Winter Warmers: Minestrone Soup

Minestrone SoupLiterally meaning ‘the big soup’ in Italian, minestrone is technically a hearty stew – soup made from vegetables, dried beans and pasta. A range of beans can be substituted for kidney beans, including cannellini, lima and borlotti.

Prep time: 25 min
Cook time: 65 min|
Special equipment: large saucepan
Nutrition: good source of dietary fiber and lycopene; low in saturated fat
Skills: dicing, sweating, simmering


  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1 leek
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 6 teaspoons (30ml) olive oil
  • 200g pumpkin
  • 1 potato
  • 400 can tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons (40g) tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 4 cups (1L) vegetable stock*
  • ¼ cup (25g) small shell pasta
  • 2 zucchini
  • 400g can kidney beans
  • ½ cup (12g) flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 20g parmesan and crusty bread to serve up



  1. Peel and dice onions and carrots, slice celery and leek and crush garlic.
  2. Heat oil in large saucepan and sweat onion, carrots, celery, leek and garlic for 5 minutes.
  3. Peel and dice pumpkin and potato. Chop tomatoes and retain juice.
  4. Place pumpkin, potatoes, tomatoes and juice, tomato paste, oregano and basil in large saucepan with vegetable stock.
  5. Bring to boil over medium – high heat.
  6. Reduce heat to medium – low and cook for 40 minutes.
  7. Add pasta and cook for 10 minutes.
  8. Slice zucchini, add to saucepan and cook for another 10 minutes.
  9. Drain and rinse kidney beans and add to saucepan. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  10. Pluck parsley leaves from stalk, finely chop and add to saucepan. Season to taste.
  11. Finely grate parmesan cheese.
  12. To serve, ladle into 4 soup bowls, sprinkle with parmesan and eat with crusty bread.

Slow-cooker minestrone soup with beef and bacon
Follow recipe above, replacing vegetable stock with beef stock. Add 200g diced stewing beef and 1 rasher diced bacon to ingredients. Place all ingredients, except pasta and kidney beans, in slow cooker and cook on high for 5—6 hours (or on low for 10—11 hours). Add pasta and beans in final 20—30 minutes of cooking.

*To make your own stock, you can use the recipe from pg. 186 of The Food Book.

The Food BookThis recipe is taken from Oxford’s The Food Book.

3 thoughts on “Winter Warmers: Minestrone Soup

      • Well, I find the garlic cloves flavor very strong. Garlic salt quenches your craving for garlic and is not strong either.

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