Celebrate the end of winter with one last bowl of nourishing soup to farewell this season’s best. This is actually more a meal than a soup. I love to make this when I have a glut of vegetables in the fridge or if I’m after a hearty, but simple warming meal. Another delicious and nutritious one pot wonder.
The sheer variety of seasonal vegetables combined with cannellini beans is enough to make this a very healthy, fibre loaded meal. If you use a homemade bone broth for the stock, then you are going to derive even more nutrition from this minestrone. For more about the healing powers of bone broth, see here.
Take a look at the variations (below the main recipe) for suggestions to alter the recipe to suit many specific dietary requirements.
This Winter Minestrone soup is more a meal than a starter - it's easy to make, delicious and very nutritious.
- 1 large onion, peeled and finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 4 rashers nitrate free bacon, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 sticks celery, sliced
- Small bunch basil, leaves picked and stems finely chopped
- 2 x 400gram tins diced tomatoes
- 100 ml red wine
- 1 large or 2 small zucchinis, diced
- 1 x 425gram can of cannellini beans, drained and well rinsed
- 200 gram silver beet or spinach leaves well washed and chopped
- 600 ml of stock, homemade is preferable, chicken or vegetable. For more on making your own, click here.
- 50 gram spaghetti, broken into pieces (put it in a plastic bag and break it up by hand or by bashing with a rolling pin)
Start by cutting up all of your vegetables.
In a large pot or saucepan, heat a little butter or ghee and over a low heat cook the onion, garlic, bacon, carrots, celery and basil stalks. You are not frying, rather sweating the vegetables and bacon with the lid ajar for around 15-20 minutes until they are starting to soften (but not brown).
Now add the tomatoes and red wine and simmer for about a further 5 minutes.
Next, add the cannellini beans, silver beet or spinach, zucchini, spaghetti and stock.
Turn up the heat to a moderate temperature and simmer until the spaghetti is cooked.
Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with basil leaves, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and parmesan cheese. Leftovers can be frozen.
Vegetarian and vegan
Use vegetable stock, and don't add the bacon. You may like to increase the amount of beans. For vegan don't serve with parmesan.
Gluten and grain-free
Use gluten free pasta or quinoa or just omit the pasta all together.
Just don't add the cheese.
Simply omit the beans.
Replace them with a bulb of fennel, finely diced. It's so delicious this way too.
Replace the garlic with a pinch of chilli flakes.
Your kids don't like vegetables?
Blend it all up in a food processor. It will still be delicious and what they don't know won't hurt them! I have even served this to my kids and when they have baulked at (usually the zucchini), I take it away and quickly blend it and they are then happy to eat it because it tastes so good. You can alway omit any of the offenders too.