Tom’s Minestrone Soup
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
4 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 leeks, well washed, halved lengthways and chopped
4 celery sticks
8 garlic cloves, sliced
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
2 litres vegetable stock
4 sprigs of rosemary, leaves picked, finely chopped
1 tsp dried Italian mixed herbs
200g dried wholemeal spiral pasta
200g green beans, trimmed and cut into 3cm lengths
100g greens (cavolo nero, cabbage, spinach)
400g tin borlotti beans, drained
2 handfuls of basil leaves, finely chopped
4 tbsp sun-dried tomato pesto
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large courgette, grated
50g Parmesan, finely grated
Veg Portions / Serving: 3
Recipe donated by Tom Kerridge for Veg Power. Recipe is an extract from TOM KERRIDGE’S FRESH START. Photography © Cristian Barnett.
It takes a bit of effort to get all the veg prepped and ready for this minestrone, but it’s totally worth it as you’ll be rewarded with a hearty soup that is packed with layer upon layer of flavour and texture. Keep portions stashed in the freezer for a quick midweek evening meal, or to take to work in a flask for a nourishing lunch.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots and sweet potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15–20 minutes or until softened and caramelised. Add the leeks, celery and garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Tip in the tinned tomatoes, pour in the vegetable stock and add the chopped rosemary and dried herbs. Bring to a simmer and allow to simmer gently for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, break the pasta spirals in half. Add the pasta to the pan and cook for a further 8 minutes.
Now add the green beans, greens and borlotti beans and cook for a further 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped basil and sun-dried tomato pesto and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle the minestrone into warmed bowls, scatter over the grated courgette and then grate over lots of Parmesan to serve.
To freeze minestrone: Cool and pack into one-or two-portion tubs (without any courgette or Parmesan on top) then freeze. Defrost fully in the fridge overnight. Reheat in a pan over a medium heat (or microwave on high) until hot right through. Finish with grated courgette and Parmesan.
Kids who engage regularly with veg through veg-themed activities, such as arts and crafts, sensory experiences, growing and cooking are shown to be more likely to eat the veg they engage with. Encouraging kids to engage and play with veg is the handy first step to them developing a good relationship with veg and life-long healthy eating.
Kids in the kitchen
The eventual aim, if possible, is to get kids in the kitchen. Don’t worry, this doesn’t have to mean they are with you from start-to-end creating mess and rising stress levels! It can be as simple as giving them one small job (stirring, measuring, pouring, grating, chopping…) ideally involving veg. They can come in to do their little bit, and have fun with you for a few minutes. Getting them involved, making it playful and praising them plenty for their involvement, perhaps even serving it as dinner they “made”, makes it much more likely they will eat the food offered, not to mention teaching them important life skills. Find ideas, safety tips, videos and even a free chart in our Kids in the Kitchen section here.
While getting kids to interact with veggies for real and using their senses to explore them is best, encouraging hands off activities like arts & crafts, puzzles & games or at-home science experiments can be a great start, particularly for those who are fussier eaters or struggle with anything too sensory. Use these veg-themed activities as a stepping stone to interacting with the veg themselves. We have loads of crafty downloads here, puzzles here, and quirky science with veg here.
Once you feel your child is ready to engage a little more, you can show them how to explore the veg you have on hand with their senses, coming up with playful silly descriptions of how a veg smells, feels, looks, sounds and perhaps even tastes. Find ideas, videos and some simple sensory education session ideas to get you started here.
The moments before food is offered can be a perfect opportunity for engagement that can help make it more likely a child will eat it! Giving children a sense of ownership in the meal can make a big difference to their feelings going into it and the pride they take in it. You know your child best, but if you aren’t sure where to start, we have some fun and simple ideas for easy roles you can give them in the serving process over here.