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A nourishing Italian vegetable soup, minestrone makes a hearty meal served with crisp rolls and butter. The vegetables used in this recipe can he varied, with the addition of cooked dried beans if you like.

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4 tablespoons olive oil
2 rashers streaky bacon, derinded and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 celery sticks, sliced
2 carrots, diced
1 potato, diced
75 g (3 oz) French beans
2 courgettes, diced
3 ripe tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
125 g (4 oz) Savoy cabbage, shredded
3 tablespoons tomato purée
25 g (1 oz) small pasta shapes
900 ml (1½ pints) hot chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese to serve


Serves: 6


Place the oil, bacon, onion, garlic and celery in a large bowl and cook on HIGH for 5 minutes.

Add the carrots and potato, cover and cook on HIGH for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Cut the French beans into 2.5 cm (1 inch) lengths and add to the bowl with the courgettes. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, cabbage, tomato purée and pasta.

Add the hot chicken stock to the bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Cover the bowl and cook on HIGH for 10 minutes.

Serve in warmed individual soup bowls, with Parmesan cheese handed separately.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Power setting: HIGH
Cooking time: 22 minutes

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