Hearty Minestrone Soup.


Who loves a one pot dish? I know I do. When I am busy baking, gardening, or let’s be honest, having some chill time in the garden and catching some rays – knowing that dinner is already made can really take the pressure off. So in the spirit of sharing, that is Feasting is Fun, may I present to you my Hearty Minestrone Soup.

For the record, may I just say that I LOVE SOUP!!

Because honestly, the number of recipes on this site simply doesn’t reflect how many times I make soup, both for lunch and dinner.

I am definitely working on rectifying that.

Soup for any season

I have never held with the notion that soup is simply for eating during Winter and the colder months. Even though today it has been quite a warm, humid day and yet this Hearty Minestrone Soup really has hit the spot for dinner.

Also being able to make this soup earlier in the day, has left me free to carry out some much needed recipe write ups, secure in the knowledge that dinner has already been made.

The smoked bacon provides a delicious, yet subtle background flavour to this vegetable packed meal. If you are a vegetarian simply leave out the meat and opt for vegetable stock instead.

Seasonal comfort in a bowl

Following some initial research I have found that there isn’t actually a set recipe for minestrone soup. Italian in it’s origins, it varies from region to region and no doubt household to household. The key to making this soup the very best meal, is to use the best quality, seasonal ingredients that you can afford.

Let’s be honest, this is an incredibly budget friendly meal.

Even a full English Breakfast wouldn’t feed six people using a few rashers of bacon!

While I have listed specific vegetables and quantities in the recipe below, please feel free to switch things up and use whatever seasonal, abundant vegetables are available. I am very much hoping to recreate a version of this Hearty Minestrone Soup at the end of the Summer, with produce grown in our garden.

Exciting times ahead!

The new garden diary section on Feasting is Fun will be up and running soon. The aim being to help and encourage you to grow a few salad items and vegetables in containers. The reward is immense when you can actually pick your own produce from the garden and then use your ingredients in a recipe.

Recipe: Hearty Minestrone Soup serves 6

1 Large Spanish Onion

125g/6 Rashers Smoked Streaky/Back Bacon – I love the bacon from Graig Farm

3 Large Carrots

2 Sticks of Celery

6 Cavelo Nero Leaves – alternatively use cabbage or kale

3 Cauliflower Florets

2 Garlic Cloves

1/2tsp Chilli Flakes – adjust according to taste

4tbsp Tomato Purée

1 Chicken Stock Cube – vegetable stock can be substituted

100g/4oz Spaghetti – small pasta can be substituted

Sea Salt and Freshly Ground pepper to season.

Large handful of fresh Basil Leaves – cut into thin strips

Method: Making the soup

  • First of all the olive oil to a large, heavy based pan and place over a medium heat.
  • Finely dice the onion, add to the pan and cook until the onion turns translucent.
  • Next add the roughly chopped bacon and continue to cook until the bacon is starting to crisp.
  • Finely chop both the carrots and celery and then add to the pan.
  • Cook for a further 5 minutes and then add the minced garlic.
  • After 1 minute add hot water from a recently boiled kettle and the tomato purée.
  • Scrape any caramelised brown bits from the bottom of the pan, these are packed with flavour.
  • Thinly slice the cavalo nero and cauliflower. Add both of these to the soup.
  • Crumble in the stock cube and add the chilli flakes.
  • Ensure that the saucepan you are using is two thirds full by adding extra hot water from the kettle.
  • Break up the spaghetti into roughly 2.5cm/1″ pieces and add to the soup.
  • Add a good amount of freshly ground, black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt flakes (1/4tsp if using free flowing table salt).
  • Bring the soup to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
Hearty Minestrone Soup reducing over a low heat.
Hearty Minestrone Soup reducing over a low heat.
  • After the cooking time has elapsed check the soup for seasoning and adjust as necessary.

To serve, ladle the soup into deep bowls, sprinkle over ribbons of fresh basil and add thick slices of homemade bread, such as this Farmhouse White Loaf.

Make ahead and freeze

This Hearty Minestrone Soup can be kept in the fridge for 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Cool the soup completely and then ladle into individual freezer safe, plastic containers. Label and pop in the freezer. I prefer to freeze soup in individual portions as it is easier to remove just one portion, during the week for lunch.

To reheat, run hot tap water over the bottom of the sealed, frozen container. Remove the lid, the frozen, solid block of soup should release easily into a saucepan. Add a splash of hot water from the kettle and gently cook over a low heat until the soup has defrosted. Increase the heat to ensure that the soup is piping hot. Serve as for fresh soup.

I have been making versions of this soup for years, however, I think the addition of the cavelo nero added such a depth of flavour, this may be my favourite version so far!

If you like soup and have enjoyed this Hearty Minestrone Soup, here are some other soup recipes you might like to try:

Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup

FF Hearty Minestrone Soup
Roasted Garlic Butternut Squash Soup a great vegetarian dish.

Roast Chicken Noodle Soup

FF Hearty Minestrone Soup
Roast Chicken Noodle Soup another inexpensive meal.

Carrot Soup

FF Hearty Minestrone Soup
Carrot Soup simply a hug in a bowl.

While writing the post for the unbelievably delicious Chicken Herb Burgers, I talked about the relative cost of buying good quality meat and how I’d rather pay more, for non intensively reared animals, off setting this by eating great meat less often. As a result this recipe contains a mere 6 rashers of bacon and feeds six people. And that, for me, is balance.

Do you have a favourite soup recipe – homemade or canned?

