Want more veggies? Cook this awesome minestrone!

Minestrone soup - side profile (1)
This morning I was driving my teens to the bus stop, and had the radio singing to me in the background. As I sung along to my fave song of the moment from Bruno Mars, I was feeling on top of the world, pumped for the day ahead, the radio was doing exactly what it is intended for - making people feel great. The radio is also full of commercials. Driven with ad's that are cleverly made to grab our attention. So after my pumped up song, my ears quickly popped up & tuned in to the ad promoting the yearly jab of the flu shot.

This ad then got me thinking, I have NEVER had a flu shot. I do understand with the very old and frail the flu shot may be necessary, however for most of the healthy population, we could easily build our immunity by simply changing our eating habits.

THE FLU - SHOT.....do you rely on this? I have never had a flu shot, and I am proud to say that since I have focused on the food that i eat, I have not had a cold in over 3 years!!!

Upon reflection, the one thing that I have drastically changed in my life is my diet. I have made a very conscious decision to remove all added sugar, processed food, preservatives & additives from my diet. I have made subtle changes throughout the 3 years, adding in more exercise that inspires me to move, improve my hydration, minimise my alcohol intake & increase my vegetable intake. I meditate, reflect on the positive things in my life, practise gratitude, surround myself with inspiring positive people & cook more.

A healthy immunity is my opinion is all about a healthy mind. When the mind is healthy, you are more than likely to be motivated to eat better, to prepare your meals, to cook, and all this positive emotion transfers to your food.

So today I share with you one of my most favourite minestrone soup recipes. I have been making this for years, and is one recipe that I cannot wait to cook when the weather starts to cool. With a hot crusty wholemeal seeded bread roll, oh YUM!

Serves 4 - Cooking time 1 hour


2 x Tablespoons olive oil
1 x brown onion, chopped
2 x celery stalks, finely chopped
2 x Carrots, chopped
4 x slices speck [or bacon] finely chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 x clove garlic
Salt & pepper
1 x tin chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
2 x zucchinis [small or 1 x large], chopped
1 x tin red kidney beans, rinsed well
1 litre vegetable stock - or 2 x tablespoons thermomix vegetable stock paste & 1 litre water
50 grams macaroni or soup pasta [optional]
1/2 x bunch silverbeet or english spinach, chopped
Parmesan cheese, to serve

  1. In a large pot add olive oil, onion, celery, carrots, speck, fennel & garlic. Saute on a low to medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally - you want the vegetables to cook slowly & soften, not discolour & brown. Season with salt & pepper.
  2. Next add chopped tomatoes and red wine, with a pinch of salt. Stirring well, cook out wine for 2 or so minutes.
  3. Add in chopped zucchini, kidney beans and vegetable stock, stir in well. Bring to the boil, turning down to a simmer, cook for a further 30 - 40 minutes or until flavours have developed.
  4. Add in pasta & chopped silverbeet, stir in well. Check flavour of soup & adjust seasoning to taste. Cook for a further 10 minutes, or until pasta is cooked.
  5. Serve with a generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese & cracked pepper.

COOKING TIPS - the longer & slower this soup is cooked, the more intense the flavours.
If you are doubling up the batch, soup can be easily frozen cease cooking at end of step 3. Freeze & upon reheating, you can finish the recipe simply by adding the pasta & silverbeet.

So this is how my immunity system is strengthened - more of the good stuff & less of the fake food. I have no room or time for fake food, and gee I am a better person for it!
Please share your creations with me - via Instagram or Facebook.
Happy cooking!
Maddie x