1/2 cup dry cannellini beans (aka white kidney beans), soaked overnight (TIP: Substitute with 1½ cups BPA-free canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed.)
1 dried bay leaf
1 bunch fresh basil, leaves only
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
5 tsp olive oil, divided
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 redskin potato, scrubbed and cut into ¼-inch cubes
1 plum tomato, chopped
1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
1 tbsp unsalted tomato paste
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 6-oz boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into ½-inch cubes
1/2 zucchini, trimmed and diced
To a medium saucepan, add cannellini beans, 4 cups water and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tender, about 45 minutes. Drain; discard bay leaf.
Meanwhile, prepare pesto: In a blender or with a mortar and pestle, pulse or pound basil, garlic, cheese and lemon juice. Drizzle in 4 tsp oil and process until smooth; add 1 to 2 tsp water as needed to reach desired consistency.
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat remaining 1 tsp oil on medium-high. Add onion and carrot and sauté, stirring often, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add potato, tomato, green beans, tomato paste, broth, salt, pepper and thyme. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potato is just tender, about 6 minutes. Add cannellini beans, chicken and zucchini and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
Divide soup among serving bowls and swirl in pesto.
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