The vegetables and seasonings can change according to the weather, produce availability and your mood, of course. A good minestrone will have beans and a form of pasta to fulfill your protein requirements, and as many vegetables as possible will make it colourful and delicious. You can top the soup with a swirl of olive oil, a big grating of cheese and a crunchy toasted slice of Italian bread to make a satisfying meal.


  • 1 sm splash olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tin (540 mL) tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • 1 tin (540 mL) white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 handful green beans, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 handful kale leaves, shredded
  • to taste, salt and black pepper
  • ½ handful Italian parsley, rough chopped

+ grated Parmesan, olive oil and crusty bread    

Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed saucepot over medium heat and add the onion, celery and carrot with a small pinch of salt. Cover and cook 3-4 minutes to soften but do not brown. Remove lid and add garlic, stir and sauté 2 minutes further.
Add tomatoes and broth then bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the rinsed white beans, the fresh green beans and zucchini and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the shredded kale and cook 5 minutes until it “wilts” – it will go a dark green colour and be tender. Season with salt and pepper and add fresh parsley.

Serve hot off the stove (you want to see steam) and top with cheese, oil and bread.

5 Kitchen Essentials for a Student

  • non-stick pan (one with a lid is even better)
  • a quality cutting board (wood or plastic is preferable)
  • a good chef's knife
  • a can opener
  • colander/strainer

Here is a checklist of basic products needed for the kitchen. All products are from

  • Can Opener: OXO Good Grips Can Opener with Bottle Opener $16.99 Cutting Board: Dexas Polysafe Cutting Board (12x8 Inch White) $19.99
  • Colander: Dexas Popware Trade 2 ½ Qt Expandable Collapsible Silicone Colander (Red) , $29.99
  • Vegetable Peeler: OXO Good Grips Swivel Peeler , $9.99
  • Knife: Sabatier 8 Inch Classic Forged Chef Knife , $13.99
  • Pot: Simply Calphalon Ceramic Non Stick 5Qt Covered Dutch Oven $69.99, Invitations 5Qt Chilli Pot by Tabletops Unlimited  $19.99