Autumn Minestrone with Quinoa and Rocket Pesto

Autumn Minestrone with Quinoa and Rocket Pesto

Once the temperature start to drop there is nothing better than warm up with a bowl of delicious home-made soup. Being Italian that has to be a minestrone!

This recipe is part of my Gorgeous Gluten Free blog and cookery classes. It has a wonderful hearty flavour that will shake off any chills. Cross my heart!

The pumpkin comes from the close by Organic Castle Farm run by a very unique gardner as well as eccentric lady, my friend Jo. She is also helping me with my allotment, that’s a story for another post!

In this recipe I use my favourite chicken stock, a slow cooking loving way to make stock that even the chicken get well! Well not quite, but you get the idea! If you are vegetarian, substitute with vegetable stock and for sure the chicken will be well!

Autumn Minestrone with Quinoa and Rocket Pesto

Ingredients for 6 servings:

  • 1 golden onion chopped
  • 1 leek finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot chopped
  • 1 large courgettes chopped
  • 2 patty pan chopped
  • 75g chard chopped, preferably rainbow
  • 75g cavolo nero chopped
  • 400g pumpkin chopped
  • 2.5litre hot chicken stock or vegetables stock if preferred
  • 150g quinoa
  • 1 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped finely
  • 1 tsp chopped sage
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • nutmeg
  • pepper

Ingredients for Rocket Pesto:

  • 75g rocket
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 10g pumpkin seeds
  • 20g roasted hazelnuts
  • 150ml extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt


  • Heat 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in heavy base stock pot, this pot will be used to cook the minestrone so make sure that is big enough.
  • Add the chopped onion and cook gently for 5 minutes. When the onion is translucent add the chopped rosemary,thyme, sage and leek. Keep cooking gently for a few minutes then stir in the garlic.
  • Turn the heath on medium and add the chopped carrot, courgette, patty pan, cavolo nero and pumpkin. Keep stirring the vegetables for 5 minutes then cover with the chicken stock.
  • Bring the pot to a gentle simmer then add the quinoa and the chard.
  • Cover the pot and leave cooking on a low heath for 35/40 minutes.
  • Stir the minestrone every 10 minutes.
  • Toward the end adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  • The quinoa will sink at the bottom so make sure that you stir you minestrone before serving.
  • For the rocket pesto, place the rocket, garlic, pumpkin seeds and hazelnut in a food processor. Blitz briefly and with the help of a spatula scrape the sides and bring all the rocket mixture at the base of the bowl. Then with the motor running add the oil in a steady stream. Blend well scraping down the sides until all the pesto has a smooth consistency.
  • Serve the minestrone in how bowls, drizzled with rocket pesto, extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg.

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