top of page

Pasta Pistou - French Pesto Pasta Soup (A Kid Favorite!)

Updated: Jan 5, 2022

French Pesto Pasta Soup is a kid and adult favorite. It’s got tender brown rice pasta, is full of delicious veggies – fennel, Swiss chard, kale, onions, garlic, carrots, and tomatoes, and is topped with a herbed pesto.

Kale is a superfood

Kale is a cruciferous winter veggie and is a true superfood! It is packed with fiber, vitamins, and nutrients and is used as part of cardiologist Caldwell Esselstyn's therapy for treating heart disease.

When kale is chewed, enzymes in the mouth help create a protective gas called nitric oxide in the blood. Nitric oxide makes the lining of your blood vessels like Teflon, helping to prevent plaques from forming.

According to Dr. Esselstyn, patients with advanced heart disease, looking for a reversal diet, are put on an oil-free, whole-food, plant-based diet and eat six servings of steamed kale with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar per day! - Source: Prevent And Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure, Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr.

White Beans are so good for you

White beans are low in fat and high in protein, fiber, and vitamins and nutrients!

A 1-cup (170-gram) serving of cooked white beans provides (Source):

Calories: 242

Protein: 17 grams

Fat: 0.6 grams

Fiber: 11 grams

Copper: 55% of the Daily Value (DV)

Folate: 36% of the DV

Iron: 36% of the DV

Potassium: 21% of the DV

Thiamine: 17% of the DV

Phosphorus: 28% of the DV

Magnesium: 26% of the DV

Zinc: 22% of the DV

Calcium: 16% of the DV

Vitamin B6: 12% of the DV

Riboflavin: 6% of the DV

Selenium: 4% of the DV

Garlic is medicine

Garlic was used throughout history, not as food, but as medicine, that's how powerful it is! Garlic boosts our immune system, is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal and has no side effects!

Kids LOVE this recipe

Scroll through the above photos above and you'll see that the kids had a blast cooking, stirring, and eating up this soup! There's something about the mix of veggies, beans, pasta and pesto that's simply magical.

About this French Pesto Soup

For kids of all ages, we like serving with toasted bread, such as this Deland Bakery oatmeal bread (made with oatmeal flour, filtered water, sea salt, baking powder). Here it’s topped with a bit of vegan butter – but it’s not necessary and can be easily omitted for plant-based (it just looked a bit dry in the photo – you know, for food styling and all). The pasta we used is Tinkyada brand, brown rice pasta.

This is a lot of fun to cook with a big group, or yourself for a big group! With the weather getting colder, it comes right in time too. But if you ask me, this is one of those recipes that’s great any time of the year. If you’re not a fennel fan, don’t worry, it’s a very mild undertone in the recipe and won’t be overpowering.

French Pesto Pasta Soup

Serves: 6

Pasta Pistou Soup (French - Parsnip, Carrot, White Beans) Private Lesson
Download PDF • 110KB


  • 2 Tbsp broth or olive oil

  • ½ onion

  • 2-3 cloves of garlic

  • ½ fennel bulb plus 2 Tbsp chopped fennel fronds

  • ½ cup chopped parsnips

  • ½ cup chopped carrots

  • 1 rounded Tbsp dried herbs de Provence*

  • 1 can diced tomatoes, liquid drained

  • 4 cups veggie broth

  • 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed

  • 4 large kale leaves, spinach, or Swiss chard leaves

  • ½ cup dried rice or quinoa macaroni noodles

  • Sea salt & pepper, to taste

  • Juice of 1 lemon (plus more for each serving)

  • ¼ cup or more, nutritional yeast

  • Crusty bread for serving

Pesto Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup broth or olive oil

  • 4 cups fresh herbs and greens*

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • a few pinches coarse salt

  • Juice of ½ lemon

  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast


  1. Heat 2 Tbsp broth or olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat; add onion, stirring frequently until soft; add garlic and fennel, and season with salt and pepper; add parsnips, carrots, and herbes de Provence; cook for about 8 more minutes.

  2. Add a small amount of veggie broth to deglaze the pan; scraping any brown bits off the bottom; add the remaining broth, tomatoes, and beans. Reduce heat and simmer until root veggies are soft – about 20 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, place all pesto ingredients in a food processor; taste and re-season if necessary.

  4. Chop the kale or Swiss chard leaves and stir into the pot, macaroni noodles, and fennel fronds, and continue to simmer until the noodles are cooked; about 10 more minutes.

  5. Taste and adjust seasonings. Finish with generous squeezes of lemon, extra nutritional yeast, and a spoonful of pistou, per bowl. Serve with crusty bread.

*Herbs and greens such as basil, thyme, tarragon, kale, and spinach

By: Dawn Hutchins

French Pesto Pasta Soup - with no bread or oil

Nutrition Facts

6 Servings

Amount Per Serving

Calories 186.8

Total Fat 0.5 g

Saturated Fat 0.1 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g

Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g

Cholesterol 0.0 mg

Sodium 977.6 mg

Potassium 592.6 mg

Total Carbohydrate 36.4 g

Dietary Fiber 8.6 g

Sugars 6.5 g

Protein 11.0 g

Vitamin A 45.5 %

Vitamin B-12 53.3 %

Vitamin B-6 191.0 %

Vitamin C 30.6 %

Vitamin D 0.0 %

Vitamin E 1.7 %

Calcium 9.9 %

Copper 6.4 %

Folate 6.8 %

Iron 17.2 %

Magnesium 4.1 %

Manganese 10.5 %

Niacin 98.3 %

Pantothenic Acid 42.7 %

Phosphorus 4.0 %

Riboflavin 215.3 %

Selenium 14.6 %

Thiamin 245.2 %

Zinc 9.3 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

French Pesto Pasta Soup - without bread but including oil

Nutrition Facts

6 Servings

Amount Per Serving

Calories 306.1

Total Fat 14.0 g

Saturated Fat 1.9 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 1.2 g

Monounsaturated Fat 10.0 g

Cholesterol 0.0 mg

Sodium 977.6 mg

Potassium 592.6 mg

Total Carbohydrate 36.4 g

Dietary Fiber 8.6 g

Sugars 6.5 g

Protein 11.0 g

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


But where do you get your protein? Guess what, plants have protein!

Check out my Plant-Protein Power cookbook

Home-cooked. Simple. Fast.


Dawn Hutchins is a plant-based lifestyle educator, author, and self-taught chef. She holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition through Cornell University and the T. Colin Campbell Foundation and is a certified Nutritional Therapist with a focus on epigenetics. Discover the benefits that over 35,000 people have experienced through her recipes, cookbooks, and revolutionary programs, learning how to eat more whole, plant foods – and loving it!

278 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page