Eating healthily in these difficult times

Eating healthily in these difficult times

If like me you go through your fridge and find lots of small amounts of ingredients that in their own right could not make a meal, this recipe might suit you. Use it up minestrone is a flexible soup which is a good way to use up bits and pieces of veg and some of those ends of bags of pasta.Although today might not feel like soup weather you can freeze this soup for another day.


  • Olive oil for frying
  • 1 onion – chopped small
  • I garlic clove – crushed
  • 1 carrot –chopped small. If you don’t have this you can use butternut squash or sweet potato
  • 1 celery stick – chopped small- if you don’t have this leave it out
  • 1 courgette – chopped small
  • 1 can beans drained and rinsed – ones which work best are borlotti, cannellini, haricot (but you could use chickpeas or frozen peas or just leave out if you don’t have)
  • Other veg you have – shredded cabbage or spinach, kale, leeks
  • 1 veg or chicken stock cube
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tin of tomatoes – if you don’t have these use passata or tomato juice or if you don’t have any of these increase the tomato puree and add extra liquid
  • Handful dried pasta
  • 1 bayleaf – leave out if you don’t have
  • ½ teaspoon of any Italian herb (basil, oregano, mixed herbs)
  • 3 rashers of bacon – any type, chopped small. If you don’t have this you can use some odds and ends of ham or sausagemeat from a couple of sausages made into mini meat balls


Fry the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in the olive oil until soft but not coloured. Then add the stock, sugar, tomato ingredients, herbs. Add about 1 pint water and cook for a while to let the flavours develop. Then add the pasta, beans and courgette and cook until the pasta is cooked through. Stop cooking when the pasta is slightly al dente as it continues to absorb water after you stop cooking. Just towards the end of the cooking add in any shredded vegetables and cook for a few minutes. At the end fry the bacon or ham or meatballs until cooked and coloured and add. This is filling enough to be a main meal with some bread. Keeps for a few days in the fridge or can be frozen.

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