by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by MSPhotographic/Shutterstock.com
Fun Food StorySkip to recipe
Super Simple "Soupe au Pistou"
"Soupe au Pistou" (pronounced Soup oh PEACE-too) originated in Provence, and I like to think of it as the French version of minestrone soup. Parents love it because it’s packed with veggies; kids love it because it’s so flavorful; and everybody loves how easy it is to make! The magic ingredient in Soupe au Pistou is fresh, aromatic basil. Since basil is abundant during summer months, this is a great dish to make when the weather is warm (yes, you really can eat soup in summer!). Serve it as a starter or dish up a big ol’ bowl alongside a slab of French bread and call it a meal. Bon Appetit!
Happy & Healthy Cooking,
Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief
Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills
- chop :
to cut something into small, rough pieces using a blade.
- drizzle :
to trickle a thin stream of a liquid ingredient, like icing, over food.
- knife skills :
Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls).
- measure :
to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).
- sauté :
to cook or brown food in a pan containing a small quantity of butter, oil, or other fat.
- season :
to add flavor to food with spices, herbs, and salt.
- simmer :
to cook a food gently, usually in a liquid, until softened.
- sprinkle :
to scatter small drops or particles of an ingredient evenly or randomly over food.
- Large pot
- Cutting board + kid-safe knife
- Can opener
- Measuring spoons
- Liquid measuring cup
- Wooden spoon
Super Simple "Soupe au Pistou"
- 1 medium russet potato or sweet potato
- 2 green onions
- 1 carrot
- 1 handful of fresh basil leaves
- 1 T vegetable oil
- 1 pinch of all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free flour)**
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves or 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 can cannellini beans, drained
- 3 C water
Food Allergen Substitutions
Super Simple "Soupe au Pistou"
- Gluten/Wheat: Substitute gluten-free flour for all-purpose flour in Soupe au Pistou.
Super Simple "Soupe au Pistou"
As the name implies, this soup recipe is simple and quick to whip together. "Soupe au Pistou" (Soup oh PEACE-too) is a hearty French classic that generally consists of potatoes, beans, and basil pesto. This recipe won’t deviate from the original. The longer this soup simmers the more flavorful it becomes. This makes this recipe the perfect soup for anyone who needs a go-to recipe that you can throw on a back burner in the afternoon, and by dinnertime you have the perfect, hearty meal ready-to-go.
chop + drizzle
Start by chopping 1 potato, 2 garlic cloves, 2 green onions, and 1 carrot into a rough, large dice. Measure 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and drizzle that into a large pot over medium heat. Place all the chopped vegetables in the large pot.
sauté + sprinkle
Sauté the vegetables for about 5 to 7 minutes while sprinkling 1 pinch of flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper into the pot.
simmer + stir
Add 1 can of drained cannellini beans and 3 cups of water to the pot. Simmer the soup, stirring occasionally, for at least 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
season + tear + serve
After simmering the soup to your desired consistency, season with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. Tear and toss in 1 handful of basil leaves. Serve immediately. The longer the soup sits with the fresh basil the more flavorful it will become; however, the basil will wilt and begin to turn a very dark green, almost black color. Serve this Super Simple "Soupe au Pistou'' alongside Fresh Fast French Bread (see recipe) and cleanse your palate with Elegant French Basil Sorbet (see recipe). Bon Appetit!
Surprise Ingredient: Basil!back to recipe
Photo by Chizhevskaya Ekaterina/Shutterstock.com
Hi! I’m Basil!
"Ciao (chow)! I'm Basil! But you can also call me Genovese basil (that's Italian, from Genoa). My leaves are usually used fresh, added late in cooking to keep my flavor. If you combine me with olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese, you'll have a yummy, green Italian sauce called "pesto," which is good on pasta. You'll also find me on a delicious but simple pizza from Naples, Italy, called "pizza margherita." Besides fresh basil leaves, Neapolitans (people from Naples) traditionally top this pizza with a tomato sauce from San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt. I don't know about you, but I'm getting hungry for some Italian food! Buon appetito!"
- A long time ago, Greeks and Romans believed basil would only grow if you screamed wild curses and shouted while sowing the seeds. They also thought that If you left a basil leaf under a pot, it would turn into a scorpion!
- Basil may have originated in India; there are speculations that it originally came from tropical areas spanning from Southeast Asia to Central Africa.
- Ancient Egyptians used to use basil to embalm the dead and prepare for burial.
- In Italy, basil is considered a token of love, and in Romania, if a girl gives a sprig of basil to her boyfriend, they are engaged.
Anatomy & Etymology
- Basil is a part of the mint family. There are 50 to 150 species, including Genovese (Italian) basil (the most common), Thai basil, cinnamon basil, lemon basil, lettuce basil, spicy globe basil, and green ruffles basil! Each type of basil has a unique aroma and taste.
- Leaves of the basil plant tend to be oval-shaped, shiny, and smooth-edged. Their edges cup slightly.
- Basil plants can grow to be from 8 inches to 4 feet high.
- Basil has seeds that can germinate after 10 years!
- Basil will grow small flowers that look like spikes at the top of the plant. The flowers are edible, but we generally eat and use just the leaves.
