Spring minestrone

Spring Minestrone Soup

Serves 6

  • 6 heaped tablespoons fresh pesto

  • 1.5 litres organic chicken, ham or vegetable stock

  • 1 bulb fennel

  • 100 g fine asparagus

  • 2 Romanesco cauliflowers, or 1 large cauliflower

  • 6 baby courgettes

  • 6 plum tomatoes

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced

  • 1 bunch spring onions, finely chopped

  • 100 g green beans, finely sliced

  • 100 g yellow beans, finely sliced

  • 100 g peas, podded

  • 100 g broad beans, podded

  • 100 g spaghetti, broken-up

  • sea salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 small handful fresh green or purple basil

  • 1 small handful fresh chives

First, if you're going to make pesto do it now. Bring a pot of stock to the boil. Then you need to get all the vegetables prepared and put to one side. The fennel has to be halved, sliced and finely chopped, the asparagus needs to have the woody ends removed, the stalks finely sliced and the tips left whole, the cauliflowers need to be divided into small florets, the courgettes need to be quartered lengthways and finely chopped and finally the tomatoes need to be blanched. Cut them in half, remove the pips and finely slice. Now you're ready to rock and roll.



In a casserole-type pan (quite wide but not very deep) put 5 tablespoons of olive oil and heat the pan on a medium heat. Add the garlic, spring onions and fennel and gently fry without colouring at all for about 15 minutes. Then add the rest of your prepared vegetables, the pasta and your boiling stock. Bring to the boil, simmer for about 10 minutes, season, and serve in big bowls with a dollop of fresh pesto in the middle, a sprinkling of chopped basil and chives, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.



Try this: As you can see, the idea of this soup is to celebrate all the vegetables that are available at the time, so feel free to modify the soup and make it your own.



And this: A good way to break up your spaghetti is to wrap it in a tea towel and then run it over the edge of your work surface.



Did you know? The fact that everything is finely chopped means that the cooking time is very quick and the soup remains light and fresh.

Nutritional Information

Spring minestrone

With a dollop of fresh pesto

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Full of lovely greens, veg and herbs, this fresh take on minestrone soup sums up the best of spring
Serves 6
45m
Super easy
Print this recipe
Method

There's a whole world of minestrones out there – most of which follow very strict, authentic recipes. Personally, I feel that a minestrone should always reflect the seasons: more cabbagy, frumpy ones in the winter and lighter, more colourful ones in the spring and summer. A minestrone can also be a whole meal if you want it to be, with pasta, stale bread or rice to bulk it out. To complement the spring vegetables, I've put a bit of a Genovese twist on it, with a spoon of fresh pesto added at the last minute, so the flavours explode in your mouth. Give it a bash.

First, if you're going to make pesto do it now. Bring a pot of stock to the boil. Then you need to get all the vegetables prepared and put to one side. The fennel has to be halved, sliced and finely chopped, the asparagus needs to have the woody ends removed, the stalks finely sliced and the tips left whole, the cauliflowers need to be divided into small florets, the courgettes need to be quartered lengthways and finely chopped and finally the tomatoes need to be blanched. Cut them in half, remove the pips and finely slice. Now you're ready to rock and roll.

In a casserole-type pan (quite wide but not very deep) put 5 tablespoons of olive oil and heat the pan on a medium heat. Add the garlic, spring onions and fennel and gently fry without colouring at all for about 15 minutes. Then add the rest of your prepared vegetables, the pasta and your boiling stock. Bring to the boil, simmer for about 10 minutes, season, and serve in big bowls with a dollop of fresh pesto in the middle, a sprinkling of chopped basil and chives, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Try this: As you can see, the idea of this soup is to celebrate all the vegetables that are available at the time, so feel free to modify the soup and make it your own.

And this: A good way to break up your spaghetti is to wrap it in a tea towel and then run it over the edge of your work surface.

Did you know? The fact that everything is finely chopped means that the cooking time is very quick and the soup remains light and fresh.

Whether it's delicious vegetarian or vegan recipes you're after, or ideas for gluten or dairy-free dishes, you'll find plenty here to inspire you. For more info on how we classify our lifestyle recipes please read our special diets fact sheet, or or for more information on how to plan your meals please see our special diets guidance.

Nutritional Information Amount per serving:

Calories

Calories are just a unit of energy. If you eat more than you use you can gain weight, or lose it if you don't eat enough. How much you need depends on your weight, gender and how active you are, but it's around 2,000 a day.

Carbs

Carbs are a great source of energy and, excluding foods such as potatoes, are made from grains - like bread, pasta and cereal. We all need carbs, but try to make them all wholegrain by sticking to brown bread, rice and pasta - they are much more nutritious.

Sugar

We all deserve a treat sometimes, but try to limit your sugar intake. Most of your sugar should come from raw fruit and milk, because they give us lots of nutrients too. Always check food labels so you know how much sugar you're eating.

Fat

We all need to eat a small amount of fat because it protects our organs and helps us grow. But we need to be careful about how much fat we eat and what kinds of fat, because in higher levels it's associated with weight gain, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Saturates

Saturated or "bad fats" are in beef, pork, chicken skin, butter, cream and cheese. Too much can be bad for our heart and cholesterol levels, but unsaturated or "good fats" in fish, nuts, avocados and some oils can help keep our hearts healthy if eaten in moderation.

Protein

Protein helps our muscles to grow and repair, as well as providing you with essential amino acids. When it comes to protein, try to eat leaner sources such as chicken and fish or non-meat sources such as eggs, dairy, beans, nuts, seeds, tofu and pulses.
  • Calories 577
    29%
  • Carbs 38.0g
    15%
  • Sugar 12.1g 13%
  • Fat 36.9g 53%
  • Saturates 6.4g 32%
  • Protein 19.1g 42%
Of an adult's reference intake

BUYING SUSTAINABLY SOURCED FISH

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Buying sustainably sourced fish means buying fish that has been caught without endangering the levels of fish stocks and with the protection of the environment in mind. Wild fish caught in areas where stocks are plentiful are sustainably sourced, as are farmed fish that are reared on farms proven to cause no harm to surrounding seas and shores.

When buying either wild or farmed fish, ask whether it is sustainably sourced. If you're unable to obtain this information, don't be afraid to shop elsewhere – only by shopping sustainably can we be sure that the fantastic selection of fish we enjoy today will be around for future generations.

For further information about sustainably sourced fish, please refer to the useful links below:

Marine Stewardship Council
http://www.msc.org/

Fish Online
http://www.fishonline.org

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  • 6 heaped tablespoons fresh pesto

  • 1.5 litres organic chicken, ham or vegetable stock

  • 1 bulb fennel

  • 100 g fine asparagus

  • 2 Romanesco cauliflowers, or 1 large cauliflower

  • 6 baby courgettes

  • 6 plum tomatoes

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced

  • 1 bunch spring onions, finely chopped

  • 100 g green beans, finely sliced

  • 100 g yellow beans, finely sliced

  • 100 g peas, podded

  • 100 g broad beans, podded

  • 100 g spaghetti, broken-up

  • sea salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 small handful fresh green or purple basil

  • 1 small handful fresh chives