Minestrone with Pesto


6 cups vegetable stock or water or a combination of both 45ml/3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 leek, sliced
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into small dice
1 bay leaf
1 fresh thyme sprig or 1/4 tsp dried thyme
4 oz peas, fresh or frozen
2-3 courgettes (zucchini), finely chopped
3 medium tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
2 cups cooked or canned beans such as cannellini
3 tbsp pesto sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper
grated Parmesan cheese, to serve


  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the stock or water to simmering.
  2. In another saucepan, heat the olive oil. Stir in the onion and leek and cook for 5-0 minutes, or until the onion softens. Add the carrots, celery and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add the potatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes, then pour in the hot stock or water and stir well. Add the herbs and season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat slightly and cook for 10-12 minutes.
  4. Stir in the peas, if using fresh ones, and the courgettes. Simmer for 5 minutes more. If using frozen peas, add them now along with the tomatoes. Cover the pan and simmer for 5-8 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  5. About 10 minutes before serving the soup, remove the lid and stir in the beans. Simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the pesto sauce.Taste for seasoning. Simmer for another 5 minutes, then remove from the heat. Allow the soup to stand for a few minutes before serving with the grated Parmesan.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Delicious and Fresh Essential Vegetarian