- The word "basil" comes from the Greek "vasilikos," which also means "royal." It is believed that basil was once used in royal perfumes.
How to Pick, Buy, & Eat
- Basil grows best in hot climates. When harvesting basil, pinch or cut the leaves at the stem from the top of the plant down. Select a few large leaves rather than snipping the whole stem. Choose leaves that are bright and free from blemishes. Picking leaves encourages the plant to produce more leaves.
- You could also try growing basil in a pot on your kitchen window sill, so it's easy to pick what you need when you need it.
- Wash basil gently and pat dry. When you buy basil from the store, it will often come with its stems. Trim the ends of the stems and store in a glass of water as you would a bunch of flowers. Basil stores best at room temperature.
- Use fresh basil leaves in salads, salad dressings, sauces, pasta, marinades, and sandwiches. Flavor cold water with basil leaves for a summer refresher, or add some mint with the leaves to make a digestive hot tea. Basil can be dried or blanched and frozen.
- Basil contains 98% of our DV of Vitamin K1 in just one-half of a cup! Vitamin K1 is essential for blood clotting. For example, when we get a cut, we need our blood to clot so that the bleeding will stop and our cut will heal.
- Basil contains carotenoids—those powerful plant-based nutrients that protect our cells from oxidation (rust) and enhance immunity.
- Essential oils found in basil not only give it its aromatic and therapeutic scent but are also anti-inflammatory.
- Basil has been shown to act as an adaptogen. Adaptogens are natural substances that help us respond in a healthful way to stress. So the next time you're feeling stressed, grab a handful of basil, hold it to your nose, and breathe in deeply. Then, toss it in your salad and eat it.
What is "Soupe au Pistou"?
Photo by from my point of view/Shutterstock.com
- "Soupe au pistou" (Soup oh PEACE-too) is a soup with basil pesto from the Provence region of France. The "pistou" is made from fresh basil, fresh garlic, and olive oil. It differs from Genoese pesto as it does not include pine nuts.
- "Soupe au pistou" is similar to minestrone and usually consists of white beans, a mix of seasonal vegetables, small dried pasta, seasonings, and broth or water. The "pistou" is added right before serving.
- To speed up the recipe in the Sticky Fingers Cooking version, Super Simple "Soupe au Pistou," torn basil leaves are added to the soup before serving, rather than making a "pistou."
Let's Learn About France!
Photo by Alliance Images/Shutterstock.com
- Bonjour (hello)! Bienvenue en (welcome to) France and the spectacular Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo da Vinci, and ancient Roman ruins in the Provence region.
- France is a European country, and its official name is the French Republic. The capital city is Paris, which also has the most people.
- France's land area is 248,573 square miles. That is almost the size of the US state of Texas! The number of people in France is 67,874,000, about 43 percent more than in Texas.
- The official and national language is French, which is also the official language in 12 other countries, and a co-official language in 16 countries, including Canada.
- France's government consists of a president, a prime minister, and a parliament and is divided into regions and departments rather than states and counties.
- The French have a well-known motto, "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity."
- In addition to the Eiffel Tower, France is known for the Louvre, the most visited art museum worldwide (the Mona Lisa resides there), the Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the French Riviera (Côte d'Azur) in southeastern France on the Mediterranean coast.
- France is famous for the "beaux-arts" (fine arts). Paris is still home to many artists and great painters, artisans, and sculptors. Great literature came from French authors, such as Victor Hugo's novels Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
- Paris has two popular nicknames. The most common is "The City of Light" (La Ville Lumière), which came about because Paris was the first European city to implement street lighting in 1860, lighting up the city with 56,000 gas street lamps. The second is "The City of Love," (La Ville de L'amour). This name is probably due to Paris being considered one of the most romantic cities in the world and the high number of marriage proposals at the Eiffel Tower!
- French cuisine is known for its freshness and high quality. Many of the world's greatest pastries originated in France, such as the croissant, eclair, and macaron!
- Other French foods are escargot (snails!), baguette (bread), ratatouille (roasted tomato, zucchini, and eggplant—remember the movie?!), and crepes (very thin pancakes).
What's It Like to Be a Kid in France?
- Most kids start school (preschool) at around age three. Depending on the area and the school, students go to school 4 to 5 days a week. They often get a 1½-hour lunch break, and some kids go home for lunch.
- Dinner is served at 7:30 pm or later, so afternoon snacks are essential. "Le goûter" (goo-tay), or afternoon tea, often includes a "tartine," a slice of bread topped with something sweet or savory (like cheese, butter and jam, or Nutella). Other popular snacks are yogurt, fromage blanc (white cheese), and fruit.
- Popular sports for kids are soccer, bicycling, and tennis.
- There are several parks in France, in and around Paris. Napoleon III even designed one of them, the Bois de Boulogne, where you can find beautiful gardens, lakes, a zoo, an amusement park, and two horse racing tracks. In addition, kids can go on pony rides, play mini-golf, and race remote control boats at many public parks.
- Of course, kids can also go to the most popular theme park in Europe, Disneyland Paris, which opened in 1992. While there, kids can go on a ride unique to Disneyland Paris: Ratatouille: The Adventure!