Nourishing Soups — Des soupes nourrissantes

My belly is growing, it’s a fact, and every day, bébé‘s kicks are more repeated — and present. While they started as gentle butterfly-like flutters, they’ve now turned into “coucou, I am here, see what I can do?” kind of thing. “Bébé est entrain de ranger sa chambre,” (the baby is cleaning its room) I jokingly tell P. when a moment is more intense than another. They already follow the natural rhythm of the baby’s sleep.

I am more and more fascinated with the changes I go through, and the fact that a baby is actually physically and emotionally growing in me. Truth being said, I never thought about it like this before; I was actually never even too curious about it. Until it happened inside my own belly. The experience made it real, giving me knowledge I lacked before — of what it’s like to have a baby. An amazing life event, it is.

With it, of course, I get hungry more often during the day, perhaps at each time bébé seems to be fully awake, busy tidying or dancing — I grow hungry for soup, more particularly. Quite ideal at this time of year, isn’t it?

sky fall red new england

If you’ve visited my blog for a while now, you will have noticed that I like to make and eat soups. Often. I especially like to eat them with, on the side, a tartine with scrumptious toppings, and a salad. I like the soups nutritious, revealing the flavors of seasonal vegetables, making me feel good throughout the day. When I am short of time, I usually prepare them smooth in texture, making good use of my food processor or a hand mixer then to mix them. It really works like a charm on a busy day.

Lately though, the soups I have been craving have been different — more nutritious, if that can be.

I want my soups to give me a complete dish in one bowl. I want them rustic, with many various flavors and chunky pieces, just like a good minestrone.

chickpea tomato soup

Tomato and Chickpea Soup

C’est B. qui serait content,” I told P. when I made a pot of tomato and chickpea soup for our Sunday lunch, two weeks ago. The soup was rich and tasty, full of nutrients; we enjoyed it with a rustic loaf of crusty bread, and grated cheese melting at the contact of the warm broth.

P. was holding a spoonful to his mouth when he heard me. He stopped his movement to look at me, surprised. Then he added: “Why?

My brother B. does not like smooth soups. He is one of the only people I know who does not care for a creamy velouté or a Vichyssoise. Instead, he wants his soups to have “des morceaux dedans” (chunks inside), like a soupe moulinée, one that you mix with a food mill. His wife and I have never been able to understand the reason why since B. is one of these people that loves everything in food.

But not the smooth soups.

I thought about this again as I was about to make another pot of rustic soup for our lunch a few days ago, and it made me smile. B. would have liked this soup, I thought while imagining what I was going to add to the soup.

First, I started with the preparation of the broth — the backbone of the soup, really. It’s really up to you to add the herbs you prefer, the very ones that will bring a specific flavor to your dish. Mine typically has fennel and coriander seeds, as well as fresh herbs like thyme, and a bay leaf. I like to add basic vegetables too, like carrot, leek, parsnip, celery branch, and fennel, some of which are classic components of a vegetable broth. Then, I simply sweat one onion with garlic for a few minutes before adding more vegetables and a can of chickpeas, and to add more structure to the soup, pasta like penne as well. The soup cooked on its own following those simple steps, and simmered for about forty five minutes in total before it was ready. It was simple and nutritious, as I had anticipated.

We enjoyed it with smoked salmon, walnut pesto and grated cheese, eating one large bowl each.

Ready to go for a walk now?” P. asked laughing when he saw that I was still licking the last bit of broth left at the bottom of my bowl.

J’en ai besoin!” (I need to) I replied, feeling content — repus, as we say in French. “But let’s take a piece of chocolate cake with us!

Chocolate and Almond Cake

We always do.

But this time, I blamed it on being pregnant.

Don’t get discouraged by the long list of required ingredients. They are common, and the soup is simple to make.

