This makes a big batch of soup, yes, but this is a very good thing, even if it’s just you at home. Vegetable soup keeps well in the fridge for several days, or stick it in the freezer for several months. Make it on the weekend and pat yourself on the back for many meals to come.
If you’re making it now, just to freeze and get ahead for too-busy nights down the road (go you), you can either stir the tomato pistou right into the soup, or hold off on making that component until you’re ready to eat. Though summer tomatoes are king, year-round tomatoes work in this case, since the oven concentrates and intensifies their flavor, even if it’s lackluster to begin with.
Feel free to play around with the vegetables called for. Carrots can make way for parsnips. Fennel or leeks can be replaced with onion. And, as noted in the ingredient lists, the beans and greens are a total free for all.
With respect to the stock: You can buy vegetable stock or make your own by tripling this recipe here. If you’re not vegetarian, feel free to swap in chicken stock—just be mindful of the salt amounts in the broth while seasoning. I would recommend utilizing a lower sodium option if you can.
For garnishes and accompaniments, try red pepper flakes, toasted bread, squeezes of lemon, and shaved or grated Parmesan or Pecorino. —Anna Billingskog
- Prep time 45 minutes
- Cook time 1 hour
- Serves 6 to 8
- Roasted Cherry Tomato Pistou
cherry tomatoes, halved
extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
fresh thyme (or ¾ teaspoon dried thyme)
red pepper flakes (optional)
garlic cloves, left whole with skin on
reserved fennel fronds (see Vegetable Soup below)
fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
- Vegetable Soup
extra-virgin olive oil
baby potatoes, scrubbed and halved (for larger potatoes, do a 1/2-inch dice)
medium carrots, scrubbed and chopped in to 1/2-inch coins (2 cups chopped)
medium bulb fennel, roughly chopped in 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)
leek, cleaned and sliced 1/4-inch inch thick (or 1 small yellow onion, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
chopped fresh rosemary, thyme, or another hearty herb such as marjoram or savory
(15-ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed (or whatever beans you have on hand)
green beans or wax beans, tips removed and cut into 1 1/2–inch pieces
medium bunch of greens (such as kale, collards, escarole, or chard), washed, stemmed and sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch ribbons.
- Heat the oven to 400°F. Dump the cherry tomatoes onto a parchment-lined sheet pan and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the salt, pepper, thyme, and red pepper flakes if using. Combine the the garlic cloves and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small piece of foil (about 12x7-inch). Fold the foil over the cloves and crimp to make a packet; nestle next to the tomatoes on the sheet pan.
- Roast for 25 to 30 minutes on the top rack of the oven, rotating the tray and stirring the tomatoes halfway through. When they are done, the tomatoes should be soft, wrinkled, and beginning to caramelize in spots. The garlic cloves should give instantly when pierced with a toothpick or paring knife. Remove from the oven.
- While the tomatoes and garlic are roasting, begin the soup: Warm the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add the potatoes, carrots, fennel, and leek, with a generous pinch of salt. Sauté over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes, until the fennel and leek have begun to caramelize, and the potatoes and carrots vegetables have begun to soften. Add 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary or thyme (or a combo of both) and continue to stir, adding olive oil along the way if the pot seems dry.
- Slowly add the stock, stirring and scraping up the bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add the white beans and bring to a low boil. Continue to cook for 10 to 15 minutes at a simmer, adjusting the heat as needed until the potatoes are soft (check around 8 minutes) and the beans have absorbed some brothy flavor.
- Add the green beans and greens to the pot and let these simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, until the green beans are bright and tender. Taste the broth for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper. Cut the heat and let the soup mingle while you finish the pistou.
- Transfer the roasted tomatoes (including all their oils and juices) to a food processor or clean cutting board. Push the soft garlic cloves from their skins and add to the tomato mixture.
- If you're using a food processor, pulse a few times to roughly chop. Add the fennel fronds and basil and pulse to combine. With the food processor running, stream in the remaining 1⁄4 cup of olive oil until the pistou is nearly smooth but a few chunks of tomato remain. If you're using a knife and board, chop until the pieces are about 1/8-inch in size and scrape the mixture into a medium bowl. Now finely chop the herbs and add to the bowl with the tomatoes. Drizzle in the olive oil and stir to combine well. Regardless of method, taste for seasoning here, adding more chile flakes, salt, and/or pepper to taste.
- To serve: Ladle your soup into serving bowls. Top with a generous spoonful of the tomato pistou. Optional but highly recommended—serve with grated cheese, toasted bread, or lemon wedges to squeeze on top.