Springtime Minestrone with Orzo and Basil

I have created the perfect healthy, zesty and scrumptious soup for us this week.

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Okay so I know that soups are usually reserved for the winter months when we need warmth and nourishment but I felt there was a niche in the market for a spring appropriate soup so I have adapted an Italian classic for this time of year.

Traditionally a minestrone is made with chopped tomatoes and beans and often with a lot of rather heavy (though delicious) root vegetables. I substituted out some of the heavier ingredients and instead have made a clear vegetable broth with light, seasonal vegetables and added plenty of basil and lemon for a fresh and zesty undertone. I did keep the customary pasta in however as adding pasta to a soup is pure genius in my opinion. I have suggested using orzo (a rice shaped pasta) as it absorbs the flavour of the stock so well and gets easily scooped up onto a spoon alongside all of the vegetables – if you cannot get your hands on orzo then any small pasta or rice would work well. Equally you could leave pasta out of the equation all together and make a simple vegetable soup if you were after a light meal – it could work wonderfully as a starter at a dinner party…

This beautiful mesh of vegetables, broth and pasta is then topped off with a dash of extra virgin olive oil, parmesan shavings and fresh basil leaves. I have also sprinkled over a few crushed chili flakes for a final burst of flavour and colour to the dish but this is definitely an optional step – I imagine my Mum would consider it sacrilege to add any heat to such a mellow dish, but I am a chili flake addict.

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Serves 4 

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes 

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 courgette, topped, tailed and diced
  • 400 ml good quality vegetable stock
  • 250 ml boiled water
  • 100 g orzo
  • three spring onions, ends removed and cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 100 g asparagus, woody ends removed and cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 100 g frozen peas
  • 1 large bunch of basil
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • parmesan (to serve)
  • extra virgin olive oil (to serve)
  • chili flakes (optional)

Method

  1. In a large saucepan heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Finely slice the basil stalks (leaving the leaves to one side) and add to the pan with the onion, garlic and courgette to saute for five minutes.
  2. Once the vegetables have softened add the vegetable stock and water to the pan. Add the lemon zest to the stock and a small pinch of salt and pepper and bring to a simmer for ten minutes. Some stocks can be very salty naturally so add salt with caution. 
  3. Pour the orzo into the pan to cook for five minutes before adding the remaining vegetables and basil leaves. Cook for a further five minutes until everything has cooked through. Add the lemon juice to the pan, taste the soup and then season with more salt and pepper accordingly.
  4. Serve the soups between four bowls and drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil and parmesan and scatter over the remaining basil leaves.

Thank you so much for reading this post, I hope that you enjoyed it! Please let me know what you think in the comments as I love hearing from you and do not forget to follow me on Instagram, Facebook and on this blog to see more recipes and foodie musings from me. The link to do both can be found below if on a tablet/ phone or in the side bar if on a computer. I have also recently joined Pinterest so follow me on there for even more foodie inspiration – my username is Wish to Dish.

32 thoughts on “Springtime Minestrone with Orzo and Basil

  1. livinggarden says:

    This is so my sort of food! And its winter in my part of the world so the pasta stays! This is on this week’s menu and on my ‘to share with vegetarian daughter’ list as it is definitely her style – great pictures. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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