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Provençal Soup

This Provençal soup, known as pistou, is great for using up bags of pasta lurking in the cupboard that don’ t quite hold enough for a whole meal but that you don’ t want to waste, either. Feel free to swap the veg, depending on what you have to hand, and likewise the basil sauce can be made with a mixture of herbs, including oregano, thyme, marjoram and rocket.


Serves: 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

  • 1 heaped tbsp butter

  • 2 leeks, sliced

  • 2 carrots, diced

  • 1 celery stalk, sliced

  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced

  • 1 bouquet garni, made up of a large bay leaf, few sprigs thyme and parsley

  • 1l/35fl oz/4 cups vegetable stock

  • 75g/2½oz spaghettini or dried pasta shape of choice

  • 235g/8½oz/2 cups (drained weight) tinned butter beans

  • 2 courgettes, quartered length-ways and sliced

  • 55g/2oz/½ cup fresh shelled peas or frozen petits pois

  • 4 thick slices day-old country-style bread


  • 4 large handfuls basil leaves, plus extra to serve

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

From  Veggienomics

Watkins Media, 2014


Heat the olive oil in a large casserole over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Turn the heat down slightly and add the carrots, turnips, garlic and coriander seeds and cook, part-covered, for another 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until the carrots have softened slightly.


Stir in the ground spices and chilli flakes then add the lentils. Pour in the stock, stir well and bring to the boil. Turn the heat to low, part-cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes until the lentils are almost tender.


Stir in the dates and the preserved lemons and cook, covered, for 10 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Add a splash more stock or water, if the tagine needs it. Season with salt and pepper, scatter the coriander over and serve in bowls with couscous by the side.i.

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