Winter minestrone with pesto croûtes

Winter minestrone with pesto croûtes

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(52 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 40 mins


Serves 4
Keep the winter out and warmth in with nutritious minestrone and pesto croûtes

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Easily doubled / halved

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal274
  • fat13g
  • saturates3g
  • carbs28g
  • sugars12g
  • fibre8g
  • protein13g
  • salt2.56g
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  • 2 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1 onion, chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 100g unsmoked lardons or chopped streaky bacon
  • 2 large carrot, chopped



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 2 sticks celery, chopped



    A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…

  • 1 medium potato, chopped



    The world's favourite root vegetable, the potato comes in innumerable varieties. A member of…

  • 2 garlic clove, finely chopped or crushed
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes



    A member of the nightshade family (along with aubergines, peppers and chillies), tomatoes are in…

  • 1l vegetable stock (from granules or a cube)
  • 2 tsp chopped sage leaves, or 1 tsp dried



    Popular in both Italian and British cookery, sage has long, grey-green leaves with a slightly…

  • few cabbage leaves, shredded



    The cabbage, or brassica, family is huge, and includes everything from the familiar red, white…

  • 400g can haricot bean
  • handful chopped parsley



    One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…

For the pesto croutes

  • slices of crusty bread
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1 tbsp pesto



    Pesto is a generic Italian name for any sauce made by pounding ingredients together.



  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the onion and lardons or bacon and fry for about 5 mins until the onion is starting to brown. Tip in the carrots, celery, potato and garlic, stir well and cook for a few minutes.

  2. Add the tomatoes, stock and sage, and bring to the boil, stirring. Reduce heat to simmer and cook partly covered for 30 mins, stirring in the cabbage after 15 mins. Drain and rinse the beans and add to the pan with the parsley. Season and serve with pesto croûtes, see right, or crusty bread.

  3. For the pesto croûtes: Cut 3-4 slices of crusty bread into chunks, about 2cm thick. Tip into an ovenproof pan. Mix the olive oil and pesto, then add to the bread, tossing it with your hands until the croûtes are evenly coated. Bake in a moderate oven for about 10 mins until crisp.

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Comments (58)

jaynepearson's picture

This is great with a handful of pearl barley added - add it when you add the stock, as it needs about half an hour to cook. It thickens the soup and gives a lovely soothing texture.

JILLYPIPS's picture

My husband who is not keen on vegetables loves this soup.
Very easy to make
I swapped half the bacon for chorizo which made for a more Mediterranean flavour

andrea0018's picture

This soup is delicious. I live in france and used this for a started for some french friends, and they loved it!! Could you imagine my delight that an English person, yes me!! Concored the French...and not blowing my own trumpet, they loved the whole 6 course meal. Oh I give this recipe 5 golden star's...

Barbora Briss's picture


Frantic Flapjack's picture

Lovely winter soup. I tweaked it a bit - I replaced the bacon with mushrooms and put in a few handfuls of spinach at the end in place of the cabbage and replaced the potato with a couple of handfuls of small pasta.

Sammiegirl's picture

Just made this delicious soup. Tweaked it after reading everyone else's comments. Use passata and grate potato to give a nice thick base. If you're using stock cubes and bacon be careful as this could get salty. Finely chopped sprouts are nicer than cabbage and any mix of beans will do. Croutes are in the oven I can't wait!!

kerryp30's picture

One of my favorite soup recipes, so easy and economical to make.

Its easy to add what ever veg you have in the fridge to use up especially peppers and any variety of tinned beans seems to work well.

I alway end up adding quite a lot of cabbage as it a good way of using it up but I have added peas for some extra colour too.

A really fab soup, everyone in work always comments how nice it smells when I take it for lunch.

moocou's picture

Found it wonderful and super enjoyable! Will definitely be making it again, didn't put in the celery though and it still was wonderful, only problem was with potatoes taking longer than stated to cook but other than that it was a pure delight!

maryechappell's picture

Great soup, used a pak choi instead of cabbage and added half a yellow pepper both which I had in.

marieb1's picture

Very tasty. I left out the bacon and forgot to add the mushrooms in their place, but it was really good as it was. Will make again.

grannytracey's picture

just made this, with a few "tweeks" i.e. no potatoe, and no cabbage in our village on an island off Hong Kong, so used some local "greens" and some broken pieces of spaghetti and finally stirred some basil oil just before serving with grated parmesan on top... very very good !!!

jgavin85's picture

really nice and easy to make. i didnt use any bacon potato or beans. used cabbage, green beans and broken wholemeal spaghetti instead and everybody enjoyed it! also didnt use the croutons as trying to be good so just added a little pesto to the finished bowl. feel like you can use the base and pretty much add what you've got available. will definately be making this again trying out all the different ways suggested!

Suffolk Primrose's picture

Yum yum. made exactly as recipe but can see lots of variations possible!

coolruth's picture

Very tasty. I missed out the cabbage but did add cornflour to thicken as it was rather watery. I think this would also be nice thickened with lentils.

donnadrew's picture

We really enjoyed this filling tasty soup! I left out the celery, & added some broken spaghetti with the cabbage. Really good - will be making again!!

rainbowrosebuds's picture

lovely filling soup. really easy to alter to suit your own taste. i left out bacon and added frozen peas and spaghetti pieces at the same time as the cabbage. will definitely be making again!!

pwrpuff83's picture

Making as we speak, but is it just me or does that calorie count look way too low...? Still, looks lovely!

janeedlington's picture

Great comfort food. I made a garlic butter for the croutes instead of pesto.

mian8910's picture

Me and my boyfriend really enjoyed it!!!It was very nice and filling, but didn't feel too much, it tastes amazing, will definitely make it again!!!

yorkshirejen's picture

This is a real winner, but it's the pesto croutes that are the star! People may very soon get sick of me putting them on everything I cook. Left out the potato and put wholewheat spaghetti in instead, then reheated the next day and slung in some fried leeks and butterbeans. Just fab - you could go on tweaking this recipe forever.


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