Minestrone soup

This recipe for vegetarian minestrone soup is delicious and is packed full of vegetables. It's really versatile and you can change the vegetables listed below for pretty much anything you have available.

Minestrone soup

Now, this is of course a challenging soup to serve up to two kids who claim not to like any vegetables and of course they weren't very impressed when they saw it on the table. In fact, R even cried. We've been trying to enforce a "you don't have to eat it, just don't cry or say yuck etc" rule for absolutely ages now but the message still hasn't got through. I have to remind myself that things have improved a lot from where they were a year or two ago, and that offering up meals like this is important at normalising vegetables for them.

I served this with croutons, as I knew that the inclusion of some bread would make the mealtime a bit more harmonious (and it did help as there was at least one thing on the table they liked). It doesn't really need it though.

I feel justified in including this recipe here because Baby S absolutely loved this meal and polished off a whole portion two days in a row. I really liked it too and it's a great vegetarian main course. It's also vegan if you don't serve it with Parmesan.

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 medium carrots, diced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 courgette, diced
2 peppers, diced
150g runner beans, stringy bits removed and cut into 3-4 pieces (use green beans if runner beans aren't available)
1 x 400g tinned tomatoes
1 x 400g tin cannellini beans
1.5 litres vegetable stock
150g small dried pasta shapes
100g frozen peas
Handful of chopped parsley (optional)

Heat the olive oil over a medium heat in a large, heavy based saucepan. Add the onion, garlic and carrots, cover and sweat for 10 minutes until softening. Stir in the courgette, peppers, runner beans and oregano and cook for a further 5 minutes. 

Pour in the tinned tomatoes, beans and 1 litre of the vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Stir occasionally, adding more stock if needed. Add the pasta shapes and frozen peas and cook for 10 minutes, or until the pasta is done. 

Stir in the chopped parsley if desired and serve with grated parmesan, salt and pepper. (NB: real parmesan isn't vegetarian but there are some excellent alternatives out there - I like the one from Sainsbury's).