Recipe number two from the Abel and Cole box – minestrone soup

Filed in Blog by on February 17, 2009 10 Comments
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minestrone soupI’m going to try and feature a recipe every day this week from meals created with ingredients from our Abel and Cole vegetable box.

If you remember, last week I took receipt of an organic fruit and vegetable box that was aimed for 2-3 people. If you read the post you’ll find out exactly what was in there and our concern about using up parsnips; as none of us like them.

I needn’t have worried though, because if any parsnip is worth eating, it’s an Abel and Cole one. The first day I did roast parsnips which Little Miss green loved. According to her they tasted just like vegetable crisps – you know those incredibly expensive carrot, beetroot and parsnip crisps you can buy? I occasionally buy them as a treat and she really likes them.

Mr Green cleared his plate with satisfying noises (either that or he was choking on a bit of parsnip), so on the second day I knocked up some Winter vegetable minestrone soup and put a chopped parsnip into it.

I adapted this great recipe from Veg Box recipes to do the deed and had a 12 out of 12 from Little Miss Green, who then went on to tell me that tinned minestrone was 10 out of 12. That can’t be bad!

I kept liquid down to a minimum which made the soup more like a stew. Mr Green’s comment was that it could pass for bolognase sauce. He didn’t even realise there was parsnip in it until I told him. But the overall flavour got the thumbs up and even though I made enough for two days, it only lasted one day. They kept scraping the saucepan way past lunchtime and by the evening the pan shone clean……..

So another success and another parsnip gone! That leaves me with two more, but ya know; it’s getting easier because they are not as bad as we feared. I have memories of tough, woody things, or soft things full of cellulose, but these are fresh and tender and not too big.

Here’s the recipe I finally used:


2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
2 small carrots, diced
1 small leek, diced
1 med parsnip, diced
1 tin tomatoes, chopped
3 tbsp tomato ketchup
3/4 pint vegetable stock
1 large handful macaroni pasta


Heat the oil and gently fry all of the diced vegetables until beginning to go soft
Add the remaining ingredients, bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes until all the veg are cooked


About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (10)

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  1. Katy says:

    Another soup variety for me to try 🙂 And 12 out of 12 eh? That’s some recommendation!

    I have a recipe for you to use the other parsnips…. cake! Honestly!

  2. Fluttering Sam says:

    Off-topic, but saw this and thought of you…

    Soup looks soup-er btw, sorry I couldn’t resist 🙂

  3. Layla says:

    I had to google up parsnip (lol) – & found out we do like it, but in small amounts, eg in veggie soup, lentil soup or such..
    never thought you could put it in a tomato sauce too!! interesting!
    never thought of cooking with grapeseed oil either-? /isn’t it sort of, uhm, medicinal?/

  4. Mrs Green says:

    @Katy: Hi Katy – thank you for the post about the cake. I left a comment on there as I am very cynical it can taste good 😀 I’m always happy to be proven wrong though and will be definitely be trying this one.

    @Fluttering Sam: Hi Sam, thanks for the link. It looks like this story hit big news yesterday and we’ll be covering it in a future post. 🙂

    @Layla: Hi Layla, grapeseed oil is a light, almost flavourless oil, so it’s great for cooking where you don’t want to impart a taste (and where you want to save your best olive oil for using raw!). It’s pretty cheap to buy; I guess it’s like sunflower oil and it makes good roast potatoes too.

  5. Kris says:

    I once had a temporary job for six weeks in a busy office where the highlight was one lady who loved to bake. She’d bring in various cakes, which were frequently bizarre and exotic, such as tomato soup cake (yes, made with cream of!) Therefore I just feel relaxed and confident Katy’s cake is great 🙂

  6. Poppy says:

    I made chocolate potato cake many years ago to take to work and then asked people to guess the mystery ingredient. I was working in a wholesale fruit and veg market at the time on the potato line!!

  7. Mrs Green says:

    @Kris: tomato soup cake – oh my; that sounds incredible. I’m surprised Katy isn’t here prizing the recipe from you!

    @Poppy: very cool, Poppy. I could NOT convince LMG that our courgette cake had courgettes in it last summer! Was the potato cake good? I bet it was moist.

  8. Poppy says:

    It was lovely as I recall. When I looked at the resipe again last year, I can’t believe I went to so much trouble though! I must have been bored!!!!

    I did a courgette cake last year and it went down very well, but was extremely moist. If I do it again, I might have to juggle the figures a little 🙂

  9. Kris says:

    Me? Recipe? I just do the eating bits!

  10. Mrs Green says:

    @Poppy: Mmmm, I have a few recipes like that too. They are definitely from my pre kids days when spending half a day in the kitchen making one course was prioritised. our courgette cake worked out really well. I think I got it from one of the veg box sites – riverford if I remember.

    @Kris: cunning, Kris 😉

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