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Healthy Minestrone
4.89 from 9 votes

Warming Minestrone Soup

This Warming Minestrone Soup is more a meal than a starter - it's easy to make, delicious and very nutritious. 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 onion/s (large) peeled and finely diced
  • 2 clove/s garlic -peeled and chopped
  • 4 rasher/s bacon -diced
  • 2 carrot/s -peeled and diced
  • 2 stick/s celery -sliced
  • 1 bunch/s fresh basil leaves -leaves picked and stems finely chopped
  • 800 g diced tinned tomatoes
  • 100 ml red wine
  • 1 zucchini/s (large) diced
  • 425 g can cannellini beans -drained and well rinsed
  • 200 g silver beet or spinach leaves -well washed and chopped
  • 600 ml chicken stock or bone broth
  • 50 g spaghetti -broken into pieces (put it in a plastic bag and break it up by hand or by bashing with a rolling pin)

Instructions

  • 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 stems. 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

  • Serve with basil leaves, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and parmesan cheese. Leftovers can be frozen.

Make-ahead

  • Re-heat in a pot over a low heat until just hot.

Store

  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

Notes

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.

Dairy-free

Just don't add the cheese.

Legume-free

Simply omit the beans.

Onion-free

Replace them with a bulb of fennel, finely diced. It's so delicious this way too.

Garlic-free

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.
 

This is a favourite winter warmer in our household - more a meal than a starter.  Love to receive your thoughts and comments too (if you could also rate this recipe I'd be extra appreciative).