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What to do with this week's winter veggies - the best minestrone ever!

Updated: Jul 15, 2021

Are you looking for something delicious to cook on a cold winters evening with your weekly Cultivate veggie box delivery? Then look no further, with an abundance of nourishing winter veg and delicious filling beans, this winter warmer will be an absolute hit with your household. I often double this up and make it in a large pot, so I've got plenty to share or freeze for nights where I want something substantial but nourishing to keep me warm! Serve with some delicious crunchy bread and perhaps a nice glass of Central Otago pinot to wash it down. You won't be disappointed!

Prep time 20 minutes, cook time 1.25 hours plus soaking and cooling time, serves 6.


  • 100g or half a cup dried chickpeas soaked overnight in cold water

  • 65 g or 1/3 cup dried borlotti beans, soaked overnight in cold water

  • 3 large ripe vine-ripened tomatoes, scored

  • 150 mil olive oil, plus extra to serve

  • 4 silverbeet leaves, stems removed and diced, leaves sliced

  • One small carrot cut into 1 cm dice

  • one celery stalk cut into 1 cm dice

  • half large onion cut into 1 cm dice

  • 2 garlic clothes thinly sliced

  • 1.25 L or 5 cups vegetable stock

  • 400 g canned tomatoes blended with 250 mil one cup of water

  • one zucchini cut into 1 cm dice

  • 100 g dried macaroni

  • 100 g green beans cut into 2 cm pieces

  • 8cm

  • 1 piece of Parmesan rind, plus finely grated Parmesan to serve (optional)

  • 2 thyme sprigs

  • 1 fresh bay leaf


  • 1/2 cups firmly packed basil

  • 1 clove garlic crushed

  • 100 g pine nuts

  • 150 mil extra-virgin olive oil

  • 35g or 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan

  • juice of half a lemon


  1. Drained chickpeas and borlotti beans, placed in separate saucepan, cover completely with cold unsalted water, bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until beans are tender and chickpeas are just tender (40 to 50 minutes). Set aside to cool in water.

  2. Blanch tomatoes (20-40 seconds), peel discard seeds, dice and place in a bowl, or if you can’t be bothered just cut them up.

  3. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add silverbeet stems, carrots, celery and onion and fry until just softened (5 to 6 minutes). Add garlic, fry until tender (2-3 minutes), then add drained chickpeas and borlotti beans, diced tomato and remaining ingredients, bring to the boil and season to taste. Reduce heat to low to medium and simmer until all ingredients are soft (10-15 minutes). Remove Parmesan rind, adjust seasoning to taste and keep warm

  4. Meanwhile, for pesto, pound basil and garlic to a pot with a mortar and pestle. Add pine nuts and half the oil and pound to a smooth paste, mix in Parmesan, lemon juice and remaining oil and season to taste.

  5. Divide soup amongst bowls top with pesto and grated Parmesan, drizzle with oil and serve with some lovely crusty bread.

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