No Need for Canned Soup When You Can Make Nutty Cream of Pistachio Soup from Scratch

My favorite time of the year is here: soup season!

There’s just something so right about having a house filled with the smell of soup simmering away on the stove. Plus, like lasagna, the leftovers get even more flavorful when the ingredients have time to blend together.

Chicken noodle, potato chowder, and tomato bisque are all winter staples, but I bet cream of pistachio isn’t one of your top picks… yet.

Vertical oblique image of a white bowl of pistachio soup with a fresh herb garnish, on a brown wood surface with a sprig of parsley and scattered nuts, printed with orange and white text.

This cream of pistachio soup took me completely by surprise. I love pistachios and, clearly, I love soup, but I never thought to put the two together.

When thinking of how to describe this recipe, the obvious came up: nutty, creamy, savory with a hint of sweet. But when I asked my husband to describe it, he said, “fun.”

At first, his answer baffled me. How can soup be fun?

But the more spoonfuls I took, the more I realized he’s right. And then my head started swimming with dinner party ideas where this recipe would make an impressive first course.

Overhead shot of a blue bowl full of shelled pistachios, on a brown wood surface.

Ladled into your favorite bowl or large mug, this pistachio soup is deliciously cozy. And while it is creamy, it’s also surprisingly light, making it perfect as an appetizer or lunch. If you’re looking for a heartier meal, simply add a green salad and a piece of crusty bread on the side.

If I can give one piece of advice when making this dish, it’s to make sure your blender lid is securely on, and slowly increase the speed as you go. I made the mistake of setting my Vitamix to high from the start, and ended up with pistachio soup all over my window and dripping down the counter – to the delight of my puppy.

Between cleaning up the mess with one hand and trying to look up whether pistachios are dangerous for dogs with the other (good news, they aren’t), making this recipe ended up being more exciting than anticipated.

However, once the window was sparkling clean and the counter wiped up, I was able to sit down with a bowl of this soup and, with each spoonful, all that stress just melted away.

Overhead oblique vertical shot of a white ceramic bowl filled with homemade pistachio soup, with a fresh herb garnish, on a brown wood table with a spoon to the right, scattered nuts, and a sprig of green flat leaf parsley.

While onions are usually a staple of soups and stews, lately I prefer the more delicate flavor of shallots. Also a member of the allium family, shallots are more mild in flavor than onions and have a slight garlic taste.

They are a bit sweeter than onions, which is why I particularly like them for this recipe – the more mild flavor and slight sweetness pairs so well with the nutty pistachios.

However, if you want to use an onion instead, you can substitute 1/4 cup of diced yellow onion for the shallot.

While this dish is meant to be smooth, if you like a little more texture, you can skip pouring the blended mixture through a wire mesh sieve before serving.

I made it both ways, and my husband preferred having that extra texture. But if I were to make it for guests, I’d go ahead and strain it.

And don’t worry if you or your guests are non-dairy – we have recommendations for equally delicious ways to make this recipe vegan below.

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A white bowl of homemade cream of pistacho soup with a fresh herb garnish and a spoon to the right, with a sprig of flat-leaf parsley and scattered on nuts on a brown wood surface.

Cream of Pistachio Soup


  • Author: Shanna Mallon
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x

Description

Keep warm with a bowl of homemade cream of pistachio soup. Nutty, creamy, and savory, this recipe is the epitome of cozy.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups shelled, roasted unsalted pistachios, divided
  • 1 medium shallot, diced (about ¼ cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 1 cup half and half
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Remove pistachio skins and set aside.  
  2. Place a large pot over medium heat, and add oil. Once oil is hot, reduce heat to low and add the diced shallot and celery. Cook for 8 minutes, or until vegetables are softened, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally until fragrant.
  3. Add the sherry, 1 cup pistachios, broth, rice, and 2 tablespoons parsley to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until rice is tender, about 25 minutes.
  4. Add the half and half and stir over medium-low heat until hot, about 5 minutes
  5. Using a countertop or immersion blender, blend until smooth.
  6. For a smooth consistency, pour through a wire mesh strainer and discard any large pieces. Return to the pot. If soup has cooled, reheat on the stove over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
  7. Chop the remaining pistachios. Pour soup into individual bowls and garnish with chopped pistachios and parsley. Enjoy immediately. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.  

  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian

Keywords: pistachio, soup, lunch, vegetarian

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Measure Ingredients, Chop Vegetables, and Remove Pistachio Skins

Measure out all of the ingredients.

I prefer a dry sherry when cooking savory dishes, as it gives a good depth of flavor without adding too much sweetness.

Flat leaf parsley on a white plastic cutting board with a chef's knife with a black handle, on a brown wood background.

If you don’t have sherry, a crisp white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio would work well. In general, I try to avoid cooking sherry and cooking wine as they have added salt to extend their shelf lives.

If you’re looking for an alcohol-free option, apple cider vinegar is a good choice. In recipes like this one where the amount of sherry is small, you can substitute an equal amount of vinegar for the sherry.

Vertical closely cropped shot of a knife chopping a stalk of celery on a white plastic cutting board, on a brown wood surface.

Using a sharp knife and a sturdy cutting board, chop the celery and dice the shallot. Remove the stems from the parsley, and finely chop the leaves. Get out your trusty garlic press and mince the garlic.

To remove the pistachio skins, my preferred method is to blanch them.

A stainless steel saucepan of pistachios is boiling on a gas stove, in frothy water.

Place 1 1/4 cups of pistachios in 2 cups of boiling water and boil for 1 minute.

