What Is Vegetable Minestrone?
If you have spent all season cultivating a gorgeous crop of vegetables in your garden, it’s time to utilise them in creative and delicious recipes. One of the nicest ways to put your fresh tomatoes, beans, celery, carrots, courgette and onions to use is to create a pot of home-cooked vegetable minestrone.
This Italian soup is beloved by foodies around the world. A delicately seasoned, tomato-based broth is studded with vegetables and legumes, making this a perfect first course for a feast, or a main course. Ideal for lunch or served with some nice bread and antipasti for dinner, minestrone is sure to please even the pickiest palates.
While you may have had a bland bowl of minestrone in the past, the recipe we’ve provided below includes a hefty handful of fresh herbs to add flavour. We also add the rind from Italian parmesan and some dry white wine to the simmering broth to add richness and depth of flavour. The pureed cannellini beans add a gorgeous creaminess to the soup without added dairy.
This soup freezes wonderfully, so you can take it out of the freezer in the winter months and enjoy a burst of summer freshness no matter what the weather outside.
- 1 bunch of rinsed Swiss chard
- 2 cups shredded savoy or green cabbage
- 4 medium tomatoes
- 2 tins (410 ml) of cannellini beans that have been rinsed; divided
- 2 tbsp good olive oil
- 2 medium carrots diced into ½ cm cubes
- 4 cloves of minced garlic
- 2 medium courgettes, quartered lengthwise and diced into ½ cm cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 tin (410 ml) of chickpeas that have been rinsed and drained
- 1 parmesan cheese rind
- 4 cups of homemade (or store bought) chicken broth
- 1/2 cup of freshly shredded parmesan
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Cut the tough stems from the Swiss chard leaves (do this by making a V-shaped cut around the stem). Finely chop the chard stems and chiffonade the leaves into ribbons. Set aside separately.
- Blanch tomatoes for 30 seconds in the boiling water and remove with a slotted spoon. Add into an ice bath or run under very cold water. Once cool, remove the skin (it should peel off easily) and then cut into quarters. Deseed, and then chop finely. Set tomatoes aside.
- Place half of the cannellini beans into a blender with 1/2 cup water, and blend until smooth. Set aside.
- Add olive oil and minced garlic in a large pot over medium-high heat and saute for 2 minutes. Add the carrots, courgette, chard stems, and salt and cook for 5 minutes (or until all vegetables are tender). Add in the white wine and cabbage, and then stir until cabbage wilts (2 to 3 minutes).
- Add in the reserved chard leaves, the whole cannellini beans, chopped tomatoes, the cannellini bean purée, chickpeas, the parmesan rind, and chicken broth. Bring to the boil, and then simmer until all vegetables are tender, approximately 15 minutes. Finally, remove the parmesan rind and serve topped with grated parmesan cheese!
- Sprinkle the top of your soup with parmesan cheese.
- Serve your fresh minestrone soup with a slice of good bread and either olive oil or butter.
- For a light lunch, add a small side salad.
- For a heartier meal, consider serving alongside a spread of Italian antipasti, including cheese, cured meats, olives and pickled vegetables.
Sean Barker is the MD of First Tunnels, and is enthusiastic about providing quality gardening supplies to gardeners across the UK