Minestrone literally means Big Soup. It is a thick soup packed full of vegetables, it usually includes pasta and beans and sometimes includes rice. I am reliably informed by my second born that it was a favourite of Leonardo DaVinci, it is certainly a favourite in this house!

Minestrone Soup

Ingredients (serves 4 – 6)

410g can cannellini beans, drained and washed (if you can only find a 400g/375g can that’s fine mine just happened to be a 410g can from Sainsbury’s!)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

2 garlic cloves. peeled and crushed

100g carrots, diced

400g can chopped tomatoes (see note above re can size!)

1 litre of vegetable stock (Marigold Bouillon is my stock of choice if I haven’t bothered to make my own!)

300g floury potatoes (I used Maris Piper) peeled and roughly diced

100g small pasta shapes (I used macaroni)

200g savoy cabbage, roughly chopped (remove the tough stalk)

2 tbsps sun dried tomato pesto

salt and pepper

grated vegetarian parmesan to serve


  • Heat the oil in a very large saucepan, add the onion and fry for 5 – 10 minutes until golden brown
  • Add the garlic and fry for a further minute
  • Add the carrots, potatoes, beans, tomatoes and stock, bring to the boil
  • Reduce to a low heat and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour half covered
  • Add the pasta and cabbage and cook for a further 10 – 12 minutes with the lid on until the pasta is cooked (add a little more water if necessary)
  • Stir in the pesto, add salt and pepper to taste and serve with grated parmesan and chunks of fresh bread


You can add fresh chopped french beans in season and frozen peas make a nice addition. Borlotti beans are a nice change from cannellini, chuck in a handful of fresh parsley or some chopped rosemary and Bob’s your uncle!


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