Lockdown lunches 5: My staple minestrone

Lockdown lunches #5: My staple minestrone – staple because it’s literally my winter go to meal.

If you’ve just been caught out in a freezing hail storm like I have, this dinner is the one!! 🥶

This isn’t a classic Italian minestrone, but it’s a similar beast and and every bit worth all the chopping!

It’s super customisable and you can basically throw in any sad veg you have hiding out in your fridge. The main thing is to include a smoky flavour, so either bacon or smoked paprika are essential. And I also find throwing in kale or cavolo at the end really finishes it perfectly with a bit of crunch.

Top tips: Using fresh or high quality chopped canned tomatoes will also make it extra tasty, I love Mutti canned tomatoes. A quality olive oil and generous handful of grated parmesan thrown on at the end really give it that wow factor.

This also freezes really well, so make loads and save some for a rainy day. Hope you enjoy!



– 2 carrots

– 2 sticks celery

– 1 large onion/leek

– 2 garlic cloves

– 50g brown lentils

– Half bag of kale/ cavolo Nero

– 400g can chopped tomatoes

– 1 tsp smoked paprika OR chopped bacon/chorizo

– extra virgin olive oil

– chicken/ veg stock

– 1 tsp dried oregano/thyme

– 2 bay leaves

– 1/2 tsp chilli powder

– dried macaroni

– grated Parmesan

– salt & pepper


1. Finely chop the carrot, celery, onion/leek and garlic. In a large cast iron pot sweat down the garlic and onions in the oil with lid on, then add chopped carrot and celery (if using bacon or chorizo fry in a pan til crispy then add)

2. Once veg is soft, add dried herbs and bay leaves, stock, chopped tomatoes and smoked paprika if using. Cook on low heat as long as possible, the longer the better the flavour

3. Add dried lentils and cook until soft. Add half a cup or so more water to loosen if preferred

4. Cook macaroni in a separate pan

5. Chop kale/cavolo, remove stalks and add to soup, boil until soft

6. Serve soup with macaroni, grated Parmesan and drizzle of extra virgin olive oil