Simple Minestrone Soup


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium brown onion, diced small
2 medium carrots, chopped small (see note 1)
2 celery stalks, chopped small (see note 1)
1 teaspoon salt, add more to taste
Pepper, ground to taste
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 x 400g tomatoes (see note 2)
1 x standard tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
150g green beans, chopped into 1cm lengths
1l or 4 cups of vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
150g small pasta – macaroni or risoni
1/2 bunch parsley finely chopped

See note 3 for other vegetable options


  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy based pot on medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, carrots, celery to the pan, allow to cook over medium heat until slightly softened. If they start to colour too quickly, reduce heat and continue to cook
  3. Season with salt and pepper
  4. Add the garlic and stir, allowing to cook for 1-2 minutes
  5. Add the tinned tomato, herbs, stock and green beans. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes
  6. Stir in the pasta and allow to cook for 10 minutes, uncovered, or until the pasta is cooked through
  7. Season to taste and serve with chopped parsley
  8. If soup consistency is too thick, add extra water or vegetable stock until desired

Note 1: Minestrone is often seen as a peasant dish, thus the chop of the vegetables is quite rough but still consistent in size.

To cut the carrot for the soup, first cut in half lengthways, then cut in half again to quarter the carrot. Then cut the lengths of carrot into short pieces roughly  1cm long. 

To cut the celery, cut the lengths into thirds to create thinner lengths and then cut into 1cm lengths as with the carrot

The consistency of length and similarity of shape of all ingredients allows for even cooking and consistent texture of the vegetables. They should be soft but no mushy when the soup is complete

Note 2: Tomatoes

Most tinned tomatoes are great for this soup. I sometimes use the whole peeled tomatoes and blend them or mash them prior to placing the soup for a bit more depth of flavour. Tinned cherry tomatoes work just as well as with standard diced tomatoes. I am a fan of the mutti brand tomatoes but being on the pricier side these are usually purchased when on special or I want the soup to feel a little fancier!

In a pinch 2 tbsp of tomato paste will replace the tinned tomatoes. It will result in a thinner broth with the vegetables but will have the same tomato based flavour. Another option if you’re wanting to use up vegetables or items in your fridge. 

Note 3: Other vegetables

The vegetables in this recipe are the basis for a lot of Italian cooking. Carrot, Celery and Onion are the Holy Trio as such – sofrito – the base of a lot of Italian “casserole” type dishes. You can add in potato, sweet potato, pumpkin, zucchini, capsicum and eggplant to this recipe. Be mindful of the proportion of vegetables to stock and ensure if you are adding a large quantity of vegetables that you also increase the tomato/stock volume to match

And as always, Happy Cooking!