Minestrone soup

A healthy, nutritious bowl of leftover deliciousness

This is a fantastic winter meal and a great way to use up any left-over vegetables.

I serve it with home made bread rolls but it’s perfect on its own.

Make some extra and have it for lunch tomorrow – you wont regret it!

Minestrone has its origins in Italy, is a thick vegetable soup with the addition of pasta. I love to make this soup in winter as it is nourishing and represents comfort food in our house. 


The beans give it a good boost of protein so if you exclude the bacon it is a perfect vegetarian meal. Tomatoes help the with the absorption of iron from the vegetables and there’s plenty of vegetables to give your immune system a good boost. There’s also a healthy dose of carbohydrates and fibre, good for us and good for the beneficial bacterial that live in our gut.


The ingredients below are a guide, use whatever you have in your fridge or pantry. If you don’t have canned beans use frozen beans or a mixture of fresh, canned and/or frozen. We always have risoni (also known as orzo) pasta in the cupboard however, you can use spaghetti, macaroni, lasagne, spirals etc. Break larger pasta into small pieces by wrapping in a tea-towel and bang it against the bench – a great stress release too


  • 4 rashes bacon (optional)
  • Olive oil (or other oil)
  • 1 clove garlic (teaspoon crushed garlic)
  • 2 small onions
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 2 large handfuls of seasonal greens e.g., kale, savoy cabbage, spinach, silver beet
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 2 x 400g tins of beans, cannellini, butter, black eyed, mixed, 
  • 100g dried Risoni pasta
  • Parmesan cheese, to serve


  1. Heat a large thick bottom saucepan or stovetop casserole dish on a medium-high heat.
  2. Finely slice the bacon, add to the pan with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Stir occasionally whilst preparing vegetables.
  3. Peel and finely chop the garlic and onion. When bacon turns golden, add garlic to the pan with bay leaf and onion.
  4. Chop carrots and celery into 1cm pieces, add to the pan, remove any tough stalks from your greens, chop and add to the pan. Cook for 10-15 mins stirring occasionally.
  5. Crumble stock cube into pan, then add tinned tomatoes. If using whole canned tomatoes break them with your spoon. Fill the tin with water and add to the soup. Add canned beans (or frozen edamame) including the juice.
  6. Chop greens and add to the soup. Add 2 cups of boiling water and pasta. If using spaghetti pasts break into smaller pieces before adding to soup. Cover and cook for 10 minutes until pasta is cooked and soup has thickened.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. Serve and add parmesan cheese (or tasty cheese) and an extra drizzle of olive oil. I LOVE Pam’s extra virgin olive oil – great value and great taste.