This soup is so easy to make, so tasty, and so healthy!
When some people want to thicken a soup, they add flour or cornstarch. Others might add milk or cream. I prefer to add more of the main ingredient: I use probably double the amount of mushrooms here compared to what you’ll see in a “normal” recipe. The sheer volume makes the soup thick without adding anything that’s bad for you. Best of all, it adds even more mushroom flavor.
I went heavy on the garlic in this recipe because I wanted to be able to taste it. This is still a very mushroom-forward dish, but the roasted garlic notes are unmistakable. Use half as much garlic if you want the garlic to be more subtle.
The sweetness of the squash works nicely with the strong flavor of the Brussels sprouts. The squash is a natural thickener, creating a thick and creamy soup that is also completely healthy.
As a second generation Italian (pronounced “Eye-talian”), Pesto sauce is practically in my blood. The big issue I’ve always had is how much oil is usually used: a jar of pesto from the supermarket that’s separated will be half-full with just the oil. I worked on using less oil, which works somewhat, but still doesn’t take care of the root issue: there’s still a ton of calories in oil.
But, this treatment fixes that. I remember seeing a recipe years ago where someone used stock to replace oil, and I decided to try that here. It works, though you don’t have that clingy luxuriousness that oil brings. But, if you noticed that first line above, that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make: regular pesto is a staggering 9 Weight Watchers points per 2 ounces, and even reduced fat pesto is 4 points.
Besides the stock, I also shaved off some points using almonds (5 points), which are lighter than most other nuts (8 points for pine nuts and most others). Note that using reduced fat grated parmesan doesn’t change the point value (2 points vs 5 for regular cheese), but it does greatly affect the taste! Freshly-grated parmesano reggiano cheese really makes this pesto sing.
More fun with pesto: you can replace the greens with just about anything. See the Recipe Notes after the recipe for some suggestions.