Borlotti Minestrone with Arugula Pesto

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Perfect for a cold winter's day!  Borlotti Minestrone with Arugula Pesto!

Every time I make a soup that has some sort of garnish, I swear that I will never make an un-garnished soup again.  Then you get months and months of plain soup, until I stumble upon another garnished soup and the process begins again.

I am never making an un-garnished soup again.

Most of you know that I joined a bean club and get regular shipments of beans from Rancho Gordo.  Along with their fabulous beans, I have their fabulous cookbook, Heirloom Beans: Great Recipes for Dips and Spreads, Soups and Stews, Salads and Salsas, and Much More from Rancho Gordo– well I’ve gotten a little behind on my beans and have a huge basket full of them.  So, I pulled out the cookbook and started looking.

I immediately found Borlotti Minestrone with Arugula Pesto.  I was a smidgen doubtful because it had no meat – not even the ubiquitous ham bone.  But what it did have was arugula pesto.  I love pesto in any way, all ways, all the time.  So swallowing my doubts (and spoonfuls of arugula pesto) I made it.

Arugula Pesto!  Perfect for topping soups or pasta or even a pizza!!

It was wonderful!!!  The fennel added a lovely touch and the flavors blended together beautifully.  The pesto added a brightness to the soup.  The recipe makes plenty of pesto which is great on sandwiches or stirred into rice or pasta.

Borlotti Minestrone with Arugula Pesto

Yield: 4-6


  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • salt
  • 1/2 medium head green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut in half
  • 2 cups cooked borlotti beans, in their broth (I used uncooked and soaked overnight)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Pesto
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • salt
  • 1/4 pound baby arugula leaves
  • about 1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • fresh ground black pepper


  1. In a soup pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil.  Add the onion, garlic, fennel, and pinch of salt and saute until the vegetables are soft and fragrant about 10 minutes.  Add the cabbage, stir to coat with oil and cook until it’s wilted – about 5 minutes.  Add the broth, another pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes.  Add the green beans and the borlotti beans and simmer for 15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.
  2. ***note, I made mine entirely in the slow cooker.  I soaked the dried beans over night, added everything but the green beans and let it cook on low for about 8 hours.  During the last hour, I added the green beans.
  3. For the pesto – Put the garlic, arugula, parsley and a pinch of salt in a food processer.  Process until well chopped.  With the motor running slowly drizzle in the olive oil, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed.  Add the Parmesand the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a dollop of pesto.  Store any leftover pesto in the fridge for up to a week. (I froze some of mine).
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  1. says

    if i was ever going to join a club that sent foods to my door, it’d be a bean club. no question.
    LOVE pesto of any kind, and this sounds like a marvelous soup!

  2. says

    Arugula pesto is a new one for me although I did just have an artichoke pesto that was fabulous! I’ll have to give this a try.

  3. says

    I am with you–soups with good toppings and garnishes are usually my favorites. 😉 Thanks for sharing this one with Souper Sundays. I love the beans with the pesto combination.

  4. says

    I like fennel a lot, but I have never added it to soups for fear of overwhelming the other flavors. I’ll be more daring next time. Love the bright green of the pesto.

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