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Spring Essence Soup with Pistou

I went outside the last part of April and picked what I had available in the garden. I found oregano, leeks, asparagus and rhubarb. This became the base for an essence-of-spring recipe. The rhubarb adds a citrus flavor; which is balanced by the nutty, earthy pistou. It is truly a layering of flavors. —Laurie Bock, Lynden, Washington
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Cook: 25 min.
  • Makes
    6 servings (1-1/2 quarts)


  • 1 medium leek (white portion only), cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 small sweet red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 10 baby red potatoes, quartered
  • 6 fresh asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup chopped fresh rhubarb
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  • In a large saucepan, saute the leek, carrot and red pepper in oil until crisp-tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in stock and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the asparagus, rhubarb, sugar, salt and pepper; cover and simmer 4-6 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender.
  • Meanwhile, place the oregano, hazelnuts, oil, garlic and salt in a food processor; cover and pulse until blended. Serve with soup.
Nutrition Facts
1 cup with 1 teaspoon pistou: 147 calories, 5g fat (1g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 601mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 3g fiber), 6g protein.

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  • Cindy
    Jul 5, 2020

    We received a whole bunch of rhubarb with our last CSA box, and because I'm not a baker I tried to find a savory recipe using some of this bounty. Made this soup for our dinner tonight even though it's about 90 degrees and humid outside! So many levels of flavors and so many wonderful veggies in this dish! I added my own veggie broth made from kitchen scraps (it's a Covid thing I've been doing lately). Hubby and I both really loved this soup and I'll be putting it in our rotation as long as rhubarb is available. Really, really recommend this tasty soup!!

  • pamelou
    Jun 7, 2020

    This is an explosion of complex yet delicious flavors . When I first came across the recipe I had my doubts but I’m so glad I tried it . It’s a keeper