Last Updated on March 8, 2021
In the days of my childhood growing up on a farm in Zimbabwe we always had a large pot of soup on the stove through winter. It was kept topped up with leftover vegetables and its flavour grew through the week. I’ve loved a hearty vegetable soup since then (a combination of comforting memories and tastiness).
This traditional minestrone soup recipe is the perfect way to use up leftover vegetables. You can add pretty much whatever you desire, today I’ve gone quite classic. The addition of dried thyme, a few bay leaves and tinned tomatoes and puree with some stock and makes for a vibrant, delicious dish. I’m on my end-of-winter (ever hopeful) quest to empty and defrost my freezer and discovered a few pork belly strips in the depths. So I decided to cut these into lardons to add to the mix. Obviously if you’re vegetarian the lardons can be omitted. But they do add another taste dimension.
A traditional minestrone soup recipe starts with what the Italians call a sofrito. This is basically chopped onion, carrot and celery which is used as the base for many an Italian dish.
Dry fry the lardons until they are browned and slightly crispy. Drain on a piece of kitchen towel and put aside.
Add a tablespoon of sunflower oil to the pan. Fry the onion, carrots and celery until softened. Add the dried thyme and stir through. You could add garlic at this stage, too, but I left it out today as I wanted the fresh flavours of the vegetables and the tomato base to shine through.
Once the vegetables are nicely softened, add the cooked lardons and then the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and stock. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer on low for about 15 minutes. You can prepare your classic minestrone soup to this stage hours before and finish it off just before you are ready to serve.
I also discovered a bag of frozen broad beans in my freezer and as part of my defrosting quest and decided they would be a great addition. Peel off the outer skin to reveal that beautiful vibrant green. Add the beans and the spaghetti. You could use macaroni or even orzo – I currently have a large supply of spaghetti in my pantry, so I broke it into thirds to make it easy to eat. Cook for about 10 minutes on a slow simmer, checking that the pasta is cooked before serving.
Serve in warmed bowls, sprinkled with fresh parsley.
Love making soup from scratch? Why not try our recipe for White Bean and Cauliflower Soup?
Traditional Minestrone Soup Recipe
- 2 carrots medium, peeled and chopped
- 1 onion peeled and chopped
- 2 celery sticks chopped
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 t400g tin tomatoes
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 tsp thyme dried
- 3 bay leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup broad beans frozen, defrosted and peeled
- 100 g spaghetti broken into small lengths
- Dry fry the lardons in a frying pan. Drain on a piece of kitchen roll and set aside.
- Heat the sunflower oil in a saucepan. Add the carrot, onion and celery and cook for about 15mins until the vegetables are softened. Stir through the dried thyme and add the bay leaves.
- Add the lardons, tomato puree, tinned tomatoes and vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer on low for 20 minutes.
- Just before serving add the broad beans and spaghetti. Cook for a further 10 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked.