Vegetable and Cereal Minestrone

Lately it was a bit cold. Colder than usual, at least. The illusion that summer had already and early come – well, as the word says, was an illusion. No more outdoor meals and bbq with friends for a few days to come and no more gardening. (Oh, BTW, if you were wondering where I had been these weeks, the answer is: in the garden. Gardening. Of course. Planting, sowing, pruning, cleaning. And finishing Lapo’s book. Except the days when Mario – aka Mr Rooster – and Lapo – aka Baby Chick – were ill, that is more than a week by now. Yes, I’ve turned into a Red Cross Nurse. Necessity is the mother of invention…).

Well, what was I saying? Yes, lately it was a bit cold and to me a cold day is a minestrone day. A warm, rich and flavorful minestrone with fresh and seasonal veggies and a lot of cereals. Perfect, isn’t it? I used a mix of precooked cereals (wheat, spelt, barley, rice and oats) and some fresh peas I had already cooked for Baby Chick plus all the vegetables I had at home. I also added some juniper berries and thyme to season. Yes, I know juniper is to me a winter ingredients (something I used to make stews), but as I had already said: lately it was a bit cold.

Bon appéit!


150 g precooked cereals (wheat, spelt, barley, rice and oats)
500-600 ml water or vegetable stock
1 carrot, diced
1 zucchini, sliced
1 potato, diced
1 shallot, sliced
1 garlic clove
1 cup fresh peas, cooked
3-4 tbsp extravergine olive oil
a handful of juniper berries
some sprig of fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Serves 2

Preparation time: about 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

In a large saucepan heat oil and gently fry garlic, shallot and carrot. Remove garlic.
Toss cereals into te saucepan and cook for about 1-2 minutes till slightly golden.
Add potatoes, zucchini and juniper berries; pour water (or vegetable stock) a ladle at a time and keep cooking.
At about 1/3 through cooking, add thyme and peas. Cook for about 20 minutes till all ingredients are soft (minestrone needs to be rather liquid).
Salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle ome oil on top for more seasoning.

Minestrone di Verdura ai Cinque Cereali

Ultimamente ha fatto un po’ freddo. Più freddo del solito, almeno. L’illusione che l’estate fosse già arrivata in anticipo – beh, come dice la parola, era un’illusione. Niente più pranzi all’aperto e grigliate con gli amici e niente più giardinaggio. (Oh, a proposito, se vi stavate chiedendo dove fossi finita queste ultime settimane, la risposta è: in giardino. A fare giardinaggio, ovvio. A piantare, seminare, potare, pulire. E a finire il libro per Lapo. A parte i giorni in cui Mario – Mister Gallo – e Lapo – il Pulcino – sono stati malati, cioè più di una settimana. Sì, mi sono trasformata in crocerossina. La necessità aguzza l’ingegno…).

Insomma, che stavo dicendo? Sì, che ultimamente ha fatto un po’ freddo a per me un giornata fredda è una giornata da minestrone. Un caldo, ricco e gustoso minestrone con verdure fresche di stagione e un sacco di cereali. Perfetto, no? Io ho usato un mix di cereali precotti (grano, farro, orzo, riso e avena) e dei piselli freschi che avevo cotto per il Pulcino, oltre a tutte le verdure che avevo in casa. Ho aggiunto anche delle bacche di ginepro e del timo per dare sapore. Sì, lo so che le bacche di ginepro sono un ingrediente un po’ invernale (tipo per fare stufati), ma, come ho già detto, ultimamente ha fatto un po’ freschino. 

Bon appétit!


150 g 5 cereali precotti (grano, farro, orzo, riso e avena)
1 carota tagliata a cubetti
1 zucchina tagliata a rondelle
1 patata tagliata a cubetti
I scalogno a fette
1 spicchio d’aglio
1 tazza di piselli freschi già cotti
3-4 cucchiai di olio extravergine di oliva 
Bacche di ginepro
Qualche rametto di timo fresco
Sale e pepe q.b.
500-600 ml acqua o brodo vegetale

Per 2 persone

Tempo di preparazione: 10 minuti
Tempo di cottura: 20-25 minuti

In una pentola soffriggere l’aglio, lo scalogno e la carota nell’olio. Rimuovere l’aglio.

Aggiungere i cereali e cuocere per 1-2 minuti per tostarli.

Aggiungere le patate, le zucchine e le bacche di ginepro; versare l’acqua (o il brodo) un poco alla volta e continuare la cottura.

A un terzo della cottura aggiungere il timo e i piselli. Cuocere per una ventina di minuti finché tutti gli ingredienti sono ben cotti (il minestrone deve risultare piuttosto liquido).

Aggiustare di sale e pepe. Condire con un filo d’olio.

  1. Cindy said:

    That is my husband’s favourite soup 🙂

  2. Fabulous Rita and beautifully photographed. I love the combination of flavours that you have used.
    🙂 Mandy

    • Rita said:

      Thanks, Stephanie! But my blog has not a new design… (I’m planning a new one, though…)

  3. Sally said:

    Rita, I love the different grains in this and the juniper berries! I will definitely try it. Today was only the second day in the past month that felt like spring–it has been cold and gloomy, but now my garden is crying out for spring cleaning….sometimes it feels like housework, only outdoors. Being a mother, gardener and cook is very time consuming–I don’t know how you do a blog, too!

    • Rita said:

      I AM consumed, that’s why I can’t update the blog regularly… 😛 But I try do my best: and it’s sooooo funny!! 😉

  4. Amanda said:

    Thanks for this lovely recipe Rita and the idea for adding juniper berries. I have some in the pantry, but never would have thought to add them to minestrone – and it is soup weather here in Australia now.

  5. Thats a very heart soup! A great all in one dish.

  6. Mmm, minestrone is on the menu for tonight here as well. The cooler weather and a bitey wind make it perfect soup weather. I love all the grains you put in yours.

  7. Tasty looking minestrone, I would have to use a gluten free cereal for mine though as I’m wheat, gluten and dairy intolerant.


    • Rita said:

      Thanks for stopping by, Spencer. I’d love to know more about gluten-free cereals. It would be a great idea to use them instead of common cereals.

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