Butternut and Bean Soup with Pesto


Once I am convinced the cold weather is here to stay, a mantra starts in my head when contemplating what to make for dinner – must. make. soup.  This particular combination of butternut and beans is perfect –  healthy, filling, creamy with no cream and delightful to eat with the variety of flavors it brings forth.  Sometimes I feel butternut soup can veer a bit too sweet in some soup recipes – to counter that, the pesto completely balances all the tastes you have coming in – little sweet from squash, little kick from the chile de arbol (totally worth tracking this down in your store – use in place of dried crushed red pepper in recipes – has much more flavor) – the pesto livens it all up and is a perfect mediator between the two.

Give it a whirl with the munchkins – evidence below that at least one of my children was totally down with it!


Butternut and Bean Soup with Pesto


  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1" cubes (or those nicely packaged, already peeled and cut up butternuts!)
  • 1 -1lb 13oz can of small white beans, drained and well rinsed (or 2 of the regular sized cans)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 dried chile de arbol chopped up (or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes)
  • olive oil
  • water
  • prepared pesto or your favorite recipe for it. Most markets sell pesto in the refrigerated section - grab that stuff over the shelf stable. Add a squirt of lemon to brighten it up.


  1. In a large pot over medium high heat, add 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil and once that warms up - a minute or so- add onions. Cook those for a few minutes, toss in chile de arbol, continue stirring and cooking until onion starts to soften and turn translucent, then add chopped butternut.
  2. Cover all of that with water and keep at a vigorous simmer until squash is tender- check after 20 minutes. Should be easily mashed with a fork - just grab a piece out. Add more water if level drops below the vegetables.
  3. Scoop out the butternut and onions with a strainer - or drain into a colander over a large bowl to save the cooking water. Add squash and rinsed beans to a blender or food processor and add little bit of water at a time while blending until a thick cream like consistency is reached.
  4. Return to pot and generously add salt and pepper - stir and taste.
  5. To serve, scoop into a bowl and dollop a tablespoon of pesto on top. Stir to combine right before eating.

Busting up the photo shoot.  How could I ever say no to that face??

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