Minestrone Soup

On a cold, dull winters day this soup brings a welcome vibrant warmth. I seem to be in need of that at the moment as this follows on from my Roasted Mediterranean Vegetable Lasagne.  I am obviously longing for blue skies and warm sunshine in my subconscious!    It reminds me of summer yet it’s base is the Italian combination of carrots, celery and onion known as sofrito that is available all year round. Add some red or yellow pepper, some frozen sweetcorn or peas and a jar of passata instead of fresh tomatoes, and you are immediately under summer skies again and you’ve banished any winter blues with yellows, reds and bright verdant green.


Vibrant Minestrone Soup

This is a great soup for using up any leftover Parmesan rind by slipping it into the soup with the passata just as the Italians do.  It seasons the soups and makes sure you use every last bit of an expensive ingredient. Mind you make sure you take it out just before serving!   If you have any broken pasta bits use those to finish the soup, if not use spaghetti that you break up yourself or finish off that handful of dried penne or macaroni sitting at the bottom of the packet that’s not enough for the next meal.  If you have a courgette that’s starting to go soft, a lone leek that isn’t going to be used otherwise, slice or dice and add those with the other veg.  This soup is great for leftovers

I like to use fresh basil when I have it but if you don’t a spoonful of pesto works wonders.  Delicious.

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, sliced
  • 50g frozen sweetcorn kernels
  • 50g frozen peas
  • 680g jar passata
  • salt and pepper
  • handful of pasta (broken spaghetti, macaroni, penne etc) see notes above
  • parmesan, basil and toasted pine nuts to serve


  1. Put a large pan with olive oil, carrot, onion and celery over a medium heat
  2. Saute for 5 mins till vegetables begin to soften
  3. Add minced garlic and red pepper and cook for a further 5 mins
  4. Add sweet corn, peas and any other vegetable you have chosen, stir well and continue cooking for another 5 mins
  5. Pour in the passata.  Fill the jar with water and add to pan with seasoning (add Parmesan rind if using) and cook, covered for 20 mins.
  6. Add the dried pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes until pasta is al dente
  7. Adjust seasoning, (remove Parmesan rind) stir through basil or pesto
  8. Serve, garnished with a few more basil leaves, pinenuts and parmesan.  Great anytime but even better after walking the dog!




  1. Rosie– this looks perfect about now!! Love the tip about using the rind of parmesan. And fun fun to see your dog! What’s HIs/her name? Are the the family dog walker? I’m imagining you have beautiful countryside nearby to walk along in… thanks for the recipe! xox

    • Lickthespoon says:

      This one is called MacIntosh. He’s the old boy. He has such a lovely temperament. So laid back and particularly wonderful with kids. He can’t go for long walks now but he really loves going across the field to visit Betty our neighbour who is a very fit 94 year old and makes a big fuss of him!

      • I’ll be Betty loves to see him coming! Our neighbors next door have a huge Bernadoodle who is just one big black fluff ball and we love when he drops by! Hope your week is going well– more soup?? What have you been doing?? hugs!

      • Lickthespoon says:

        I have never heard of a bernadoodle but I bet he is a ball of fluff – and a very tenacious poodle his father must be! I’ve been mastering sourdough bread this week. I’ve kept a starter going for years and have always made bread but it never really had any sour taste it was more like a leven. So I finally found time to tinker with it and it went too sour at first (be careful what you ask for) and this last loaf I’ve got the taste just right so am very pleased.
        How about you. how was SF?

      • Oh yummm Rosie! You are such an intrepid baker. It sounds complicated to work through all the sourdough experimenting! Good for you! Glad you got it just right! Bread is my favorite– I could live on bread and butter!! And the SF trip was lovely- quiet and low key, mostly playing with grand-kids and talking with my daughter. Happy Weekend. xox

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