Winter minestrone with pesto croûtes

Winter minestrone with pesto croûtes

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(53 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 carrots, 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 cloves, 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, questions and tips

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8th Jan, 2013
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 !!!
7th Jan, 2013
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
3rd Nov, 2012
Yum yum. made exactly as recipe but can see lots of variations possible!
18th Sep, 2012
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.
10th Feb, 2012
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!!
29th Jan, 2012
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
22nd Jan, 2012
Making as we speak, but is it just me or does that calorie count look way too low...? Still, looks lovely!
29th Dec, 2011
Great comfort food. I made a garlic butter for the croutes instead of pesto.
2nd Nov, 2011
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!!!
19th Sep, 2011
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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