This soup is so quick easy to make: the key is to use a good-quality home-made or bought fresh stock for the best result. Using plenty of pesto and sun-dried tomato puree (paste) gives it a rich, minestrone-like flavour. As an alternative to butter beans, haricot (navy) or cannellini beans will make good substitutes.

Butter Bean, Sun-dried Tomato and Pesto Soup

Serves four


900ml/1 1/2 pints/3 3/4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
800g/14oz cans butter (lima) beans, drained and rinsed
60ml/4 tbsp sun-dried tomato puree (paste)
75ml/5 tbsp pesto


1. Put the stock in a pan with the butter beans and bring just to the boil. Reduce the heat and stir in the tomato puree and pesto. Cook gently for 5 minutes.

Butter Bean, Sun-dried Tomato and Pesto SoupButter Bean, Sun-dried Tomato and Pesto Soup

2. Transfer six ladlefuls of the soup to a blender or food processor, scooping up plenty of the beans. Process until smooth, and then return the puree to the pan.

3. Heat gently, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, then season if necessary. Ladle into four warmed soup bowls and serve with warm crusty bread or breadsticks.