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Vegetarian Pesto Soup (Dairy Free, Vegan, Paleo)

dairy freegluten freegrainpaleoveganvegetarian

Soup is one of the easiest dinners, in part due to its extreme flexibility—as long as its liquid-y and can be served in a bowl, you’re golden. This leads, of course, to a huge amount of soup-like recipes proliferating the internet.

I’ve seen a lot of soups in my short life. I’ve seen noodle soups and Thai soups and phos and soups with root veggies and soups with yogurt dolloped on top. I’ve never, however, seen a pesto soup.

Oh, I’ve seen soups with pesto on top. But what I wanted was a soup that captured everything I love about pesto—the bright basil, the pungent garlickyness, the toasty nuts—and turned it into a liquid that I could slurp away while curled up in way too many blankets on my couch.

Vegetarian Pesto Soup

And, ladies and gentlemen, I nailed it. I understand this is not surprising—it’d be weird if I wrote up this post only to reveal I’d failed at the creation of the soup—but I’m proud of this one. It’s almost offensively simple, tastes delicious, and it’s one of the best immune-boosters around, thanks to the copious amounts of raw garlic (have you heard me wax on about garlic’s antiviral and antibacterial powers? Because I do go on).

Try it yourself, and show me your pics on Instagram—I also feel like this is highly decoratable soup, with lots of room for creativity.

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Vegetarian Pesto Soup

Vegetarian Pesto Soup (Dairy Free, Vegan, Paleo)

  • Author: Liz Moody


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup raw, chopped walnuts
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • A generous pinch of fine grain sea salt
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen broccoli (I like to use frozen because the nutrients in broccoli degrade quickly while its in transit)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 small cloves of garlic, peeled with the woody end chopped off
  • 2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Shaved parmesan (optional)


  1. In a medium pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the walnuts, onion, and salt and saute until they’re golden brown.
  2. Add the broccoli and the stock.  Bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook until the broccoli is fork tender, about 5 minutes (longer with frozen broccoli).
  3. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before transferring to a blender (alternatively, you could blend in the pot with an immersion blender).
  4. Add the garlic, basil, and lemon juice and blend until smooth.
  5. Add additional salt to taste, and top with fresh ground black pepper, parmesan if desired, extra basil or walnuts, and a drizzle of olive oil.

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  1. M C says:

    This was delicious and so unique, thank you for sharing it! My meat eater kids and hubby eat it up 🙂

  2. Erin says:

    This soup was so good and easy to make! I added some nutritional yeast instead of parmesan, this will definitely be a staple recipe going forward, thank you!

  3. Zack says:

    I’m going to give this soup credit for getting rid of my cold earlier this week.

    1. M C says:

      I really love this recipe, so easy and flavorful and healthy, thank you for sharing it!