Do you view soup as a meal in itself, or simply an appetiser or light lunch?

Have fun making and baking in the heart of your home and thank you for the wonderful comments and fantastic photos that you are putting on Twitter and Instagram. I never take for granted the trust you place in me when following any of my recipes, which is why I try my hardest to get them right before I share them here, on Feasting is Fun.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.


Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole


As a family of five, make ahead meals are really helpful when life gets busy. And, if the recipe can be made in one pot that makes the cooking experience easier and more fun. My Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole ticks both boxes. Whether it is bubbling away on the hob, or in the oven, it’s aroma fills the house with a warm spicy scent. Almost like a warm hug welcoming you home.

FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole

Why I love Autumn

Before we get on with the recipe, I’d like to share my thoughts with you. Since Autumn, or Fall as it’s called in the States is my favourite season. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Summer, in fact, I like all of the seasons. Much as the glorious, unending sunshine places like California offer, I simply love the change in seasons we enjoy here in England. You may enjoy reading Autumn The Most Beautiful Season.

There is something enchanting about the subtle change in weather, usually towards the end of August, or beginning of September where I live. Whether it’s the deep, deep green of the leaves on the trees, or the rustle as the wind blows through the drying out leaves. As their colour changes, from deepest red to fiery orange, with an almost last nod to the low hanging sun in the sky, they finally turn yellow. Some days bring fluttering, confetti like leaves, dancing through the air on a breeze. While other days see trees, ripped overnight of their leafy covering, by violent storms and gale force winds.

Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole served with crusty bread.

There is a welcoming warmth of sunshine. Especially on a clear, frosty, day. Although, there is something to be said for darker, rain and wind filled days, snuggled up on the sofa, the smell of a spicy casserole, gently bubbling away in the oven. And puddings! A must, some may say essential,  during the colder months.

Creating a cheap meal using quality  products

Since first making this dish it has evolved to the final recipe given here. While most of the ingredients are relatively cheap, it is essential to use good quality sausages. Pale, flabby, pink sausages will simply disintegrate during the long cooking process. So adding good quality pork sausages, while more expensive, will enhance the overall flavour of the dish. Especially as one packet will feed up to six people.

FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole
Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole an easy one pan meal.

You will need a large ( 4 litre) ovenproof casserole dish, or bigger if doubling the recipe to feed a crowd.

Recipe: Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole serves 4 – 6

1 Large Onion – chopped into small dice

1 Aubergine – chopped into 1/2″ cubes

450g/1lb Good Quality Sausages each sausage chopped into 4 pieces – I use Graig Farm Sausages

2 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes ( plus 1 extra tin if not adding wine)

1 x 400g tin of baked beans

2 x 400g butter beans – strained and rinsed with cold water

4 individual bulbs of garlic – minced

1 chilli (or 1tsp chilli flakes) finely chopped

200mls of red wine I use Claret (or 100ml Port – any type except Tawny) – optional – add extra tin of tomatoes when leaving out alcohol.

2 tbsp tomato puree

1/2tsp Celery Seeds

3/4tsp Fennel Seeds – I use Bart spices

Handful of fresh parsley chopped and added after serving

Freshly Ground Black Pepper to season.

Note: Having made this dish many times, it has never needed the addition of salt.

Method: Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan, gas mark 4, 350F.

Assembling the casserole

  • First of all place the onion, aubergine and sausages in the casserole dish Andrew pour over the red wine or Port.
  • Add both tins of tomatoes, then half fill each tin with cold water, swirl around so that you get all of the tomato juices left inside the tin and pour over the casserole.
  • Next tip in the baked beans and swirl the tin with water as before, pouring into the dish, then add the rinsed butter beans.
  • Add the tomato purée, minced garlic, chilli, celery seeds, fennel seeds and a good grinding of black pepper
  • If needed add more cold water until all the ingredients are just covered with liquid. Making sure there is still a good inch between the liquid and the top of the casserole dish.
FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole
Making the casserole.
  • Place the lid (or cover tightly with tin foil) on to the dish and place in the oven.
  • Cook at 180C for 1/2 hour then reduce the heat to 140C/120C fan, gas mark 1, 275F, or a very low oven temperature.
  • Leave to cook for 3 hours. Check and top up with recently boiled water so that the ingredients are just covered with liquid again.
  • Clamp on the lid (or foil) and return to the oven for 2 more hours. You can repeat the liquid adding throughout the day, the longer this casserole cooks the better it tastes!
  • The Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole will be cooked after 5 1/2 hours.
  • Serve in bowls, sprinkled with freshly chopped parsley for fresh, grassy, Vitamin C filled flavour.
FF Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole
Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole

Finally, ladle into bowls and serve with fresh crusty bread for dunking in the spicy juices.

Leftovers can be chilled, portioned into individual freezer bags and frozen for up to 3 months.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Spicy Sausage Bean Casserole you may also like these:

Slow Roasted Cider Pork

Slow Roasted Cider Pork
Slow Roasted Cider Pork


Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta
Creamy Tomato Spinach Chicken Pasta

Chunky Chilli

Chunky chilli con carne
Chunky Chilli


I have wonderful memories attached to making this meal. While on holiday in Devon I wanted to make a meal for friends. As I began cooking dinner for our hosts more people being added to the guest list during the day. So, I added extra beans, tomatoes and wine, we sat happily around their big oak table, enjoying good food and most importantly, great company. Friendships were forged as the conversation flowed. And, it became a feast to remember.

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing your feast.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.