Cleanse recipe: Minestrone soup with pesto

This delicious soup is a cinch to make and keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days.  If you are cleansing, you could opt to cut down on the potatoes (or eliminate them altogether).  The potatoes just end up adding starch, which I generally try to avoid large amounts of while on a detox.

When cleansing, I buy a vegan pesto, which does not contain any parmesan cheese.  If you aren’t cleansing, the regular basil pesto (made with parmesan cheese) is the way to go — it’s aboslutely delicious mixed into the soup.  Also if you aren’t cleansing, this tastes delicious served with crusty bread, lightly brushed with olive oil and thrown under the broiler, then sprinkled with salt or rubbe with garlic.  Enjoy!!

Makes 6 servings


3 tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

6 c. vegetable broth

2 carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

6 fingerling potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces

3 small zucchini, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 15-oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

4 tomatoes, peeled, diced (or 1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes)

1 tsp. (or more, to taste) dried basil leaves

1 bay leaf

2 c. fresh spinach leaves, chopped

6 tbsp. pesto (vegan or vegetarian, depending on whether you are cleansing)

Freshly grated parmesan cheese, to taste (optional — not while cleansing)



Heat oil in large heavy pot over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic, and saute until soft, ~ 4 minutes.  Add broth and next 9 ingredients.  Increase to high heat and bring soup to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover pot, and simmer until potatoes are tender, ~15 minutes.  Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. 

To serve, place 1/4 c. of torn spinach leaves into bottom of bowl.  Ladle soup on top of spinach; garnish each bowl with 1 tbsp. pesto.  Serve, passing parmesan cheese separately.

Adapted from Bon Appetit, August 2004.

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