Tortellini Minestrone Soup

Tortellini Minestrone Soup

It's soup time of year. The nights are drawing in and it's definitely getting colder. I've been fighting the temptation to put the heating on when it's only September, but I've had to give in a couple of times and put it on for a wee while, just to take the edge of the chill. So here we have a big pot of Tortellini Minestrone Soup to combat the cold nights and for a spot of comfort.

This is very similar to a simple minestrone I make, but this time I added tortellini for a more substantial meal rather than usual baby pasta or broken spaghetti strands I often add.
Tortellini Minestrone Recipe using #essentialWaitrose ingredients @waitrose

Which pasta do you use in minestrone soup?

There are various pasta shapes that can be used in soup. You can use full sized pasta in any shape, but there are small pasta shapes made especially for soup.

  • Stelline - these are little stars and some brands just call them little star pasta. These are also the perfect pasta for weaning babies.
  • Acini di pepe - these are teeny little cubes. The name is Italian for grains of pepper.
  • Orzo - you may be more familiar with this pasta. It looks like a grain of rice and is often used in pasta salad.
  • Tubettini - are little pasta tubes, a little like macaroni.
  • Fideo Cut Spaghetti - are short pieces of spaghetti, but you can just break regular spaghetti into smaller pieces for soup.
  • Tortellini - are little filled pasta parcels that turn soup into a substantial meal.

Tortellini Minestrone Soup

This minestrone features carrots, courgette (zucchini), spinach and cannellini beans. I usually chop vegetables for soup, either large or small depending on my mood, but for this soup I decided I would slice the carrots and courgette. I thought it looked and tasted wonderful, but Cooper wasn't impressed with the sliced vegetables, I think he found them a bit big and daunting to eat in a soup, so if you have children, you may want to chop the vegetables instead of slicing them. If you do slice the veg, slice them thinly so they won't take as long to cook. You really don't want crunchy vegetables in a soup.

The tortellini I added to the soup is a spinach and ricotta tortellini from the essential Waitrose range. I haven't yet stumbled across a vegan tortellini, so if you are vegan then you will have to either make your own or choose another pasta shape to add.

essential Waitrose ingredients for soup

essential Waitrose

To save money on my shop, I bought my ingredients for my soup from the essential Waitrose range. Waitrose are currently cutting the price on hundreds of items in their essential Waitrose range, so it is well worth a look and they are all good quality basics you probably use all the time.

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Tortellini Minestrone Soup
Tortellini Minestrone Soup
A big pot of minestrone soup made with courgette (zucchini), carrot, spinach and cannellini beans. The special finishing touch which makes this soup a filling meal is parcels of spinach and ricotta tortellini. Change the tortellini for any other unfilled pasta shape to make this recipe vegan.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, finely sliced
  • 1 courgette (zucchini), finely sliced
  • 50g spinach
  • 1 x 400g tin cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 litre/4 cups vegetable stock (3 stock cubes)
  • a handful of fresh basil, torn
  • a good grinding of salt and pepper

1. In a large pot saute the onion and garlic until soft, then add the celery and cook gently for another few minutes.2. Add the carrots and courgette (zucchini) and cook for another few minutes.3. Add the stock, tomatoes, tomato puree, spinach and beans. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes until the vegetables are firm but not crunchy.4. Season the soup with salt and pepper then add the basil and the tortellini. Cook for a few more minutes until the tortellini are cooked.4. Serve immediately.5. Enjoy! 


Total time:
Yield: Serves 6-8

Follow the conversation and find more recipe inspiration on the Waitrose website or on Twitter and Instagram with @waitrose and the hashtag #essentialWaitrose

Disclosure: I created this recipe to help promote the essential Waitrose range. I was not required to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

Easy Cheesy Vegetable Potato Cakes

Easy Cheesy Vegetable Potato Cakes

These cheesy vegetable potato cakes were our dinner for tonight. I always cook simple food and share easy recipes, but these are definitely made with Cooper in mind. They are real nursery food or should I say comfort food? 

Not only are these potato cakes comfort food, but they're a sneaky way of getting more vegetables into Cooper's day. If you have children or a husband like mine who is reluctant to eat vegetables you will appreciate what I'm talking about.
Easy Cheesy Vegetable Potato Cakes with @waitrose #essentialWaitrose #ad

Your five-a-day in one meal

Each potato cake is made with a base of mashed potato mixed with peas, sweetcorn and spring onions (also known as salad onions, green onions or scallions). Apart from that there's just some cheese and seasoning added for extra flavour. Serve them with baked beans, which count as one of your five-a-day and a glass of orange juice and we can mark up five portions. GET IN!

essential Waitrose

essential Waitrose

I made these potato cakes with ingredients from the fabulously low-priced essential Waitrose range. Right now Waitrose are lowering hundreds of prices across their essential Waitrose range, making them the perfect products for families who are trying to live on a budget. It cost be just over £5 to buy the ingredients for eight cheesy vegetable potato bakes. I have a few to pop in the freezer for another night and I still have a nearly full bag of potatoes, some peas, sweetcorn, spring onions and a large block of cheese left to include in other meals and snacks throughout the week. Those are the kind of prices I like.

