Chicken Pesto Minestrone

Something is happening to my brain. And it’s starting to scare me.

It all started with the most devastating news ever ever ever. Whitney. When I found out, of course I spent the next 36.5 hours cradling my laptop, glued to YouTube, singing along through unruly sobs to I Will Always Love You. And things were fine! Almost healing. Almost therapeutic.


Ugh, I’ve always been in such AWE of her mouth. Teeth so straight it’s like they came straight from a table saw. Lips so perfectly shaped they could run for Mayor of her face. And win.


But I believe it was on the 19,254th listen, that it happened. It got stuck inside my head hole and is never leaving. Ever again. I am SO sick of wishing him joy, you guys. About to kick something if I have to wish him happiness one more time. And if above all this, I have to wish him love, one.more.finger.flipping.time? I’m going to rip my own mouth off my face.

On the verge of a colossal breakdown, I sweaty-fingered texted Jessica, who is obviously sharing in the grief.

“Quick!” she texts, “Blast Be My Baby Tonight! It’s much more upbeat and will FIX THIS.”

Uh, it did for 3 minutes until the song ended and BITTERSWEET MEMORIES BOMBED MY BRAIN AGAIN.



After 6 hours (not kidding) of remedy and antidote testing (acting out the entire scene to “I am 16 Going on 17” WITH AIR), down the ledge texts, glasses of wine, and spoonfuls of biscoff, we came up with….well nothing. We’re screwed for life.

But I think the important lesson in all of this is to always have an Olympic-sized trough of blow-your-mind chicken pesto minestrone on hand to get you through these delicate times in life.

And a fully charged phone battery.


Kill me now.

What it took for 4:

* 4 cups baby spinach
* 1 cup fresh basil leaves
* 1/4 cup slices almonds (or whole)
* 3 cloves garlic, chopped
* 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
* 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* pinch of coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
* 5 cups chicken stock
* 1 cup small pasta shells
* 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
* 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
* 1/2 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and sliced into 1-inch pieces

Toss the spinach, basil, almonds, garlic, parmesan, salt and pepper into a food processor. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin stream, until you get a pesto consistency.

Bring the chicken stock to a light boil. Add the pasta shells and cook 1 minute. Add the chicken, pesto, tomatoes and asparagus. Simmer another 5 minutes until the pasta is al dente and the asparagus is crisp-tender. Taste. Need more salt? Toss in a pinch.

Ladle the soup into bowls and snort, I MEAN EAT with more cheese on top. Oh dear.

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52 Responses to Chicken Pesto Minestrone

