Minestrone is basically a thick vegetable soup with the addition of beans, lentils and/or chickpeas and pasta.
I like to make a big pot of this soup and freeze portions to take for lunch, or for a quick dinner when I can’t be bothered to cook.
I normally use a dry soup mix when making Minestrone, which I soak overnight, then cook in with the vegetables. My favourite one is the Italian bean mix which is a mix of split peas, beans and lentils available at most supermarkets. The only problem with this is preplanning to soak the beans the day before and having the time to cook them as they take about an hour. This minestrone recipe uses the short cut of pre-cooked canned kidney beans and chickpeas, thus making it a ‘quick’ version.
Soups like this are a great way of using up odds and ends of vegetables, so feel free to change the mix of vegetables you use according to what you have on hand. The rind from Parmesan cheese can also be kept (and frozen) and added to minestrone to add extra flavour (I forgot to pop mine in!). I have not included pasta in this soup, but feel free to do so if you wish.
My secret ingredient to making a great tasting minestrone is to add Vegemite at the end. How’s that for a truly Aussie twist on an Italian classic! You don’t need much, but it makes a big difference.
This is a great tasting, very healthy soup guaranteed to warm you up on a cold Winters day, or night….
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 teaspoons Madras (or other mild) curry powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ small bunch celery, diced (approx 3 cups)
- 4 carrots, diced (400g, approx 3½ cups)
- ½ butternut pumpkin (400g, approx 4 cups)
- ½ swede turnip, diced, optional
- 400g can diced tomatoes
- 400g can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed well
- 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
- ¼ cabbage, finely chopped (approx 3 cups)
- 2 litres (8 cups) vegetable stock
- 2 teaspoons Vegemite
- fresh basil and/or parsley, to serve
- Heat a large pot over a medium heat.
- When hot add the oil and onion and cook until the onion softens and starts to brown.
- Add the garlic and cook, stirring for a few minutes, then add the curry powder and oregano and cook for a further minute.
- Add the celery, carrots, pumpkin, swede turnip, tomatoes, kidney beans, chick peas, cabbage and vegetable stock, then cover with a lid and bring to the boil.
- Turn heat down and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until vegetables are soft.
- When cooked, remove a little of the soup liquid and add it to the Vegemite to make a smooth paste. Stir this through the soup.
- Serve topped with fresh herbs
Per Serve: 614kJ or 146 calories; P 8g Fat 1.4g SFat 0.3g CHO 21g Fibre 9g
This soup will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days and freezes really well for up to 2 months