By Jen Inglis
I love soup. It’s a friendly, steaming and nourishing bowlful (or mugful if that’s your thing) which is exactly what's needed at this dark and hibernating time of year.
And homemade soup is a whole other level because:
1. It tastes so GOOD and is healthier and cheaper than many shop-bought types,
2. Making soup for sharing is a generous act that will earn you loads of brownie points.
3. You and your kitchen will be warm and snug and smell incredible!
This minestrone (my personal favourite) is great as it’s filling, delicious and a low-waste and low-cost recipe that can be endlessly adapted to whatever veggies are in season. I’ve used pasta here but rice or other grains could be used to keep it gluten-free. Due to lockdown, we don't have Toby’s usual beautiful photos to wet your appetites but hopefully mine from home give you a wee idea! Eat with loads of crusty bread. I like to lightly toast it and rub with ½ a garlic clove before drizzling with a wee bit of extra virgin olive oil for some very speedy garlic bread.
For you ... and the planet
More than half a million people have signed up for Veganuary this year and loads more do it unofficially so we’d love to help anyone trying to reduce their meat and dairy intake this month! If there are any dishes that you would like to see veganised or are struggling for inspiration for alternatives this month, then get in touch and we'll be posting weekly vegan recipe shares!
3 tbsp olive oil
Large onion diced
2 carrots diced
2 celery sticks diced
2 cloves minced garlic
175g potato peeled large dice
½ a butternut squash deseeded, peeled and chopped
1 leek chopped
250g slow roasted cherry toms
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp herbes de provence
1 litre hot veg stock
150g green beans chopped
1 tin cannellini beans
Tiny pasta of choice! (I didn't have any so used some broken up spaghetti)
300g curly kale or Cavolo Nero de-stemmed and shredded
2 tbsp soy sauce
juice of 1 lemon
cracked black pepper
fresh parsley, basil or other seasonal fresh herbs and extra virgin olive oil for drizzle
crusty bread and spread of choice
1 Large Pan for Soup
Knives for chopping and Bread slicing
Roll cherry toms in 1 tbsp oil on a baking tray then put in oven at 120 degrees Celsius for 60 mins. Dice onions, carrots, celery and fry in the rest of the olive oil very gently and very slowly in a deep pan till soft and golden. We’re talking 30 mins+ for this but it's a really important step to get the best flavour in your minestrone so don’t rush. Means you've got plenty of time to prep your next lot of veggies or brew a coffee and relax!
Next add minced garlic and chopped potato, leeks and squash and fry gently till softened then add red wine vinegar, hot stock, bay leaves, dried herbs, roast cherry toms, pasta and the beans then simmer over a medium heat for 15 mins till cooked through. Finally add shredded kale/Cavolo Nero, soy sauce, lemon juice and stir and allow to stand for 1 minute.
Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Make a herby oil topping by either blitzing herbs through extra virgin olive oil (you can also chop herbs and mix through oil or use pestle and mortar) then drizzle over each bowlful and eat with crusty bread.
If you are looking for another easy and comforting recipe, why not try our pancakes?