Happy Tummy Minestrone

This soup is a feed all and cure all – fresh and colourful, like an outdoor market in a bowl! Posh enough for supper with friends, just right for a homely, hearty meal when it’s cold outside, and perfect when you come home from holiday and need to top up on your vegetable intake. I often make it on a Wednesday night to use up all my vegetables before my fresh Riverford box arrives the next day. You can really use any vegetables you’ve got hanging around. Swap the pancetta for chorizo, or leave it out altogether if you want a vegetarian version.


  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 100 g pancetta (or lardons)
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • 2 courgettes, chopped
  • 3 large fresh tomatoes (or 225 g tin)
  • 100 g red cabbage (or cavolo nero, or Savoy)
  • 500 ml Marigold bouillon (or chicken stock if available)
  • good slug of red wine
  • 225 g tinned borlotti beans (or lentils)
  • fresh Parmesan cheese
  • fresh herbs – basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano all work well.


  1. In a heavy based casserole, sweat 2 onions with 100 g chopped pancetta (lardons will do) and 3 tablespoons of olive oil until they are a deep golden colour and everyone is asking what that wonderful smell is.
  2. Add the carrot, celery and courgettes, tomatoes and cabbage (and any other vegetables you’ve got to hand) and stir cook together for about ten minutes allowing the flavours to develop and caramelise.
  3. Add the bouillon and a generous glass of red wine, making sure the liquid covers the vegetables.
  4. If you are adding woody herbs, add them now.
  5. Cover and simmer for at least an hour, adding a tin of borlotti beans during the last 10 minutes. The soup should look quite rich and thick. Adjust the seasoning and leave it to stand for 10 minutes before serving.
  6. If you are adding leafy herbs, you can add them at the last minute along with an extra slug of olive oil and some grated or shaved parmesan.

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