This soup is SO delicious – and makes everyone so happy when they eat it. The name comes from the 13 vegetables in the soup, and that wonderful warm, happiness feeling, but really it is from Provence in France. Like many Nicois recipes there is a strong Italian influence, and the soup is a close cousin to minestrone. There it is a summer soup, but the addition here of potatoes, pumpkin and sweet potato gives it that wonderful warmth for winter and early spring, and introduces truly wonderful textural combinations in every mouthful.
My parents believe firmly that vegetables are the path to health, and so a normal meal at their place may consist of many vegetables. The record number of veggies at this time is 12, yes TWELVE, at once on a plate. But with this recipe, I think that I claim the prize. Thirteen in one sitting. Not bad.
There is a story behind this soup. On a late Winter or early Spring day in 2012, it began with me falling down the concrete stairs to the garage. Traumatised more than actually hurt, pride suffering more than body, I was now the owner of a very sore big toe, a hole in the knee of my cropped pants, a dented pride, and some scruffs and scrapes on my lower limbs. It could have been much much worse.
It did take me a while for my body to get over the shock of that fall, so in the end I decided to work from home/take it easy as after all, rather than rushing around. Instead, I made this soup, and it restored body and soul.
My Sydney-based daughter now makes it as well, and declares that it comforts, cheers and satisfies the whole (fussy) family. It is great as a winter dish or for any cold day, cooked on a cold afternoon to scent and warm the house as it bubbles away. There is quite a bit of chopping to do, but the cooking itself is relatively quick and efficient.
Similar recipes include Genoese Minestrone with Vegetables, Greek White Bean Soup and Minestra di Pasta e Fagioli Borlotti.
Browse all of our Soup recipes. Or explore the French recipes. Be inspired by our Late Winter recipes.
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