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I love pureed soups.  Don’t get me wrong, I won’t turn my nose up at thick, chunky, soups/stews.  Nor will I refuse to make them.  But, the sight of a perfectly blended soup is one to behold, especially when it is a vibrant color such as the one I have made here.  Plus, soup is a perfect meal made in one pot and who does not love one pot meals?  This soup also involves the blender so nothing has to be finely chopped.  You can also be creative and switch this soup up with different veggies and pestos.  This soup looks reminds me of a warm sun (summer not so far off), while also very evocative of the leaves turning colors during the fall season we are in now.  It is also comforting while also being filling and most importantly, healthy.  I serve it with a dollop of my asparagus pesto on the top and a toasted whole wheat pita.   

Pureed Veggie Soup with Asparagus Pesto

2 tblsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 sweet potato or yam, chopped (I left the skin on mine)
1 yellow pepper (or red/orange)
4 large carrots, chopped
1 tblsp tomato paste
1 bay leaf
4 c low salt vegetable stock
salt and pepper

In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onion, garlic, sweet potato, carrots, and pepper and toss to coat.  Add a pinch of olive oil and saute over medium heat (my stove gets really hot so adjust yours to suit) for a few minutes.  Put cover on and sweat veggies for about five minutes.  Uncover and add tomato paste, bay leaf, and veggie stock.  Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low and simmer for about a half hour, until carrots and sweet potato are soft.  Remove bay leaf.  Puree soup in a blender (you may need to do it in two batches), use an immersion blender in stock pot or your food processor and process till silky smooth.  Return soup to pot and get ready to serve it after you make the pesto.

Asparagus Pesto

1 package of fresh basil (I don’t measure it but it’s probably about 2-3 cups)
1 regular bunch of asparagus, blanched (I don’t measure or weigh this either)
2 handfuls of nuts (I used pecans and almonds today)
1/2 tsp harissa (Moroccan red pepper paste/sauce) or red pepper flakes, optional
salt and pepper to taste
couple of splashes of olive oil

Put basil in food processor.  Then break the woody ends off the asparagus (approximately the bottom third of the asparagus stalk – I omit this step when using really thin asparagus).  Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt.  Add the asparagus and boil for 4 minutes.  Drain and add to food processor.  Add the nuts, salt and pepper, harissa/red pepper flakes, and olive oil and process till of a pesto texture.  Adjust for seasoning.  Add a bit more olive oil if you want of a tablespoon of water.  I like my pesto to be fairly thick.

*You can also use this pesto on pasta, pizzas, as a dip, or as a spread on a sammie.

Serve soup with a dollop of pesto right on top and some whole wheat pita or crusty whole grain bread.  Mmmm.

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