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Good Cooking: How to make the perfect minestrone

Passionate about food which is as full of goodness as flavour, Cambridge nutritionist and plant-based chef Melanie Hanspall shares a monthly recipe with Velvet. On the menu for October: minestrone soup

This is one of my versions of the Italian soup ‘minestrone’, a firm favourite of mine! The ingredients are interchangeable and you could just use whatever veg you have to hand - and if you don’t have pasta, use noodles instead.

Packed with antioxidants to support our immune system, whilst feeling comforting and warming for those cooler days, it’s nourishing and hearty, ideal for the changing of the seasons as we move into autumn proper.

It also contains everything we need for a balanced meal – a good combination of protein, whole wheat carbohydrates, fibre and healthy fats. Filling on its own or serve with some artisan bread (rye sourdough is my favourite).

LoveNutritionCambridge - October 2021 Velvet recipe, minestrone (51020867)
LoveNutritionCambridge - October 2021 Velvet recipe, minestrone (51020867)

Ingredients (to serve two):

1 x 200g tin Borlotti beans

Generous handful broken brown pasta

100g green beans cut into halves

1 pint vegan bouillon

1 x chopped onion

2 x chopped garlic cloves

1-2 x celery sticks chopped (use the leaves for extra punchy flavour)

1 x large carrot diced

2 x tsp fennel seeds

1 x tsp oregano

Pinch chilli flakes

2 x tbsp tomato puree

Optional dried or fresh mint to serve

Extra virgin olive oil to serve

Olive oil for cooking

Sea salt and black pepper to serve


In a heavy based pan, add a generous glug of olive oil and heat gently.

Add the onion, celery, garlic, fennel seeds and chilli flakes and shallow fry on a medium heat until the onions are translucent.

Add the tomato puree and stir in for a minute.

Add the stock and carrots and simmer for 5 minutes with the lid on the pan.

Add the pasta, beans and oregano and simmer until they are al dente.

Divide into 2 bowls and add the extra virgin olive oil and mint.

Season and serve. Enjoy!

For more information about Melanie’s work as a nutritionist, plus more plant-based recipe inspiration, see lovenutritioncambridge.co.uk

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