White Bean Soup with Kale & Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Recipe and photography: Emma Galloway

This is the kind of hearty, hug-from-the-inside kind of soup I crave on cold winter days. Blending a portion of the soup, then adding it back to the pot creates a lovely creaminess without actually adding cream. The kale and pumpkin seed pesto will likely make twice as much as you’ll need to serve with this soup; however, I find it hard to make smaller amounts in my processor, and any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or frozen for later use. To keep this plant-based, I like to use white miso in the pesto, found at most supermarkets or Asian food stores; however, grated Parmesan can be used if preferred.

Serves 4–6

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stick celery, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 litre vegetable stock
3 x 400g tins cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 bay leaf
juice ½ lemon

Kale & Pumpkin Seed Pesto

200g bunch kale, stems removed
2 cloves garlic
1 cup pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
1 green chilli, roughly chopped (remove seeds for less heat)
1 tbsp white miso paste (or ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese)
2 tbsp lemon juice
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat and sauté onion for 4–5 minutes, stirring often until tender. Add carrot, celery, garlic and rosemary and continue to cook for a further 2–3 minutes. Add vegetable stock, beans and bay leaf. Bring to the boil, then reduce and simmer for 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Remove bay leaf and compost. Transfer one-third of the soup to a blender and blend until smooth before returning to the saucepan. Add lemon juice and season well with salt and pepper. Serve hot topped with a spoonful or two of kale and pumpkin seed pesto. Any leftovers will store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3–4 days.

To make the kale and pumpkin seed pesto, combine all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, with the motor still running, drizzle in olive oil and blend until relatively smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 1 week or freeze in small portions for up to 3 months.

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