Nonno’s Minestrone

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  • 1 x large onion roughly diced (around 1 inch)
  • 3 x medium carrots roughly diced (around 1 inch)
  • 3 x celery stick roughly diced (around 1 inch)
  • 100g chopped tin tomatoes
  • 1 x large fresh tomato cut in 1/8ths
  • 200g frozen peas
  • 50g parmesan rinds cubed (omit if vegan)
  • 200g dried pearl barley (no need to pre-soak) *or if you prefer use our organic anneletti pasta
  • 200g savoy cabbage finely sliced
  • 2 litres of cold water
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Cooking oil & Sicilian chili infused extra virgin olive oil

Nonno always made the best minestrone, warm, filling and full of nutrients. This dish was nonno’s go to post Christmas winter dish, it was a great way to use up any spare veg lying around and those end pieces of parmesan rind which you always find tucked away in the back of your fridge feeling guilty to throw away the little last bit of cheese that still exists on there. It adds so much flavour to this dish as it gently disintegrates into the minestrone whilst slowly cooking. Of course if you are steering away from dairy you can leave this part out to become vegan.


Take a large saucepan with a lid and place to one side. Prepare the onions, celery and carrots by cleaning and chopping into roughly 1 inch cubes. We tend to keep the skin on the carrots and wash them really well to keep as many nutrients in as possible.

Taking the saucepan add 3 generous tablespoons of your cooking oil and add in the prepared onions, carrots, celery and begin to gently fry until the onions are translucent and lightly golden.

Tip* This method in Italian is called a soffritto and forms the base to many dishes, this is the most important stage of this dish as this is where we build the base of flavour.

Once the soffritto is ready add in the tinned tomatoes to the saucepan and fry for 1 minute and then add in the fresh tomatoes and continue to fry for another minute and season with a generous pinch of salt and stir well.

Tip* At this stage to add an extra layer of depth of flavour you can add a heaped tbsp of sundried tomato paste if you have any and cook before the tinned and fresh tomatoes.

After 2 minutes of frying, fill the saucepan with approx 2 litres of water, and bring to a boil. Once the water has come to a boil, turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and add in the frozen peas and parmesan rind if using and cook for 20 minutes with the lid on.

After 20 minutes of simmering, taste the broth for seasoning and if required add more salt. At this stage add in the pearl barley and cook for a further 25 minutes on a low simmer with the lid on.

Tip* Check the manufacturer’s cooking guidelines for the pearl barley, we use a pearl barley which does not require pre-soaking and cooks within 30-40 minutes.

After 25 minutes add in the finely shredded cabbage for the last 10-15 minutes stirring well and keeping the lid on.

To serve, leave the minestrone to rest for 15 minutes before stirring in 4 tbsp of superior quality olive oil. We enjoy a spicy kick in our family so we always use our Sicilian chilli infused extra virgin olive oil.

Serve the minestrone in big hearty bowls with freshly ground black pepper and if not avoiding dairy a shaving of parmesan cheese too.

Buon appetito!

Why not try another one of our delicious healthy recipes such as our Nonna’s Chilli Broccoli in Sugo.

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