As we reach winter solstice and the temperature keeps dropping, there’s nothing quite like a hot and hearty bowl of soup to keep you warm. It’s been a while since I’ve had minestrone, my main memories of it are from cold weekends when Mum or Nanna would cook up a big pot for the family. It always seemed a bit special to me that there was cooking going on for lunch, and we’d all sit at the table to eat.
Smoked paprika gives this one a little more depth of flavour, and the pesto just ties it all together beautifully. I like to sprinkle some nutritional yeast on top too just for good measure (not to mention those B vitamins!)
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 x 400g cans diced tomato
6 cups vegetable stock
3 carrots, diced (approx 2 cups)
2 stalks celery, diced (approx 2 cups)
1 large zucchini, diced (approx 2 1/2 cups)
2 potatoes, diced (approx 2 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into 2cm pieces
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans
1 cup macaroni or other small pasta
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chili flakes
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Pesto:
1 cup tightly packed basil
2 Tbsp pine nuts
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
Pinch of salt
Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic, carrot and celery and saute until softened – about five minutes. Add zucchini, potato, green beans, paprika, chili flakes and thyme and saute for another minute.
Add tomatoes and vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook until potato is tender – about 15-20 minutes. Turn up to bring to a boil again and add macaroni, chickpeas and cannellini beans. Reduce heat and continue to simmer until pasta cooked, stirring occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom.
While cooking, prepare the pesto: place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until combined. Set aside.
Once pasta cooked, stir in tomato paste, fresh parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Serve up and top with pesto.