Minestrone Soup

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4 rashers middle bacon, rind removed, chopped (optional)
1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, trimmed, finely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 cups salt-reduced vegetable stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
3/4 cup macaroni
400g can kidney beans, drained, rinsed
2 small zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green beans
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh basil leaves


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add bacon, onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes or until onion has softened and bacon is golden
  2. Add stock, tomato paste, tomato and 1 cup cold water. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
  3. Add pasta, beans, zucchini and beans. Simmer for 15 minutes or until pasta is tender. Stir in basil.
  4. Serve with crusty wholegrain bread. Enjoy.


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