Water sprays from a faucet onto blanched pistachios in a metal colander in a stainless steel kitchen sink.

Transfer them to a colander and rinse with cold water.

A hand is holding a wet paper towel, using it to rub the peels off blanched pistachios, on a gray background.

Using a paper towel, vigorously rub a small handful of nuts at a time to remove the skins.

Overhead shot of a blue bowl of bright green blanched pistachios, on a brown wood background.

Chop 1/4 cup of pistachios for garnish, and leave the rest whole.

Step 2 – Saute Vegetables

Place a large stock pot on the stove over medium heat. Add the oil.

Once oil is hot, reduce heat to low and add the diced shallot and chopped celery.

Vertical closely cropped overhead shot of a nonstick cooking pot with oil, chopped celery, and minced garlic at the bottom, being stirred with a silicone spatula that says "Mix It Up."

Cook for 8 minutes, or until vegetables are softened, stirring occasionally. You don’t want the vegetables to stick or the onion to brown – keep an eye on the pan, and turn down the heat if necessary.

Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes or until fragrant, stirring occasionally.

Step 3 – Add Ingredients and Simmer

Add the sherry, 1 cup of blanched pistachios, broth, rice, and 2 tablespoons of parsley to the pot.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the rice is tender, about 25 minutes.

Step 4 – Add Half and Half

Stir in the half and half and continue cooking over medium-low heat until hot, about 5 minutes.

Step 5 – Blend

To blend the soup, you can either use an immersion blender, or carefully transfer it into a countertop blender.

A countertop blender is filled with a beige soup, with pistachios at the bottom, on a wood surface.

Blend until smooth, working in batches if necessary.

Step 6 – Strain and Reheat

For a smooth consistency, carefully pour the soup through a wire mesh strainer, and discard any large pieces. This may not be necessary if you’re able to achieve a smooth consistency using a high-speed blender. Return soup to the pot.

To reheat before serving, place the pot back on the stove over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, or until heated through.

Step 7– Garnish and Serve

Ladle into bowls, and garnish with chopped pistachios and parsley leaves. Serve immediately. Leftovers may be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Vegan-Friendly Substitutions

To make this dish vegan, you can replace the half and half with cashew cream. You could also use an unsweetened coconut or soy creamer. I tried making this with unsweetened almond milk as well, and while the taste was still on point, the overall consistency was much thinner.

For the butter, you can either use a vegan margarine or 4 tablespoons of olive oil.

Your New Favorite First Course

Forget salad, soup is an easy, yet creative first course option for your next dinner party.

A white bowl of homemade cream of pistacho soup with a fresh herb garnish and a spoon to the right, with a sprig of flat-leaf parsley and scattered on nuts on a brown wood surface.

Perfect for using up any leftover veggies sitting in the fridge or eating what’s in season, soups can be an affordable way to feed a crowd. Best of all, they can also be a fun way to add a pop of color to your meal.

Check out these colorful vegetable soups on Foodal:

What’s your favorite non-traditional soup recipe? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to rate this dish when you give it a try!

Photos by Kelli McGrane, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on March 10, 2009. Last updated: March 14, 2019 at 19:31 pm.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Kelli McGrane, MS, RD

Kelli McGrane is a Denver-based registered dietitian with a lifelong love of food. She holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in nutrition science from Boston University. As a registered dietitian, she believes in the importance of food to nourish not only your body, but your soul as well. Nutrition is very personal, and you won’t find any food rules here, other than to simply enjoy what you eat.

15 thoughts on “No Need for Canned Soup When You Can Make Nutty Cream of Pistachio Soup from Scratch”

  1. Pistachio soup – that would never have occurred to me but it sounds delicious. I made a huge vat of soup at the weekend and it is so simple but so comforting to know that there is home made soup in the freezer whenever you need it.

  2. Everywhere I go today in BlogLand, people are making soup. I missed the memo, but now you’ve got me. And I’m only 27. I feel like a perpetual 22, but the numbers keep climbing. Oh well. More memories, right?

  3. i think soup, while more of a winter treat, is something i can consume year round. i’m always cold tho, even in the dead of summer. this soup looks wonderful and the company sounds even better.

    whenever i am out of canned broth, i just use water but i usually season with fish sauce, which adds the depth of flavor that chicken broth does.

  4. I can really relate to the simple things that make life worth it. My coffee is number one, and every night I also look forward to the hour of reading, under my covers before bed.

  5. It’s so wonderful that at “only 26” you are able to live totally in the moment. Most people have a hard time grasping that simple pleasure.

  6. Gemma – You know, I have never thought to freeze soup before. Any advice on that?

    MFK/Kendra – More memories, exactly! And I love that you feel like you’re 22. I need to be around more people like that.

    TJ – You are one after my own heart!

    Lan – I love new ideas for substitutions. So fish sauce… is it very bad that I don’t know what that is? How much do you add?

    DD – I love all cream soups. It’s official.

    Susan – As soon as I read your comment, I really thought to myself, when will it not be only? I have a pretty good feeling I’ll be the senior citizen in the nursery home saying, I’m only 99!

    Coco Bean – Under my covers right now, in fact, all warm and cozy. It IS lovely.

    Joie de vivre – What a nice thing to say. Thank you!

  7. Your writing is achingly beautiful! Ordered “The Tenth Muse” and am looking forward to diving in. Thanks for the recommendation and a truly wonderful blog!

  8. You’re kind, Donna – thank you! BTW, did I tell you about Tenth Muse? I don’t think I’ve read it, so you’ll have to give me your feedback!

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