Pic of Green minestrone with mint and pesto

Green minestrone with mint and pesto

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Soups & stews

Green minestrone with mint and pesto

Serves 6 55 min
This soup celebrates the vibrant green veg around in early summer. If you're missing some of them, just use more of the others instead. Riverford Cook Anna uses this recipe when teaching knife skills as all the veg need to be cut into even dice. The mint and the pesto topping really lift the soup, so don't leave them out; but you can use shop-bought pesto to save time.


  • 250g thin asparagus
  • about 1.5 litres good vegetable stock
  • Parmesan rind
  • about 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 celery sticks
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 4 potatoes
  • 1 medium courgette
  • 200g fine green beans
  • 200g peas, podded (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 small head of spring/summer greens, ribs cut out, leaves finely shredded
  • 30g mint, leaves picked
  • 150ml double cream
  • salt and black pepper
  • For the pesto (or use shop-bought)
  • 75g pine nuts
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 200g basil leaves
  • 75g Parmesan or vegetarian alternative, finely grated
  • about 250ml olive oil
  • lemon juice, to taste
  • salt and black pepper
Image of Green minestrone with mint and pesto


Prep time: 15 min
Cooking time: 40 min
  • Step 1

    Snap off the tough stem ends of the asparagus and bash them with the flat of your knife to crush them. Add to the stock along with the Parmesan rind; these will add flavour. Heat the stock to a gentle simmer.
  • Step 2

    Cut all the veg except the greens into 5mm dice. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the celery and onion and a pinch of salt. Fry slowly over moderate heat until soft but not coloured, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Step 3

    Add the garlic halfway through. If the pan seems dry, add a dash more oil or a splash of water. Add the potatoes. In a bowl, mix all the prepared green vegetables with your hands. Add half of this mixture to the pan, along with another pinch of salt, and stir.
  • Step 4

    Add enough stock to the pot to just cover the vegetables, bring to the boil, then simmer for around 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Make the pesto. Lightly toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan.
  • Step 5

    Put the pine nuts, garlic, basil and Parmesan in a food processor and blitz. Drizzle in the olive oil and blitz again until it forms a loose paste (you may need more or less oil depending on the consistency you like). Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice, to taste.
  • Step 6

    Add the greens to the soup, along with more stock or water if needed so that they stay submerged. Simmer for 5 minutes then remove from the heat. Cut the mint leaves into fine ribbons: stack several leaves, roll up the pile and then cut it crossways into thin strips.
  • Step 7

    Stir the mint and cream into the soup and season to taste. Serve warm with a dollop of pesto on top. Any leftover pesto will keep for several days in the fridge. Place in a jar and cover the top with a layer of olive oil.

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