Skip to content

By Phoebe Altman, Food Sub Editor

Soup season is well and truly upon us. We’ve been trying to hold onto packed lunch salads for as long as we can, but it’s now time to let go and say goodbye until next year.

Soups such as minestrone are the perfect student lunch; cheap, easy, warming and healing (I don’t know about you, but everyone in my house is ill at the moment!) Plus, all you need is one big pot, no blender is required, making it perfect for a crowded student kitchen!

There aren’t really any rules when it comes to cooking minestrone. As it’s designed to use up any leftover vegetables and tins you have lurking in the back of your fridge or cupboard, each recipe will vary.

Generally, the base is onion, celery and carrot. There’s always pasta and a pulse of some sort, but you could add in chopped leek, a diced potato, shredded cabbage, butter beans, orzo, broken up spaghetti, or even alphabet pasta. Basically, whatever takes your fancy.

Typically, you begin by gently frying bacon, then cooking the vegetables in the fat that it releases. But we’ve gone veggie here, so I’ve swapped it out for a teaspoon of paprika to give it that smoky flavour.

This will make enough for your lunches throughout the week.

Minestrone Soup The Croft / Phoebe Altman


Olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 carrots, roughly chopped

2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped

1 courgette, cut into rough chunks

Rosemary, finely chopped (or any other dried herb)

1tsp chilli flakes

1tsp paprika

Tin of chopped tomatoes (400g)

1-1.5 litres veg stock

100g small pasta shape

Tin of beans (400g)

Couple of handfuls of leafy greens, chopped (eg. kale)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Pesto, to drizzle

1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat then add the onion, carrot, celery, courgette and cook slowly for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables have softened but not taken on any colour.

2. Add the chopped rosemary, chilli flakes and paprika and cook for a further 5 minutes

3. Add the cannellini beans, tin of tomatoes, pasta, leafy greens and enough vegetable stock to cover. Bring to the boil then simmer for 10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked. You may need to top up with more stock as you go, as the pasta will absorb quite a bit.

4. Season to taste with salt and pepper then serve with a grating of parmesan, a hunk of bread or, like I have, a drizzle of pesto.

Store in a Tupperware in the fridge and heat it up on the stovetop or in the microwave as and when you need it.

Featured image: Phoebe Altman

What's your favourite soup?