Minestrone verde with pesto


by: Cooking Granny

This is the recipe we make in the restaurant during spring, going into summer. We finish it with a little fresh pesto — but, if you prefer, you can just drizzle on some good peppery extra virgin olive oil. Obviously, when you make minestrone, you can cook all the vegetables together if you are in a hurry, but the proper way to do it is slowly, adding the vegetables separately in stages, so that they are all cooked to the same consistency and keep their own identity, with the potatoes only just soft. It's up to you. Also, if you don't have any vegetable stock, you could just use water — or make a quick stock from all the vegetable trimmings, apart from the fava bean skins (they turn the stock dark green), and add a couple handfuls of peas, to give an extra sweetness. Cook them all gently in a little olive oil until they start to become soft and mushy, then pour in about 8 1/2 cups of water, simmer for about 20 minutes, pour through a fine sieve, and you are ready to make your minestrone. We use just a tablespoon each of cooked borlotti (cranberry) beans and chickpeas. Normally l would say cook these yourself, but since we are talking about such a small quantity, on this occasion if you don't happen to have any already cooked, use good-quality canned beans and chickpeas — but rinse them very well first.


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serves: 4

2 carrots

2 white onions

1 leek

2 stalks celery

1 small bunch of Swiss chard

2 zucchini (with blossoms if possible)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 small bunch cavolo nero (Tuscan kale, roughly chopped) (optional)

1 handful of fresh peas

1 handful of fresh fava beans (blanched and skin taken off)

1 handful of spinach (roughly chopped)

8 1/2 cups good vegetable stock

1 medium potato (peeled)

1 tablespoon cooked borlotti (cranberry) beans

1 tablespoon cooked chickpeas

1 tomato

leaves some basil to garnish

4 teaspoons pesto (or about 4 tablespoons extra virgin oil, if you are not serving the soup with pesto)


Nutrition Facts
Minestrone verde with pesto

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount per Serving

Calories: 287

  • Total Fat: 11.6 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 1.7 g
  •     Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 211.2 mg
  • Total Carbs: 40.5 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 9.4 g
  •     Sugars: 12.2 g
  • Protein: 11 g

how is this calculated?

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1.  Blanch the tomato, skin, quarter, deseed and dice.

2.  Peel and dice the carrots and onions, and dice the lock, celery, chard and zucchini, reserving any flowers for garnish. (Reserve the trimmings of everything except the fava beans, if you are going to make a vegetable stock as above.)

3.  Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, then add the onion, cover with a lid and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on low heat, checking that the onion isn't coloring. Then add the rest of the vegetables in this order: carrots, celery, chard and Tuscan kale if using it, zucchini, leek,peas and fava beans, and spinach. The idea is t0 put in the vegetables one at a time, starting with the ones that take the longest to cook and letting each one cook briefly, just long enough to release its juices, before adding the next. Then, at the end, the vegetables should all be cooked equally. As you add each vegetable, put in a little sprinkling of salt.

4.  When the last vegetable has been in the pan for a few minutes, add the stock and the whole potato, followed by the borlotti beans and chickpeas. Bring to a boil, turn clown to a simmer and cook gently until all the vegetables are quite soft.

5.  Once the minestrone is cooked, adjust the seasoning if necessary and add the tomato. With a slotted spoon, lift out the potato, smash it lightly with a fork, then put back into the soup to give it some thickness. Spoon into bowls and garnish with some strips of zucchini blossom (if you have them) and/or the basil, and drizzle with the pesto or olive oil.

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