Minestrone Soup


Minestrone – A classic Italian soup loaded with vegetables, beans, tomatoes and pastaA bowl of colour, warmth and nutrition during these ever increasingly cold winter days. 

That’s of course if you’re in my part of the world and no I don’t really see it as mine but, you know I’m a terrible writer?! I don’t know how many times I’ve posted a recipe then continued to edit the post, bad blogger over here and no don’t feel sorry for me, I should know by now to proof read. I tell myself I should just stick with the photos and a very short description of the recipe but then there’s this whole SEO thing.



Truly, I feel I’m best at just showing you how good a recipe is with my photography. That’s of course on a good day, Alhamdu’lillah the day I shot this minestrone soup was one of those days.

Italian food or Italian-American food such as pizza and pasta dishes are regular on my table. Whether it’s home-made pizzalasagne or shop-bought / take out WE LOVE IT, but I want to start trying more dishes that aren’t as well loved.

Many of you may know and love Minestrone, but for me it’s a new experience. I’d seen but not dare try the canned version as a child, veggies and certainly chunky veggies were not for me. Now that I’m older I enjoy my vegetables, notice I went from veggies to vegetables, yeh I’m grown!


Minestrone has no set recipe as such and belongs to the “cucina povera” (literally “poor kitchen”) style of cooking. This means the ingredients vary according to the seasons and what you can afford. The most common ingredients are beans, celery, onions, garlic, carrots, stock and tomato unless we are talking Minestrone alla Genovese   which doesn’t have tomatoes, instead it’s flavoured with green pesto.

I adapted James Martin’s recipe, using dried beans instead of canned. I soaked the beans overnight and cooked for 1 hour, before adding them along with most of the cooking liquid to the base of the soup. I used cannellini beans but any bean will do such as broad, kidney etc. Do remember cooking times will vary. Having said that, according to one opinion borlotti / cranberry beans are what’s used for genuine Minestrone.

I cut corners a bit by using a chicken stock cube and tinned tomatoes like the original recipe. You could use a vegetable stock cube or your own home-made stock and use around 240g peeled fresh tomatoes, chopped. instead.


The only other vegetable in my soup and in addition to the common ingredients found in many a Minestrone, is grated cabbage. My choice of cabbage is sweetheart also known as pointed, hispi or hearted but you can use any other green cabbage, such as savoy, The shredded cabbage is added 2 minutes before the end of cooking as it cooks quickly.

If you’re thinking this soup is just one bowl of ‘soft’, you’d be wrong. The carrots and celery still retain a little bite i.e. they’re ‘al dente’ and they are a nice contrast to the soft beans and soup pasta, again you can use any pasta but, if you choose spaghetti break it into smaller lengths.

Finally, I garnished my soup with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh chopped basil and a fine grating of Parmigiano-Reggiano, I highly recommend you don’t skip this. I served my husband the soup with bread on the side because bread to Algerians is like what pasta is to Italians.

Minestrone Soup

Cook Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Serving Size: 4-6


  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 large celery sticks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 x 400g/14oz tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 chicken or veg stock cube
  • 150g dried cannellini beans, soaked overnight with a big pinch of baking soda.
  • 100g/3½oz soup pasta (or dried spaghetti, broken into short lengths)
  • ¼ head sweetheart cabbage, finely shredded
  • salt and pepper
To Garnish:
  • fresh basil, washed and chopped
  • drizzle extra virgin olive oil
  • finely grated parmigiano-reggiano


The bean broth:
  • Drain beans from overnight soaking water and rinse. Place into a large saucepan with lid, cover with water (as much as will fit in the pan without overflowing), cover bring upto a boil, reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for 1 hour, skimming any white foam that rises to the surface.
The soup base:
  • In a large lidded pot, over a medium heat, warm oil then add onion, diced carrot and celery add a pinch of salt and pepper.and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables have softened. Add the garlic and fry for another minute. Stir in the tomato purée and cook for a further three minutes.
The soup:
  1. Tip in the tomatoes, beans, stock cube and 1.2 litres/2pints bean broth. Cover with a lid and bring slowly to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
  2. Add pasta and cook for a further 10 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked. Add the cabbage and cook for another two minutes. If the soup is too thick, add some hot water to reach your preferred consistency.
  3. Season with pepper if needed. Serve warm and garnish each bowl of soup with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, sprinkling of chopped basil and finely grated cheese.


If using canned beans, you will need 1 x 400g / 14oz can, drained and rinsed, Add canned beans along with pasta and use water in place of bean broth.

Minestrone Soup
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Minestrone Soup

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