Pic of Chard and white bean winter minestrone

Chard and white bean winter minestrone

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Vegetarian mains

Chard and white bean winter minestrone

Main Serves 2 30 min
There are no strict rules for a minestrone; as a veg-based stew, it can track the seasons. Where the debate comes is whether it should contain pasta, rice or pulses. All are justified; we've chosen mild, creamy cannellini beans for this wintery version. Rather than cooking the garlic and rosemary into the dish, you're chopping it finely and adding it raw as a garnish at the end. Raw garlic can be quite potent, so add as much or as little of the clove as you'd like, to taste.


  • 1 leek
  • 1 carrot
  • oil for frying e.g. sunflower or light olive
  • 1 head Swiss chard
  • 1 potato
  • 200g passata
  • 1 tin cannellini beans
  • 1 teaspoon bouillon powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lemon
  • 10g rosemary - about 1 stalk
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt and pepper
  • 25g Italian-style hard cheese, finely rated
Image of Chard and white bean winter minestrone


Prep time: 5 min
Cooking time: 25 min
  • Step 1

    Put a kettle on to boil. Trim, wash and finely slice the leek. Peel the carrot and chop into small dice.
  • Step 2

    Warm 2 tbsp oil in a saucepan. Add the leek and carrot. Let them gently fry while you deal with the chard.
  • Step 3

    Remove and discard the root end from the chard. Strip the leaves away from the stalks. Wash the stalks and cut into small dice. Keep the leaves to one side.
  • Step 4

    Add the chard stalks to the saucepan. Let everything cook gently for a further 5 mins, until starting to soften.
  • Step 5

    Meanwhile, peel the potato and cut into ½cm dice.
  • Step 6

    Add the potato and passata to the pan. Drain the beans and add them too. Measure 600ml water from the kettle and add to the pan, with the bouillon powder and bay leaf. Simmer for approx. 15 mins, until the potato is tender.
  • Step 7

    Wash the chard leaves. Roll them up and shred as finely as you can.
  • Step 8

    Finely zest the lemon. Strip the leaves from 1 large rosemary stalk. Peel 1 garlic clove. Chop the lemon zest, rosemary and garlic together with a pinch of salt.
  • Step 9

    When the potato is tender, add the chard leaves to the pan. Simmer for 3 mins, until they are wilted and cooked.
  • Step 10

    Check the seasoning and adjust with salt, pepper and a squeeze or two of lemon juice to taste.
  • Step 11

    Ladle the minestrone between deep bowls. Garnish with a scattering of Italian cheese and the chopped rosemary mix.

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