Building a pot of soup around two guaranteed crowd-pleasers—tortellini and pesto—makes this an excellent way for home cooks to get kids (and adults) to eat their veggies.
It starts with a brothy brew in which you cook vegetables and tortellini just until tender. Ladle it into bowls and top with a dollop of fresh pesto, which brightens the flavor as soon as it hits the hot liquid.
Soup with Fresh or Frozen Tortellini
The best part is this recipe is endlessly flexible. You can use fresh tortellini, which is available in the refrigerated section of the market where pasta sauces are sold, or frozen. Virtually any flavor variety will do, from cheese to spinach to mushroom.
If you can’t find tortellini, feel free to use fresh ravioli instead. Be sure to read the instructions, since the cooking time may differ.
PESTO IS A FLAVOR BOMB
The upside of homemade pesto is that the flavors are particularly bright and herbaceous when spooned straight from the food processor. Plus, the recipes all make more than you’ll need, so you can store leftovers in the fridge or freezer for another day.
Alternatively, give yourself a break and pick up store-bought pesto instead (there’s no shame in short cuts for the home cook!).
SWAPS, SUGGESTIONS, AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Like so many soups, this one lends itself to lots of substitutions and variations. Here are a few ideas:
- Add cooked Italian white beans or chickpeas for added fiber, protein, and heft.
- Play around with the vegetables. Add a handful of leafy greens at the very end, use a large sliced leek in place of the onion, or add a cup of halved cherry tomatoes.
- If you happen to have homemade chicken stock or store-bought chicken broth on hand, by all means, use it instead of vegetable broth.
- Got a parmesan rind in your fridge? Add it when you pour in the broth. It will season the soup nicely as it simmers. Remove the rind just before serving.
- Most pesto has cheese in it, but this walnut pesto version is dairy-free. So if you’re vegan or just want to avoid dairy use the walnut pesto.
HOW TO STORE AND FREEZE THIS SOUP
Store leftover soup in a covered container in the fridge, where it will keep for a couple of days. The tortellini will soften and absorb more liquid as it sits, so you may want to add more broth the next day.
If you’re making this soup to freeze, I recommend you under-cook the tortellini a bit. It will continue to cook as you cool and reheat the soup. To freeze, let the soup cool, then transfer it to a covered container. Defrost it on the counter for up to two hours or in the fridge overnight.
MORE EASY SPRING SOUP RECIPES
Spring Vegetable Tortellini Soup with Pesto Recipe
This recipe has two back-pocket ingredients that make quick work of dinner: store-bought tortellini and pesto. You’ll find tortellini in the refrigerated or freezer section of the supermarket.
You can either pick up a tub of herb pesto at the market or make your own if time permits. Either way, this soup comes together pretty quickly once you’ve got your vegetables chopped.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 8 ounces fresh or frozen tortellini, any variety
- 1 cup snap peas, cut into thirds
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas
- 1 cup 3/4-inch pieces asparagus, woody ends removed
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/3 cup herb pesto, either store-bought or homemade
1 Sauté the onions and garlic: Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until tender, being sure not to brown them, about 5 minutes.
2 Build the soup: Add the carrots and broth and turn the heat to high. When the broth boils, add the tortellini, snap peas, English peas, and asparagus. Continue to boil until the tortellini is just barely al dente. The time will vary depending on the brand, so read the package instructions.
3 Season the soup: Add the lemon juice, several cracks of black pepper, and 1 to 2 teaspoons salt, as needed (some broth is saltier than others, so adjust according to taste).
4 Serve: Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a spoonful of pesto. Serve immediately.
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