Vegan Vegetable Potato Cakes

My vegan readers can use their favourite vegan cheddar in these potato cakes instead of cheddar. They will taste just as good and your kids will love them. Strike that! Your whole family will love them.

Easy Cheesy Vegetable Potato Cakes

10 tips for making potato cakes

  1. Don't add lots of milk and butter to the mash like you would usually do, you want it drier than that. You can use leftover mash, it will be nice and firm after a night in the fridge.
  2. There is no need for eggs or flax eggs as potatoes are a great binder.
  3. Don't make the potato cakes too big or two fat. They will just fall apart.
  4. You can use any leftover cooked vegetables in potato cakes, just cut them up finely.
  5. You can add spices to these cakes. Add paprika for a nice touch of spice or leave out the cheese and add ground cumin and coriander for an Indian style potato cake.
  6. Chill the potato cakes for at least half an hour before cooking. They will hold their shape better.
  7. You can bake these or cook them in a little oil. Just be patient and give them plenty of time to cook so the outside is crisp, firm and golden.
  8. For a more substantial meal serve with veggie sausages and beans.
  9. You can freeze these for another day.
  10. Alternatively serve them in a burger bun with some salad and your favourite toppings.

You could also make these into fingers. Every tried vegetable fingers? Well that! In fact you could make them into finger shapes and roll them in panko breadcrumbs for that crunchy finish. Whichever way you make these and whatever you serve them with, I know you'll love them and they'll become a family favourite in your house too. Cooper certainly loved them.

Easy Cheesy Vegetable Potato Cakes

print recipe
Easy Cheesy Vegetable Potato Cakes
Easy Cheesy Vegetable Potato Cakes
These easy cheesy vegetable potato cakes are the ultimate comfort food. Serve them with baked beans and orange juice to hit your five-a-day. You can add any leftover cooked vegetables to these simple potato cakes for a frugal meal the whole family will love.

  • 600g/3 large cooked potatoes
  • 1 tbsp butter or dairy free spread
  • a good grinding of salt and pepper
  • 150g mature cheddar (or vegan cheddar), grated
  • 150g sweetcorn
  • 100g cooked peas
  • 5 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil for frying, you don't need this if you bake the potato cakes

1. Mash the potatoes with a little butter (or dairy free spread) and grated cheddar (dairy or vegan).2. Season well with salt and pepper.3. Mix in the sweetcorn, peas and spring onions or any other vegetables you are using up.4. Roll the mixture into 8-10 balls and gently press into round cakes, not too fat.4. Chill for at least half an hour.5. Cook in a little hot oil or bake until golden, firm and crunchy on the outside. 6. Enjoy!.


Total time:
Yield: Makes 8-10 potato cakes

Follow the conversation and find more recipe inspiration on the Waitrose website or on Twitter and Instagram with @waitrose and the hashtag #essentialWaitrose

Disclosure: I created this recipe to help promote the essential Waitrose range. I was not required to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

Meat Free Mondays (week beginning 18 September 2017)

tomatoes and basil

Happy Monday my friends.

It's come around again hasn't it? It must be a sign of getting older that the week whizzes by, no make that the year!

I don't have any family tales to share with you this week. It was a pretty busy but average week. Cooper stayed with his grandparents at the weekend and I was working on Saturday. I did go out to the pub after work with friends for some dinner and a few drinks before heading home to watch a couple of DVDs (Graham was in Edinburgh at a gig so I was home alone). La La Land was one of the DVD's I rented and I knew within the first couple of minutes I was going to hate it. I do enjoy musicals, but this one just annoyed me. It was very beautiful and cinematic, but I couldn't stand any of the characters. Anyway enough of that, let's do some meal planning.

Aubergine, Sweet Potato and Metis Tagine

Aubergine, Sweet Potato and Metis Tagine

Let's get fruity!

My tagine I mean, no funny business. Aubergine, sweet potato and Metis® are the base of this spiced Moroccan stew, which is served on a base of fluffy couscous.

A feast for a king or at least an everyday mum, dad and small boy. And talking about that small boy. He was hanging about while I took photos desperate to get stuck in. He loved it! This is a day to remember. He didn't flinch when I said it had aubergine in it and he didn't poke at it suspiciously as he often does when I present him with a new dish. He ate it and said it was yummy! He ate it all!

*dances round the room whooping*

Meat Free Monday - 11 September 2017

Happy Monday!

How are you? Have you had a good week? Monday rolls round quickly doesn't it?

I'm not sure I have much to share with you this week. How about a Cooper update? His class are studying James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, so he is doing lots of peach related activities. His teacher misguidedly asked the children to draw a face on a peach and look after it. Unfortunately she seems to have forgotten how young children can get attached to things. Cooper gave it a name and personality and as it started to get squishy and past it's best he got really upset. Honestly you couldn't make this stuff up. Tears over a peach, or his wee friend Peachy as he named it. Sigh!

Apart from that we didn't get up to much. We had a lovely day in St Andrews on Saturday, well it would have been a more fun if we had realised it was the weekend when the students and their parents arrive. It was mobbed, still we had fun at the park in the morning and pizza before we headed home.

Enough of all that. It's time to think about the week ahead and plan some meals. So without further ado I give you this week's Meat Free Mondays and another seven gorgeous recipes for you to try.

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