A Rustic Soup

(For 4 people)

You need:

For the soup broth:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 2 celery branches, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and diced
  • 1 fennel bulb, cut in pieces
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Bunch of fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, parsley, according to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/8 tsp red peppercorns
  • 8 cups cold water
  • Sea salt, to taste

For the soup:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup dry pasta, like penne — use rice pasta for a gluten free meal
  • 4 tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 can chickpeas (15 oz)
  • 1/2 escarole, cleaned and sliced coarsely
  • 1.5 cups spinach leaves
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Grated cheese, parmesan or pecorino
  • Fresh parsley, to serve
  • *Walnut and parsley pesto, to serve
  • 4 slices of smoked salmon, diced


  • For the vegetable broth, look at this post following the same steps, but using the ingredients listed above.
  • To prepare the soup, take a cocotte and heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes before adding the garlic. Cook for an extra minute.
  • Add the carrot and tomatoes. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes before adding the escarole. Cover with the broth, add the chickpeas and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Add the penne and continue to cook until the pasta is al dente — time varies according to the pasta chosen.
  • Five minutes before the end, add the zucchini, spinach and the eggs — make sure to pour the eggs slowly, in a thin stream.
  • Season to taste. Divide the smoked salmon between the four plates, and pour the hot soup over. Serve with the walnut pesto, grated cheese and fresh parsley.
  • *Walnut and Parsley Pesto: in the bowl of a mixer, add 2 tablespoons of walnuts, 1 garlic clove, 1 lemon zest finely grated, 1 heaped cup of flat parsley, 1/3 cup of grated pecorino and 2 tablespoons of walnut oil; mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Le coin français
Soupe rustique

(Pour 4 personnes)

Ingrédients :

Pour le bouillon :

  • 2 càs d’huile d’olive
  • 2 gousses daïl
  • 1 oignon, haché
  • 1 poireau, haché
  • 2 branches de céleri, hachées
  • 3 carottes, pelées et coupées en gros morceaux
  • 1 panais, pelé et coupé en gros morceaux
  • 1 bulbe de fenouil, coupée en gros morceaux
  • 1 feuille de laurier
  • Une grosse poignée d’herbes fraiches (romarin, thym, persil, selon goût)
  • 1/4 càc de graines de coriandre
  • 1/4 càc de graines de fenouil
  • 1/8 càc de baies roses
  • Un peu moins de 2 litres d’eau froide
  • Sel de mer

Pour la soupe :

  • 2 càs d’huile d’olive
  • 1 gousse d’aïl
  • 1 oignon rouge, émincé
  • 1 carotte, pelée et coupée en rondelles
  • 100 g de pâtes non cuites, comme des penne — utilisez des pâtes faites à base de riz pour un repas sans gluten
  • 4 tomates, blanchies, pelées, épépinées et coupées en morceaux
  • 1 boîte de pois chiches (425 g)
  • 1/2 scarole, nettoyée et coupée grossièrement
  • 1 grosse poignée de feuilles d’épinards
  • 1 courgette, coupée en rondelles
  • 2 oeufs, battus légèrement
  • Fromage râpé, parmesan ou pecorino, pour servir
  • Persil frais haché, pour servir
  • *Pesto de noix et de persil, pour servir
  • 4 tranches de saumon fumé, coupées en dés
  • Pesto de noix et de persil : dans le bol d’un mixeur, ajoutez 2 càs de noix, 1 gousse d’aïl, une grosse poignée de persil plat, le zeste d’un citron finement râpé, 30 g de pecorino râpé et 2 càs d’huile de noix; mixez le tout. Assaisonnez de sel et de poivre.

Etapes :

  • Pour le bouillon de légumes, consultez ce billet en suivant les mêmes étapes, mais en utilisant les ingrédients listés ci-dessus.
  • Pour préparer la soupe, prenez une cocotte et faites chauffer 2 càs d’huile d’olive. Faites suer l’oignon pendant 2 à 3 minutes, puis ajoutez l’aïl — poursuivez la cuisson pendant 1 minute.
  • A ce stade, ajoutez les carottes et les tomates. Cuisez pendant 3 minutes avant d’ajoutez la scarole et les pois chiches. Couvrez de bouillon de légumes et laissez mijoter à couvert pendant 20 minutes.
  • Ajoutez ensuite les pâtes et poursuivez la cuisson, le temps requis pour que les pâtes soient al dente.
  • Cinq minutes avant la fin, ajoutez les rondelles de courgette, les épinards et les oeufs — versez ces derniers doucement en filet.
  • Assaisonnez selon goût. Divisez le saumon fumé entre les quatres assiettes, et versez la soupe dessus. Servez avec le pesto de noix, du fromage râpé et du persil haché.


