Minestrone is often eaten in the autumn and winter. But it is a soup for all seasons. The best chefs let their cooking be led by the produce that is at it’s best at any time of year. This approach is a win for your taste-buds, pocket and the environment.

This summer version of the famous Tuscan soup is lighter and greener than the deep orange colour that we might be used to, it also has more zing with the addition of a carrot top and basil pesto. It’s a great waste buster using leftover pasta or rice. Enjoy!

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil (olive is best for this recipe)
  • 1 onion, finely diced (leek, shallots or spring onions are great alternatives)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Small handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 400 grams of broad beans (fresh is great when they are in season, but frozen works well too)
  • 2 courgettes, diced
  • 750 millilitres of vegetable stock (check out our zero waste recipe)
  • 200 grams of spaghetti (or other small pasta)
  • 200 grams of baby spinach (or kale or chard)

Pesto

  • 100 grams of parmesan or another hard cheese (you can use a plant based alternative or 3 tablespoons of Engevita yeast flakes)
  • 50 grams of nuts (pine nuts, cobnuts, hazlenuts or seeds work well)
  • Small handful of basil leaves or stems (or even parsley if that is what you have)
  • Small handful of carrot leaves
  • About 60 millilitres of olive oil
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper

Method

To make the minestrone:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and garlic, and cook for 5 minutes until soft. Meanwhile, cook the broad beans in a pan of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and squeeze from their skins. Add the tomatoes and courgettes, and cook gently for 3 minutes.
  2. Pour in the stock, season and bring to the boil, then add the spaghetti and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. 
  3. Add the spinach and stir in the pesto, then check the seasoning.
  4. Divide among bowls. Enjoy.

To make the pesto:

  1. In a food processor, blitz the carrot tops, basil, nuts and parmesan. Gradually add enough oil to make a pesto consistency and season to taste with sea salt.

Food savvy tip

If you have leftover cooked pasta, rice or even slightly stale bread you can add this in near the end of cooking instead of the uncooked spaghetti. It will be delicious and is a great waste buster.

Hungry for more

Check out our recipe for zero waste veg stock