Dan’s Tomato & Vegetable Soup (Minestrone)

Tomato & Vegetable soup, or Minestrone as the Italians like to call it, is a thick soup made with seasonal vegetables, often with the addition of pasta or rice—sometimes both, sometimes none! Common ingredients also include beans, onions, celery, carrots, leafy vegetables, stock, parmesan cheese and definitely tomatoes.

It is warming, nutritious and super tasty, and can be made gluten free if you don’t include the pasta. If you prefer vegan you can easily use vegetable stocks, so it’s a super versatile dish.  It’s the perfect soup to make if you want to use up ingredients in your fridge.

This recipe will give you 6 large bowls to share with the family.

You’ll need:

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium celery sticks, chopped
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups chopped seasonal vegetables (potatoes, zucchini and peas work well)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp fresh oregano, chopped finely (fresh is great if you have it, otherwise use dried)
  • ½ tsp fresh thyme (fresh is great if you have it otherwise use dried)
  • 1 large can (795gm) diced tomatoes, with the liquid juices
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup whole grain orecchiette, or small shell pasta (optional if you’re going gluten free)
  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed & drained
  • 2 cups baby spinach (or similar eg. baby silver beet, baby kale work great)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese, for garnishing (optional if you’re going vegan or dairy free)

Here’s what to do:

Warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering*, add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, tomato paste and a pinch of salt. Stirring often, cook until the vegetables have softened and the onions are turning translucent, approx. 7 – 10 minutes.

Add the seasonal vegetables, garlic and herbs. Cook until fragrant while stirring frequently, approx. 2 minutes.

Pour in the diced tomatoes and their juices, stock and water. Add salt and bay leaves. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Raise heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a rapid boil, then partially cover the pot with the lid, leaving a 1inch gap for steam to escape. Reduce heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove the lid and add the pasta (if using), beans and greens. Continue simmering uncovered for 20 minutes or until the pasta is cooked al dente and the greens are tender.

Remove the pot from the heat, then take out the bay leaves. Stir in the lemon juice and remaining olive oil. Taste and season with more salt and pepper to taste.

Serve and Garnish bowls with Parmesan cheese if you wish.

DAN’S FLAVOUR TIP: If you are not going vegan or dairy free, and you have a wedge of parmesan, you can add the rind of the parmesan wedge to the soup while it cooks and it will add an extra flavour punch!!!

*shimmering oil is hot oil, but not smoke point.