  1. Bea, these pictures are superb. I can almost taste that soup, and smell that soggy, leaf strewn pathway/ Just beautiful.

  2. Actually, this needs more commenting. Do you ever go back in your blog, to the beginning, and see how much you’ve advanced? You’re Napoleon! You’re Alexander! You’re Cesar! You’re taking no prisoners! Allez! Allez! Encore!

  3. Nice soup! Your post made me laugh, since I am afflicted with a husband who does not care for smooth soups either. Chowder, minestrone-soupe au pistou, or dalhs are fine, as long as they are chunky. I have found that on the rare occasions I do a smooth soup something to nible on like homemade mini-cornbread helps 😉

  4. Hi Bea, you post is to die for. The pictures are sooo great and lovely and came at a time when I was thinking about what to make for my tired-from-his-week-and-getting-a-cold husband.
    Bless you!

  5. i can live on soups in the fall and winter, the photographs are lovely and it is amazing that all that happens in a belly-so lovely.

  6. i love soup, though i am usually not a big fan of minestrone. this, however, looks delicious.

  7. Je en suis plus enceinte mais pour reprendre des forces après une journée à s’occuper de bébé ça doit être pas mal.

  8. You really should start your own magazine; the recipes, the writing style, the photos… all are so lovely and distinctive. I have a question though: do you differentiate between soups and stews? Like B, I need des morceaux dedans, as many as possible! What’s your favorite stew?

  9. 🙂 tjrs aussi sympa tes billets Bea !
    bonjour de Geneve,

  10. WOW the soups look sooooooooo amazing!!! I’m going to give the rustic one a whirl this weekend. I cant wait!
    Your pictures are beautiful, as always 🙂

  11. This entire post blows me away Béa!
    All your soups are wonderful and here with all the fall photos they seem especially so.
    So glad you’re enjoying this time. It is an awakening in so many ways!

  12. Gorgeous soup. I think I’ll make it tonight–but I think I’ll drop an egg in each hot bowl, then ladle the very hot soup over it and let it gently poach for a few minutes before serving. Can’t wait!

  13. Congratulations! Funny enough, I made an old soup recipe from your blog for Thanksgiving (Ginger pumpkin soup) but I omitted the crystallized ginger part because I have two small kids and I was running out of time and thinking, Bea doesn’t have children (yet) she has so much time to do all those nice things. Anyway, the soup even without the decoration was delicious, as usual with your recipes. Thanks for sharing them and enjoy your pregnancy time. Sure your baby with be a gourmet one;)

  14. Nothing like soup for comfort. I was remembering how it felt to be pregnant the last couple of months. It’s unreal to know something is living inside of you and growing everyday. I just remember seeing my son right after he was born and I couldn’t believe I was capable of such a thing. It really is miraculous. I hope you are enjoying this time Bea!

  15. Bea, the entire pictures are so amazing…. I’m speechless every time I visit your blog. So beautiful!

  16. just reading your story and recipe is making me feel warm inside b!
    i look forward to gathering all of my supplies
    and comforting myself with this glorious soup this weekend.
    thank you for the inspiration, yet again!

  17. Wonderful photos, I absolutely love what you do! They delight all my senses plus I can’t wait to make this soup. I too love soups, all different kinds!

  18. C’est vrai que nous avons fait le plein de soupe cet hiver…
    Elles sont superbes toutes ces photos !

  19. i am blown away by the photos in this post, especially the one with the 2 trees, WOW !!! :)))

    it’s too hot for soup here these days, but your post is tempting me. although, the kind we have here is more rustic, and not very healthy sometimes haha.

