I resolved to start the year by making something healthy for lunch. The thought of the River Cafe Minestrone appealed, the hassle factor of the original recipe did not so I decided to concoct my own simplified version. It’s not as good as the River Cafe version, but it’s a lot less hassle to make and makes for wonderful cold-weather filler food.
Here goes!

2 vegetable or chicken stock cubes dissolved into 2 1/2 cups boiling water
3 carrots (coarsely chopped)
1 bunch of celery with leaves(coarsely chopped)
1 red onion (coarsely chopped)
1 regular onion/yellow onion (coarsely chopped)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 clove garlic (peeled and coarsely chopped – I didn’t like the big chunks of garlic in the original recipe)
1 head savoy cabbage (I had it in the fridge) or a bunch of kale or chard
1 can canellini beans (drained and rinsed)
2 tsp olive oil
Fresh or dried parsley (a handful, chopped)
Sage and/or Thyme – 1tsp dried or equivalent fresh chopped finely
Salt and black pepper

To top: extra virgin olive oil, toast/bruscetta/freshly grated parmesan cheese. I am trying to lose weight so I skipped the oil and used dry toast.

What You Do:

1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan or Dutch oven and fry the carrots, both kinds of onion, garlic, and celery for about 10 minutes or until caramelized (keep stirring and add a tiny bit of stock if the bottom of the pan is going brown)

2. Stir in the tinned tomatoes – juice and all, stock, savoy cabbage and 3/4 of the beans, parsley and sage/thyme and cook for bring to the boil and simmer at a low heat, covered for 30 minutes.

3. Puree the remaining beans with some cooking liquid and add to the soup. Stir and simmer for another 5 minutes, season to taste with salt and black pepper and your soup is ready! Add lemon juice if your soup is too sweet.

4. Drizzle each bowl of soup with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and lots of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

5. Serve with toast/bruschetta.

I think that spinach, added at stage 3 would be a good addition to the recipe.
A spoonful of toasted seeds added just before serving are a good addition
Finely chopped Italian parsley leaves would also make a good garnish.
Add hot sauce for more spice!

If you wanted to you could add pasta or rice to make the dish even more substantial. It might be a good way to use up leftovers!

2 comments to “Winter Minestrone Soup – My Way!”

  1. Fran

    I added the spinach and was heavy-handed with the garlic – this two adjustments seemed to work. Think rice would be a lovely addition too. Thanks for the recipe – I plan to make it again!!

  2. girl

    I think ANY adjustments would work. Just add anything you like. If you are adding uncooked rice, make sure you put it in early enough to cook through!


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