Riverford Wicked Leeks
Soupe au pistou recipe image

Print Soupe au pistou

There are literally hundreds of recipes for this soup and its Italian counterpart, minestrone. The bare essentials are haricot beans, onion, celery, and tomato; beyond these you can use pretty much any soup-friendly vegetable you like. The pistou sauce is a lovely addition. Italian pesto is essentially the same sauce, and if you want to cut corners use some good from a jar. This soup reheats well.


  • 100g dried haricot beans, soaked in cold water overnight, then cooked (use tinned beans if pressed for time)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, finely sliced
  • 1 or 2 leeks, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 100g potatoes, diced
  • A few carrots or a turnip, diced
  • 2 courgettes, diced (optional)
  • 100g runner or French beans, sliced
  • for the pistou:
  • Bunch fresh basil
  • Handful pine nuts (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste with a little salt
  • 100g Parmesan, freshly grated
  • 150ml olive oil
  • Salt & pepper


  1. if you are cooking the beans yourself, first soak them overnight – half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in the water will help soften the skins.
  2. Simmer, covered with unsalted water, for 30 minutes-1 hour, or until just tender, removing the scum from the surface occasionally.
  3. You can add a garlic bulb cut in half to the cooking water if you like. Add a little salt at the end and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
  4. To make the soup, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan, add the onion, celery and leeks and cook slowly for about 15 minutes, until soft but not coloured.
  5. Add the sliced garlic and cook briefly. Stir in the tomatoes, turn up the heat and add the potatoes, carrot and turnips.
  6. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Add the courgettes and beans, plus enough water just to cover. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  8. Add the cooked haricot beans with enough of their cooking liquor to give a soupy consistency. Season to taste.
  9. Make the pistou: Whiz all the ingredients together in a food processor, then stir into the soup.
want to cook with fresh ingredients? try one of our award winning veg boxes