French Potage with Pistou Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

French Potage with Pistou

In hospitals throughout France, meals always begin with potage, a blended vegetable soup of leeks, carrots, and potatoes. We’ve jazzed up the mild flavor with a quick pesto sauce that gets stirred in before serving.


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2 Tbs. unsalted butter
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2 medium leeks, white and pale green parts chopped (4 cups)
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¼ cup dry white wine
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4 cloves garlic, minced (4 tsp.)
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1 large russet potato, peeled and diced (2 cups)
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4 medium carrots, chopped (3 cups)
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4 sprigs fresh thyme
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1 bay leaf
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4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

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1 cup firmly packed basil leaves
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¼ cup walnuts, toasted
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1 clove garlic, peeled
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¼ cup olive oil


1. To make Potage: Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and pinch of salt; cover, and cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until leeks are softened, stirring often. Stir in wine and garlic, and cook, uncovered, 1 to 2 minutes, or until most liquid has evaporated.

2. Add potato, carrots, thyme, bay leaf, broth, and 2 cups water. Season with salt and pepper; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 30 minutes, or until potato and carrots are soft.

3. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Purée soup in blender or food processor, or with immersion blender, until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

4. To make Pistou: Place basil, walnuts, and garlic in blender. Pulse to combine. Pour in oil, and blend until smooth. Add water if necessary to form smooth paste. Season with salt and pepper. Serve dollop on top of Potage.

Nutrition Information: 

3 g
Total Fat: 
12 g
Saturated Fat: 
3 g
22 g
8 mg
295 mg
4 g
6 g
Serves 8

Comments on this Recipe

Fantastic! I am NOT someone who can cook. At all. This was really easy and tasted so good. I ate it with the pistou but my husband preferred with out, so I agree you can go either way. I did simmer the soup way longer than recommended (4 hrs. or so) before blending and also simmered it with a rind from parmesan cheese. We also finished it with a touch of heavy cream, but it doesn't need it.

This is a favorite in our house. This pesto gives it a burst of flavor that really works.

This reminds me exactly of the delicious soups I had while living in France. I skip the pistou as it's one more step and the soup is delicious without it!

This was a great recipe, the pesto really adds to the taste. I must have not put enough carrots in mine because my soup was green not orange like the photo, but so yummy!

My soup, too, was a greenish color instead of orange. Nevermind, though, because it was delicous! As a person who counts her calories, however, I'm disappointed that the recipe gives the nutrition information per serving without stating how much constitutes one serving. Wonderful recipe otherwise!

If you're experiencing colour issues the problem may be that you used too much of the green parts of the leeks. As suggested by the recipe "white and pale green" . I did this and it turned out quite orange! I may have also thrown in an extra carrot ;)

At what point do you add the 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth?