Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tomato Pesto Soup

Each year, my dad and brother plant a gigantic garden in the backyard. It's full of wonderful fruits and vegetables, including corn, peppers, tomatoes, grapes, muskmelon, raspberries and more. Here's my dad lovingly tending to his grape plants.

Most of the food gets eaten fresh, straight from the garden. However, the tomato bounty is always plentiful--a little too plentiful sometimes. So at the end of the season, my dad and I (or my sister and I) do a day's worth of canning tomatoes. With around 60 quarts by the time we're finished, I have plenty of jarred tomatoes for homemade spaghetti sauce, chili and soups for the entire year.

So I know that hearty tomato-based soups are a little out of season, but this soup that I came across on the Soup and Dessert blog just begged me to make it (with a few slight alterations). It's packed with protein, fresh vegetables and explosive flavors that will truly satisfy you.


1 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs. pesto
2 c. cooked and shredded chicken
2 (14 oz.) cans great northern beans
1 (28 oz.) jar whole tomatoes (with all liquids)
3 c. water
2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 c. small pasta
1/4 c. ajvar*
salt and pepper
cornstarch + water (for thickening, optional)
Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

Heat butter and olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, garlic, salt and pepper. Saute until soft, about 10 minutes. Add pesto and cook an additional 2 minutes.

Add chicken, tomatoes and juices, water, beans and spices. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and add pasta and ajvar. Simmer until pasta is soft, about 10 minutes. Add additional salt and pepper as needed. Thicken with cornstarch + water if necessary. Ladle into bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese.

* Ajvar is a Middle Eastern spread made of roasted eggplant, red bell peppers and garlic. I purchased mine at Trader Joe's (see review of the product here). Ajvar tastes great spread on crackers or pita bread with a tangy cheese, like feta or goat cheese. In this recipe, it added a great depth of flavor to the tomato base.


  1. This looks delicious - thank you! I've never heard of ajvar, but it sounds good. I think I'll go to Trader Joe's and pick some up!

  2. I like the sound of using pesto in a soup. It would add so much flavour.