Pesto & White Bean Soup (vegan | plant-based)

This soup was inspired by Italian Wedding Soup. Granted, it’s really nothing like Italian Wedding Soup, other than being Italian-inspired and containing pearled couscous. But inspired it was.

I pack this soup with Italian flavor using fennel seed, a staple ingredient in Italian sausage, white beans and basil pesto. You can use store-bought pesto but my vegan and nut-free Spinach & Basil Pesto is so easy to make, and a lot more economical than buying from the store. My recipe also makes twice as much as you’ll need for this soup, which means you’ll have more to use in another meal. Score!

I’m a pro when it comes to soup so you can pretty much guarantee this one will be fire. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Pesto & White Bean Soup
serves 4-6


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large sweet or yellow onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt, fine grain
2 teaspoons fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake
1 dry bay leaf
4 cups veggie stock or broth, low- or reduced-sodium
2 14-oz cans white beans, drained/rinsed
1 cup pearled couscous (Israeli couscous)
3/4 cup basil pesto, get my vegan pesto recipe here
5 oz fresh baby spinach

To Make

Add olive oil to large pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, fennel seeds and red pepper flake. Sauté for 8-10 minutes, until veggies are soft. Add veggie stock, 4 cups water, bay leaf, and beans. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Mostly cover with lid and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf, discard.

Remove about 2 cups of soup, a mixture of beans and broth. Add to a blender or a vessel for an immersion blender. Blend until smooth (careful, it’s hot!).

Add pearled couscous to pot with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Gently boil until cooked. Add blended soup back in to the pot along with 1/2 cup of the pesto, reserving the rest for serving.

Stir in baby spinach until wilted. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes. Add salt to taste. Add water/broth to consistency, if desired. To serve, top each bowl with a dollop of reserved pesto.


If making ahead, consider waiting to add the spinach until heating up just before serving. The color of the spinach will be brighter.

3 thoughts on “Pesto & White Bean Soup (vegan | plant-based)

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