Smoky Minestrone Soup with Pesto

As we reach winter solstice and the temperature keeps dropping, there’s nothing quite like a hot and hearty bowl of soup to keep you warm. It’s been a while since I’ve had minestrone, my main memories of it are from cold weekends when Mum or Nanna would cook up a big pot for the family. It always seemed a bit special to me that there was cooking going on for lunch, and we’d all sit at the table to eat.

Smoked paprika gives this one a little more depth of flavour, and the pesto just ties it all together beautifully. I like to sprinkle some nutritional yeast on top too just for good measure (not to mention those B vitamins!)

Smoky Minestrone Soup with Pesto
(serves 6-8)

1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 x 400g cans diced tomato
6 cups vegetable stock
3 carrots, diced (approx 2 cups)
2 stalks celery, diced (approx 2 cups)
1 large zucchini, diced (approx 2 1/2 cups)
2 potatoes, diced (approx 2 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into 2cm pieces
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans
1 cup macaroni or other small pasta
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chili flakes
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

For the Pesto:
1 cup tightly packed basil
2 Tbsp pine nuts
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
Pinch of salt

Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic, carrot and celery and saute until softened – about five minutes. Add zucchini, potato, green beans, paprika, chili flakes and thyme and saute for another minute.

Add tomatoes and vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook until potato is tender – about 15-20 minutes. Turn up to bring to a boil again and add macaroni, chickpeas and cannellini beans. Reduce heat and continue to simmer until pasta cooked, stirring occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom.

While cooking, prepare the pesto: place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until combined. Set aside.

Once pasta cooked, stir in tomato paste, fresh parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Serve up and top with pesto.



  1. ooooh that’s perfect for today!

    1. So true – I’m in soup mode at the moment!

  2. aspoonfulofnature says:

    sounds amazing to eat on a cold rainy day!!! yummy

    1. Thank you πŸ™‚ It sure is!

  3. I’d happily eat a large bowl of this at any time of year but it is particularly lovely to have such a warming dinner when it is this cold.

    1. Agreed – something comforting about a lovely hot dinner on a cold night. Strangely the last few days since winter solstice have seemed quite mild!

  4. mihl says:

    I am on the other side of the planet, but I think Minestrone is both perfect for summer and winter. You must be glad that days are finally getting longer (and warmer) again!

    1. I could agree with that! I definitely have more soups in the colder months, but I miss them when I don’t have them as much in summer. Definitely looking forward to some more daylight – the short days seem to prevent me from getting as much done as I’d like to!

  5. Whats cannellini beans??

    Also, I’ve an invite for us all. It’s a #WeeklyChallenge for #FoodBlogger to encourage genuine blog appreciation (not just empty likes).
    Please visit to participate & know more.

    1. Cannellini beans are sort of like white kidney beans. I think they might also be known as pinto beans?

      Sounds like a good challenge, I’ll check it out πŸ™‚

      1. I will check that.
        Thank you.
        Hope to see u soon :))

  6. This looks wonderful! I’ve never actually made a minestrone soup before, but yours is certainly calling my name. Next time soup’s on the menu around here, I think I know what I’m going for πŸ˜‰

    1. Thanks Meg! And thanks for popping by πŸ™‚

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