Winter minestrone with pesto croûtes

Winter minestrone with pesto croûtes

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(61 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


  • 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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6th Apr, 2020
This is a great soup recipe, I didn’t add beans as it was substantial without. Didn’t add bacon either as we are vegetarians. Still very nice but found it thin so added corn flour towards the end to thicken it up. Had loads left over, so blitzed the rest with fresh basil and portioned it up for a pasta sauce, worked out great!
21st Feb, 2019
Delicious comfort food which is really easy to make.
21st Nov, 2018
The best soup I have ever made, my wife tells me! I followed the recipe exactly but added one leek because of a surplus in the garden. Thoroughly recommended recipe.
18th Feb, 2016
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.
30th Jan, 2016
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
8th Jun, 2015
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
23rd Nov, 2014
Frantic Flapjack
11th Nov, 2014
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.
30th Jan, 2014
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!!
16th Nov, 2013
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.


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