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Minestrone - A Healthy Winter Warmer

Minestrone - A Healthy Winter Warmer

At this time of year there are lots of lovely vegetables available that are really fresh, generally cheap, full of fibre and vitamins and really good for you. Our warming and colourful minestrone soup recipe is an easy way to get your five (or ten or more) a day and it’s also suitable for vegetarians. It’s worth making lots, as leftovers can be kept in the fridge for a day or two or frozen for later. Quantities are vague – it depends how much soup you want to make and what vegetables you have available. The soup also usually turns out really thick – like a vegetable casserole, which is no bad thing!

Just peel and chop a selection of vegetables into smallish pieces – more or less anything goes. You can do this in a food processor in batches if you like but don’t cut them too finely. Choose the vegetables you like or that are readily available – suggestions include: -

A clove of garlic (optional)
Waxy potato
Pumpkin or squash
Sweet potato

Add a knob of butter or tbsp. of oil to a large saucepan and soften the vegetables over a gentle heat with the lid on the pan. Add a can or two or chopped tomatoes (according to the volume of soup you’re making), a few tiny pasta shapes or broken bits of spaghetti, a can of cannellini or borlotti beans and a really good squirt of tomato purée. Add a little water or vegetable stock, just to cover the vegetables, and simmer them until soft. Add a few frozen peas for colour and some chopped cavolo nero, kale or thinly sliced cabbage and cook for a few more minutes. If it’s too thick, add a bit more stock and another squirt of tomato purée.

Season with black pepper and add a bit of chopped basil too, if you like. Serve piping hot, sprinkled with grated Parmesan. Add some crusty wholemeal bread to make a filling meal to share with friends or to sort out your supper plans for a couple of days.

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