My favourite way to make minestrone is to start with a packet of Italian mixed dried beans, but you have to remember to soak them overnight, plus they take more than an hour to cook. So here’s my much faster yet just-as-tasty version. It also includes my secret ingredient — Vegemite — for an Aussie twist!
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large brown onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 teaspoons Madras (or other mild) curry powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ small bunch celery (approx. 3 cups), diced
- 4 carrots (approx 3½ cups, 400 grams), diced
- ½ butternut pumpkin (approx. 4 cups, 400 grams), skin on, diced
- ½ swede turnip, diced, optional
- 400 gram tin diced tomatoes
- 400 gram tin red kidney beans, drained and rinsed well (see tips)
- 400 gram tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed well (see tips)
- ¼ cabbage, finely chopped (approx. 3 cups)
- 8 cups (2 litres) vegetable stock
- 2 teaspoons Vegemite, or more to taste
- Fresh basil and/or parsley, chopped
- Heat a large pot over a medium heat.
- When hot, add the oil and onion and cook until the onion softens and starts to brown.
- Add the garlic and cook, stirring for a few minutes, then add the curry powder and oregano and cook for a further minute.
- Add the celery, carrots, pumpkin, swede turnip, tomatoes, kidney beans, chick peas, cabbage and vegetable stock, then cover with a lid and bring to the boil.
- Turn heat down and simmer for 15–20 minutes, until vegetables are soft.
- When cooked, remove a little of the soup liquid and add it to the Vegemite to make a smooth paste. Stir this back through the soup to dissolve completely.
- Serve topped with basil, parsley or any other fresh herbs.
Tips: Replace the tin of red kidney beans and tin of chickpeas with 2 tins of 4- or 5-bean mix (or other beans of choice.
You can replace the tinned beans and chickpeas with 2⅔ cups, 480 grams of any combination of cooked chickpeas, beans and/or lentils.
Store cold cooked soup in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Recipe from “veggie-licious” – how to cook with lentils, chickpeas, beans, tofu and eat more plant-based foods by Caroline Trickey – Culinary Dietitian & Nutritionist, find out more here.