Beany soup

This Mediterranean bean soup is such an easy soup as it’s so flexible and can be adjusted to what you have in the cupboard or what you like eating.  Sometimes I don’t add the beans and stir in some fresh spinach leaves at the end which wilt in for a bit more green goodness. It can be served with pesto and some Parmesan cheese and bread to make a meal. Alternatively, you can use it as a side to go with sausages, or a piece of white fish which needs a bit of livening up. It’s also even better the next day when flavours have melded. It freezes easily and I sometimes make double this quantity in a huge casserole dish.

Mediterranean bean stew
Mediterranean bean soup

The amounts are all approximate as who does weigh vegetables? Well, me for a start in writing down this recipe but normally, I just put in what I have and it doesn’t really matter.


3 tbsp light olive oil

1 medium onion (140g)
2 sticks celery (130g)
130g fennel
110g carrots
Half a big courgette or one small one (150g)
1 leek (150g)

3-4 cloves garlic, grated
Large tin chopped tomatoes

Tbsp tomato purée
Tsp powdered vegetable stock (Marigold) (optional)
Bay leaf
Leaves from a few sprigs of thyme or a tsp dried oregano
500ml water

Large tin haricot beans, or cannellini beans

I reckon this makes at least six portions, but I find this difficult as the amount everyone eats is different and maybe my family has big appetites.  (200ml servings)

The vegetables cooking
The vegetables cooking


  • Heat the oil in a large solid casserole dish over a moderate heat and then as you cut up the vegetables into small 1cm cubes, add them to the pot with salt and pepper and let them soften. If  you put the harder ones in first as you go, they will all be ready after quarter of an hour. Stir occasionally to keep them from sticking
  • Add the grated garlic and stir for another two minutes until it is absorbed
  • When they are all in the pan, lower the heat and put the lid on for five minutes.
  • Add the tin of tomatoes, the tomato purée, bay leaf, herbs, water and veg stock powder, bring to a simmer, cover and cook for fifteen minutes.
  • Add the beans, if wanted
  • Serve with pesto and grated Parmesan or on its own
Mediterranean bean soup with pesto and Parmesan
Mediterranean vegetable  soup with pesto and Parmesan (no beans in this one)


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