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Minestrone soup

Carlton Boyce / 15 June 2016

Minestrone is an extremely easy soup to make and can be customised with whatever vegetables you have in the fridge.

Minestrone soup
Minestrone is a quick and versatile soup

Cooking time

30 minutes


4-6 people


  • 1lt vegetable stock
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 400g mixed vegetables (potatoes, rehydrated or tinned pulses, chick peas, carrots, or even shredded cabbage are ideal), cut into evenly sized chunks
  • 100g spaghetti, broken into short lengths
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced into chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 bay leaves


  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Zest from one lemon
  • Small handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Sour cream


Minestrone is one of the simpler soups to make; essentially you just throw some chopped vegetables into a stock and then add some pasta at the end to bulk it up and give a delicious texture contrast.

It’s this simplicity that makes it such a lovely recipe to keep handy, because you can substitute the vegetable stock for chicken, play around with the vegetables that are in season and use whatever pasta you have in the cupboard. So don’t be afraid to experiment with the ingredients and proportions to make a soup that is perfect for you!

1. Fry the onion (and garlic if you're using it) gently in olive oil until soft and translucent.

2. If you’re using carrots, potatoes or other hard vegetables, fry these gently for 5-10 minutes to start to soften them.

3. Add the stock, the tinned tomatoes and the rest of the vegetables. Simmer gently for 10-20 minutes until the vegetables are almost cooked.

4. Add the spaghetti, and cook for a further 10 minutes. If you’re using shredded cabbage then it only needs a couple of minutes to soften at the end of the cooking time.

5. Season to taste and serve with crusty bread.

Thrifty tip

If you shop locally your greengrocer will often have vegetables that are past their best but still edible. This is where minestrone’s versatility comes into play, allowing you to use cheap or even free vegetables to make a beautifully filling soup that freezes well and can be brought out at a moment’s notice for an impromptu lunch or supper.


If you want to turn a simple soup into something wonderful, then why not serve it with a dollop of sour cream sprinkled with gremolata. Gremolata is simply a mixture of finely chopped garlic, fresh parsley and lemon zest and it works wonderfully as a flavour supercharger for any stew, soup or meat dish.

Visit our soup and stew recipe page for more delicious soup recipes.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.