Late Summer Vegetable Soup with Basil Pesto

Makes 4 servings

If you choose to freeze the soup to enjoy during the winter months, then undercook the vegetables and allow soup to cool completely before pouring into freezer-safe containers.

Basil Pesto:
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2 cups firmly packed basil leaves
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons warm water
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 carrots, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 medium zucchini, sliced into half moons, about 11/2- 2 cups 
4 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 ear sweet corn, kernels removed from the cob (about 1 cup)
2 cups sliced green beans (about 4 ounces)
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
Salt and pepper, to taste
Shredded parmesan cheese, optional

1. To make basil pesto heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a small skillet over low heat. Add garlic, and heat through until slightly golden (about 2-3 minutes). Transfer to a food processor.

2. In the same skillet, add pinenuts, and toast 1-2 minutes, until golden; add to food processor. Add basil leaves, cheese, water, salt, and pepper. Pour olive oil though processor chute (or simply add with other ingredients), and process until smooth. Note: If you’re not going to use your pesto immediately, then pour in a small sealable container and cover with a layer of olive oil. This will prevent the pesto from turning brown.

3. Heat oil in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery  and cook 5 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add red bell pepper and zucchini, and cook 3 minutes, or until slightly softened. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Add corn and green beans; cook another 3-4 minutes, until string beans are cooked through yet firm. Add cherry tomatoes and 1/2 cup pesto; stir well to combine for about 1 minute and remove from heat. Taste. Season with salt and pepper, and add more pesto, if desired. If you prefer it thinner, add a little more broth. Garnish individual servings with shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Recipe created by Susan Russo of Food Blogga.