Whilst living in London I lived with two beautiful girls, Alex and Anna. Part of our evening ritual, particularly in the winter, was dancing around each other in the tiny kitchen, making dinner. Mid-week we’d all get home at different times and usually cook separate meals so there was always a dialogue about what was being cooked, why, how, etc. Even if someone was having an egg on toast. Then we’d all sit down to eat on the sofa and discuss how our days had been. It’s one of the things I miss most about London!
This green minestrone with herbs and cannellini was one I’ve taken from Alex (who originally adapted it from one of Sarah Wilson’s recipes). Alex is a real soup lover and this is one of her (and my) all-time favourite soups. The original recipe and the one Alex still makes uses chicken and chicken stock, so feel free to add chicken back in. When I first started making it (and still ate meat) I used to buy a lovely organic chicken and then boil the entire bird in a big pot with herbs, onions, garlic and whatever veg I had floating around. After a couple of hours, I’d tear off all the soft chicken meat and use this in the soup, and then strain the liquid that had become a beautiful aromatic stock and use this as the base for the soup. It was a longer process but one I very much enjoyed. If you do use chicken, make sure to get one that is organic and of the best quality. And likewise if you are buying stock and chicken meat separately.
I’ve tweaked the recipe a little further, making it vegetarian (and actually it’s vegan too). I like the recipe to be flexible, particularly with the vegetables I use, trying to be as seasonal as possible. You can really experiment with your greens in this soup. Also, the original recipe uses chickpeas which are lovely, but I often reach for cannellini beans instead. I also love this soup because I like to order big seasonal boxes of vegetables (I used Farmdrop in the UK and I like Ceres, Prom Coast Food Collective or Organic Origins in Melbourne), when the box arrives I never know what to expect and there is always at least 3-4 green things. This soup is the perfect way to make something that uses all these without any additional thinking. So use this recipe, but definitely experiment with it!
It really is one of the best homemade soups you’ll ever have – the first time Alex made it she said, it was ‘one I planned to make for the rest of my life!.’
- 2 tbsp coconut oil (or rice bran oil)
- 1-2 leeks
- 1 brown onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 3-4 celery stalks
- 2 zucchinis
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1-2 tsp dried basil
- 2 cups Savoy cabbage or Brussels sprouts
- 1.5 litres organic vegetable stock (or chicken)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
- 400 g cannellini beans
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to season.
- Sourdough bread, to serve
Heat the oil in a large pot. Finely chop the leek, onion, garlic and celery and add them to the pot. Sauté until tender – about 5 minutes. Finely chop the zucchini and add it to the pot, cook for about 3-4 minutes.
Add the thyme and basil to the pot. Finely chop the zucchini and cabbage / Brussels sprouts and add all this in. Cook for another 3-4 minutes.
Add the stock, peas, drained and rinsed cannellini beans, salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 - 20 minutes. Serve soup straight from the pot with a slice bread, if you like.