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Winter minestrone soup

Ideal for cold winter's evenings. The recipe for a delicious and comforting winter minestrone soup with pesto croutes.


2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
100g unsmoked lardons or chopped streaky bacon
2 large carrot, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 medium potato, chopped
2 garlic clove, finely chopped or crushed
400g can chopped tomatoes
1l vegetable stock (from granules or a cube)
2 tsp chopped sage leaves, or 1 tsp dried
few cabbage leaves, shredded
400g can haricot bean
handful chopped parsley

For the pesto croutes
slices of crusty bread
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp pesto


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.

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.

For the pesto croutes: 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.

About 15 minutes preparation time
About 40 minutes cooking time
Serves 4

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