  1. Maria February 16, 2012 at 2:31 pm #
    Love pesto and I love the green color!
  2. Jenny Flake February 16, 2012 at 2:31 pm #
    Another gorgeous recipe from your kitchen! Loving that green! Standing ovation over here in CA :)
  3. marla February 16, 2012 at 2:34 pm #
    Such a bright & stunning soup! Funny, lately I have been adding a GIANT dab of pesto to my bowl of soup. Great minds think alike, yes?
  4. Gina @ Running to the Kitchen February 16, 2012 at 2:34 pm #
    I chose to spend my time mourning Whitney with thoughts of her dancing and feeling the "heat" with somebody up there. It's a much happier thought ;) btw- this looks TO DIE FOR. Pesto makes everything better.
  5. Jill February 16, 2012 at 2:35 pm #
    This looks great! Thanks for sharing. :)
  6. Jessica @ How Sweet February 16, 2012 at 2:36 pm #
    omggggg. I am dying of hysterics. Too bad this is 100% true. Life needed!!
  7. Tessa @ Handle the Heat February 16, 2012 at 2:43 pm #
    I love how the green in this soup matches your blog design color! I think the worst part of Whitney's passing and her songs for me is that I can't sing along for the life of me!! No voice here.
  8. Ann from Sumptuous Spoonfuls February 16, 2012 at 2:52 pm #
    Soup and pesto, wine and friends ... the perfect antidote to anything. Hugs to you. I totally know how you feel.
  9. Kathryn February 16, 2012 at 2:53 pm #
    Pesto makes everything better.
  10. kelley February 16, 2012 at 3:20 pm #
    My youth and Whitney go hand in hand. She comforted me through many a bad hair days. It's just so so sad. *sigh* On a more happy note, this soup looks amaze balls.
  11. Deborah February 16, 2012 at 3:23 pm #
    Gorgeous soup!! And I can see how it would be might healing! :)
  12. Cindy Martin February 16, 2012 at 3:24 pm #
    Such a pretty soup to look the creator!! :)
  13. Grishma @ZaikaZabardast February 16, 2012 at 3:40 pm #
    Oh Bev! Just minus the chicken stuff from this and it's just perfect for me :) Love the green color. BTW what do you suggest to substitute chicken? And are u planning to attend FBF?
    • Bev Weidner February 16, 2012 at 5:06 pm #
      Hey, Grishma! Are you vegetarian? If so, I say just double up on the veggies! Maybe zucchini or squash? Or heck, more pasta. ALWAYS more pasta. Unfortunately I'm not going to FBF next Month. Boo. I know. Are you going? I'll miss you for sure! Any chance you're going to BHF this June in Seattle? I'll be there!
  14. Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids February 16, 2012 at 3:42 pm #
    You make me smile each and every time I read one of your posts. And, I am so happy that you posted this recipe. I have been dying to see it since you posted the beautiful picture on Instagram. No, really, I am not stalking you. Promise. :) Now, change your radio station and dance to the 80s or something. Have a great day, Bev!
  15. Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables February 16, 2012 at 3:44 pm #
    I've never thought to put pesto in soup, I love it!
  16. Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe February 16, 2012 at 3:50 pm #
    This is truly gorgeous. What a fabulous idea!
  17. Deanna B. February 16, 2012 at 3:51 pm #
    Just go get the song in someone else's head. Oh wait, you did. It's stuck in mine...thanks for that.
  18. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga February 16, 2012 at 3:56 pm #
    The soup looks fab and I've been loving asparagus lately. Love those little stalks!
  19. Samantha @ Ferraro Kitchen February 16, 2012 at 4:13 pm #
    Soup is gorgeous! Now I have her stuck in my head...and I need to make this...
  20. Will @ Cheap and Easy Food February 16, 2012 at 4:22 pm #
    Looks great! That is such a lovely color for a soup too....and agreed with the other posters, will be belting that out in my head all day now. Thanks ;)
  21. Katie February 16, 2012 at 4:29 pm #
    Wait, wait, wait...this is like a bowl of pesto that I can eat with a spoon?! I am so in.
  22. Julie @ Table for Two February 16, 2012 at 5:00 pm #
    I LOVE PESTO. I know he's yours, but can we please share?
  23. Karriann February 16, 2012 at 5:11 pm #
    Your soup looks fab! Plus, your photos are stunning :) "Spice it Up"
  24. Heather (Heather's Dish) February 16, 2012 at 5:28 pm #
    The soup looks GORG!
  25. DessertForTwo February 16, 2012 at 5:34 pm #
    Soup is the way to my heart. I eat soup at least once a day. I love when you post soup recipes. Let's see how many times I can make a sentence with the word soup in it. You're soup-er. Ok, I'm done. xo
  26. AikoVenus February 16, 2012 at 5:42 pm #
    That's a great idea for the pesto. ^^; I would have never thought of using it in minestrone!
  27. Margarita February 16, 2012 at 5:47 pm #
    Soup and pesto... yummm... Very nice, warm, delicious meal. Love all the colors playing here.
  28. Julie February 16, 2012 at 6:28 pm #
    Soup looks great, love the color! Now go dance to some Madonna: La Isla Bonita or Music!
  29. Amy @ Elephant Eats February 16, 2012 at 6:45 pm #
    Hehe, this cracked me up. I hope that you've finally moved on to having no annoying song stuck in your head...or at least a different one?
  30. Jennifer | Mother Thyme February 16, 2012 at 7:24 pm #
    Oh my goodness, I need this soup in my life soon! Fabulous!
  31. Cassie February 16, 2012 at 7:39 pm #
    Fab, fab, fab, I love this!
  32. Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray February 16, 2012 at 7:45 pm #
    This soup looks so amazing!
  33. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts February 16, 2012 at 8:22 pm #
    I am sure this soup could cure many things! I love pesto, it looks wonderful!
  34. Elena February 16, 2012 at 10:07 pm #
    Just look great soup and pesto idea seems excellent.
  35. Susige February 17, 2012 at 12:32 am #
    I just finished enjoying every last spoonful of a large bowl of this outstanding and oh so flavorful soup! Thanks so much for the recipe - it's a keeper! And I loved the spinach pesto!
  36. Karla @ Foodologie February 17, 2012 at 5:02 am #
    Please come make this for me. I need soup and green things in my life.
  37. Marina {} February 17, 2012 at 5:14 am #
    Why have I never made pesto soup? I should just give up ship now.
  38. Sommer@ASpicyPerspective February 17, 2012 at 6:00 am #
  39. Myranda February 19, 2012 at 6:12 pm #
    I made this soup last night and it is wonderful! Have you tried freezing it? If so, any tips?
    • Bev Weidner February 20, 2012 at 12:29 pm #
      I'm so glad you liked it! Ya know, I've not tried freezing as I was too busy snorting up the entire soup in one sitting. Never even got that far. ;) BUT, I bet you could! Thanks for letting me know!
  40. Jill Mant~a SaucyCook February 20, 2012 at 10:45 pm #
    Soup looks and sounds delicious, but your photos and your writing? Superb! Loved the whole post and would loose my shit completely if Whitney got stuck in my head.
  41. Meat Trade February 21, 2012 at 2:08 pm #
    So hearty and tempting – this recipe looks delicious. I think you’re right about the presentation; it looks amazingly hearty! Seems like this might be just the recipe to help me get over my own Chicken Pesto Minestrone. Thanks for sharing us your terrific post.:) So hearty and tempting – this recipe looks delicious.
  42. Angie Windheim March 7, 2012 at 10:50 pm #
    Stumbled upon this recipe through Pinterest...boy, do you have a new fan! I made this the other night and I LOVED it. I'm always trying new recipes...once...but this one is certainly going to be on the regular menu. And, I'm extra excited cause it's so healthy. Spinach, asparagus and almonds...awesome!
  43. Christy April 14, 2012 at 1:57 am #
    Found this on pinterest and made it tonight using some fresh basil pesto we made a few days ago and a can of Italian tomatoes (my tomatoes went bad before we made this :( !!) and it was delicious! Definitely going to become a regular on our dinner table :)
  44. jennifer May 8, 2012 at 1:53 pm #
    This is a great soup! You really feel like you are doing something good for yourself by eating this!!
  45. Suzette June 4, 2012 at 10:41 pm #
    I saw this recipe this morning and it looked so good that I made it this afternoon. I cooked a whole chicken in the crock pot yesterday and was going to make tortilla soup. This soup is delicious and was fun to make and quick!
  46. Babette August 27, 2012 at 10:58 am #
    This looks so amazingly delish! It's what's for dinner tonight!


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