Editorial Assistant for Teacher, Dominique Russell, shares her recipe for a hearty minestrone soup.

Hearty minestrone soup

Wellbeing by Teacher is dedicated to improving the lives of teachers and school leaders by providing them with informative, evidence-based strategies on how to care for their body, mind and overall sense of wellbeing. We also share recipe ideas, fitness tips, book reviews (and more!) from teachers, school leaders and others working in the sector.

In today’s piece, Dominique Russell, Editorial Assistant for Teacher, shares her recipe for a hearty minestrone soup.

Finally in Victoria, we are settling into some cooler weather which always has me craving a warm, nourishing bowl of soup. Minestrone soup is my favourite, mostly because of how flexible the recipe is.

I don’t use potato in mine because I find it filling enough without. But, feel free to add some diced white potato in (at the same time you add the cannellini beans) if it’s to your tasting, or if you have some to use up. You could even add them in place of the pasta.

I also don’t use celery, because it’s just not something I ever have in the house. If you have some to hand, by all means add it into the soup at the same time you add in the carrot. Occasionally I will also add in zucchini or spinach.

I also prefer to cook the pasta separately to ensure it’s not overcooked. If I have leftovers I’ll also store the soup and leftover pasta separately until serving so the pasta texture is preserved.

One thing I’m sure to never leave out of this soup is the parmesan rind because of the depth of flavour it adds. Simply cut a piece off your block of parmesan around 3-4cm long.

Hearty minestrone soup (serves four)


  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, diced to 1cm cubes
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme (or about ½ teaspoon dried)
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh basil, chopped (or about ½ teaspoon dried)
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1L vegetable stock
  • 500mL water (add more if you would like the soup to be thinner)
  • 1 tin (400g) crushed tomatoes
  • Parmesan rind
  • 1 tin (400g) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 100g short pasta


To a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over a very low heat. Add the onion, garlic and carrot. Stir, with a wooden spoon, until the onions are translucent and softened.

Add in the herbs and chilli flakes and stir to combine. Turn the heat up to medium-low and add the tomato paste. Stir for about 1-2 minutes until well-combined.

Add the stock, water, tinned tomatoes and parmesan rind. Turn the heat up to high and stir to combine. Bring the soup to a boil before turning the heat back down to a simmer with the lid on. Leave to simmer for at least 20 minutes, but up to one hour.

Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan filled with water to a boil for the pasta. When you’re about 10-15 minutes away from serving the soup, add in the cannellini beans and cook the pasta to the packet directions.

To serve, remove the parmesan rind, bay leaves and thyme sprigs from the pot and discard. Place some pasta in the bottom of a bowl and top with the soup. Top with some freshly grated parmesan. Enjoy!

How do you care for your own health and wellbeing? Do you have any recipes that you’d like to share with your colleagues in education? We’d love to hear about them. Here’s a handy guide on how to get started.