Very Fresh Vegetable Soup with presto pesto

By Rozanne Gold (from Eat Fresh Food: Awesome Recipes for Teen Chefs)

Every ingredient can be found in a farmers' market, except the broth (or you can make the soup with water.)   During summer, use beefsteak tomatoes; in winter, a fourteen-ounce can of imported diced tomatoes will do nicely.  A dollop of your own homemade pesto is a delicious super-fresh touch. 


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups diced re onion
  • 2 cups diced butternut squash
  • 1 cup diced fresh fennel
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 large zucchini, peeled and diced
  • 5 cups firmly packed baby spinach, about 7 ounces


  1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a 6-quart pot.  Add the onions, butternut squash, fennel, parsnip, and 1 teaspoon salt.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and rosemary and cook for 2 more minutes. 
  2. If using fresh tomatoes, dice them into small pieces;  if using canned tomatoes, drain them (and discard the liquid or save it for another use.)
  3. Stir the tomatoes and broth into the pot and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat to medium and cook 10 minutes.  Stir in the zucchini, return the soup to a simmer and cook 10 minutes until the zucchini is tender.  Remove from the heat and stir in the spinach until wilted; add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve hot and dollop with pesto.  Serves 8.  

Presto Pesto


  • 2 large bunches fresh basil
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nut or sliced almonds


  1. Remove the basil leaves from the stems to get 2 packed cups.  Wash leaves and dry well.
  2. Put in a food processor with the remaining ingredients.  Process until just smooth.  Add salt to taste.  Makes about 1 cup

For more healthy recipes: by Rozanne Gold
EAT FRESH FOOD:  Awesome Recipes for Teen Chefs (Bloomsbury)
LOW-CARB 1-2-3:  The Low-Carb, Low Calorie Cookbook (Rodale)
HEALTHY 1-2-3:  The Ultimate Three-Ingredient Cookbook (Stewart, Tabori & Chang)  Jane Brody, New York Times, December 2009 "Eat Fresh Food"

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