In celebration of the first week of winter we hope you enjoy this free excerpt from the soups section of The Food Book. Literally meaning ‘the big soup’ in Italian, minestrone is a hearty stew-like soup made from vegetables, dried beans and pasta. A range of beans can be substituted for kidney beans, including cannellini, lima and borlotti.

Minestrone soup


Serves: 4

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 65 minutes

Special equipment: large saucepan

Nutrition: good source of dietary fibre and lycopene; low in saturated fat

Skills: dicing, sautéing, simmering


1 onion

2 carrots 

2 sticks celery

1 leek

1 clove garlic

6 teaspoons (30ml) olive oil

200g pumpkin

1 potato

400g can tomatoes

2 tablespoon (40g) tomato paste

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

4 cups (1L) vegetable stock

¼ cup (25g) small shell pasta

2 zucchini

400g can kidney beans

½ cup (12g) flat-leaf parsley

salt and black pepper

20g parmesan and crusty bread to serve


01        Peel and dice onion and carrots, slice celery and leek and crush garlic. <Forgotten how to dice carrot? View the skills video here>

02        Heat oil in large saucepan and sauté onion, carrots, celery, leek and garlic for 5 minutes, or until softened but not browned.

03        Peel and dice pumpkin and potato; chop tomatoes and retain juice.

04        Place pumpkin, potatoes, tomatoes and juice, tomato paste, oregano and basil in large saucepan with vegetable stock.

05        Bring to boil over medium-high heat.

06        Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 40 minutes.

07        Add pasta and cook for 10 minutes.

08        Slice zucchini, add to saucepan and cook for another 10 minutes.

09        Drain and rinse kidney beans and add to saucepan. Cook for another 5 minutes.

10        Pluck parsley leaves from stalk, finely chop and add to saucepan.

11        Season to taste with salt and pepper.

12        Finely grate parmesan cheese.

13        To serve, ladle into 4 soup bowls, sprinkle with parmesan and eat with crusty bread.


Follow recipe for Minestrone soup, replacing vegetable stock with beef stock. Add 200g diced stewing beef and 1 rasher diced bacon to ingredients. Place all ingredients, except pasta and kidney beans, in slow cooker and cook on high for 5-6 hours (or on low for 10-11 hours). Add pasta and beans in final 20-30 minutes of cooking.


Schools that put The Food Book on their booklist, or who purchase a class set, will have exclusive access to the following:

  • Video of minestrone soup recipe presented by chef Glenn Flood
  • Videos of key Skills videos including: dicing onion and dicing carrot
  • ‘Virtual pantry’ to assist students in the creation of their own Minestrone variations

Forgotten how to dice carrot? View the skills video here!