  20. Je te suis complètement. En ce moment à la maison, c’est soupe ou velouté presque tous les jours. Je vais me laisser tenter par ta version. Bises.

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  22. I have been a lurker for a little while. Your pictures are gorgeous as always and this time I was motivated to inquire about one of the soups pictured. I am not really a soup person (but slowly becoming one) and I wondered what the orangey/yellow soup you have in the brown crock and little white bowl beneath it? It looks delicous. 🙂 I have been scanning your soup recipes and can’t wait to try some out.

    Congratulations on your impending arrival! 🙂 Best of luck to both you and your husband.

  23. I am going to have to try this–I am almost 20 weeks along, no nausea but nothing ever sounds really, really good. Except Indian food. From a restaurant…

    These soups, however, might hit the spot!

  24. Oh oui, une soupe ! c’est au moins deux par semaine en ce moment… Celle-là a l’air délicieuse, je me régale rien qu’à la regarder.

  25. Hi,

    You got very nice pictures!.. just wondering what camera or size of lens you’re using?

  26. Pingback: Hearty Soup on a Cold Night « Taste.

  27. Hello hello everyone, I am thrilled to hear that some of you have already tried the soup! Merci! 😉 I hope you enjoyed as much as us did — and yes, bébé approved too. Better as this is going to stay on the menu!

    Camera? A Canon 30D and a Canon 5D!

    Alison, the orange soup is a vegetable soup, one that I will toss together quickly, like my mum used to, and that you mix using a food mill, to make sure the soup has little bits and isn’t smooth either. Full of vitamins. It is one of these soups I thought might not be worth putting on my blog because it is so simple, but then I realize that I should because it is truly delicious — and good for you.

    Lovely day today, sunny but colder. So stay warm if you are in these weather conditions. I think I will make another soup.


  28. wow what superb photos you take and those soups look just the thing to warm us up in chilly Wales. My 7yr old daughter is learning french after school so she loved trying to read the french recipe and then checking the english translation to see if she was right! Bebe wow my last bebe is now 5 in 10 days where has the time gone. beautiful blog

  29. Such beautiful pictures, and fantastic recipes. I enjoy the bilingual aspect of your blog as well…some things are simply said better in French, especially when they relate to food.

  30. those soups look absolutely delicious – enough to forget the rain! your photos are always an inspiration – both to cook and to work on my photography… 🙂

  31. Hi, I visit your website very often but I’ve never commented before. Your feelings towards your growing belly and the baby within, was just too recognizable… People used to tell me: “Wait until you’ll have you’re own”, which I wasn’t really “waiting” for. The moment I got pregnant myself I new what they meant 😉

    Oh yes, however I don’t cook like you do, I do like to eat… So does my son (2,5). He likes a lot of things other children his age haven’t even tried before 😉


    (son of 2,5 and expecting a second child for January 2009)

  32. Bea, just found your blog and immediately recognize in you a kindred spirit. I look forward to sampling your recipes. I’m an avid cook and a devout chocoholic. Enjoy every second of those baby kicks, you’ll miss them when they’re in your arms. I have a 2 year old and a 4 month old. It’s a superb moment to have them suddenly go from being in your womb to in your arms, but you do kind of miss their presence within you. Looking forward to keeping up with your delightful blog. Have a wonderful fall afternoon!

  33. I just tried your minestrone recipe tonight on this very cold winter evening, and it is WONDERFUL! I think I may make it again in a few days. I just used red kidney beans instead of chickpeas but it still worked out very well. I never thought of adding egg at the end, that was a nice touch. Congratulations on your beautiful new baby.

  34. I just made this soup tonight, it was so very very delicious. Oddly enough, I am pregnant and craving soup as well these days… I actually make many of my dinners or desserts from the recipes on your website and am never disappointed. Tomorrow, some madeleines!!

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