½ cup (80 g) chopped onion
- 1 fennel bulb (fronds reserved for garnish), tough outer skin removed, finely chopped
- 4 carrots, sliced into thin coins (to make 1-1/2 cups sliced)
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 cups (265 g) cannellini beans, cooked, or 1 drained 15-ounce can
- Kosher salt
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 2 small zucchini or summer squash about 1-inch diameter , quartered lengthwise and sliced
- 1 cup (168 g) uncooked ditalini or other soup pasta shape
- ½ cup Italian parsley leaves
- ⅓ cup (80 g) basil pesto sauce
- ½ cup (50 g) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Pour the oil in a large saucepan or pot and place over medium heat.
- Add the leeks, onion, fennel and carrot and cook until the vegetables soften, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently so they don't brown.
- Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the cannellini beans, 6 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a simmer, then adjust the heat to low and continue to simmer for 15 minutes, with the pot partially covered.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a separate pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and reserve.
- Stir the zucchini into the pot and cook 1 or 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the cooked pasta and parsley.
- Taste and season with more salt as need. Serve the soup garnished with chopped fresh fennel fronds (optional), a spoonful of pesto and the cheese.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- Substitute an equal amount of celery for the fennel, if you prefer.
- To freeze, cool the soup completely before portioning into containers. Freeze for 2 months.