This super hearty vegetable soup is LOADED with goodness at every turn. It is the perfect healthy spring soup to transition into warmer weather with a bright vibrant punch of basil and fresh spinach added at the end. This makes a lot of soup (we like a big batch as it's ideal for week-day lunches), cut the recipe in half if you're making it for a smaller crew.
Add the cabbage and fennel and cook until softened, 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Stir in the pasta (if using), basil, and kidney beans and simmer until the beans are heated through. Add the spinach, remove from the heat and stir until the spinach has wilted. Remove the bay leaves and add extra stock if a thinner consistency is desired. Season well with salt and pepper.
Divide the soup among bowls and serve with toasted focaccia or baguette, if desired. The soup will keep, covered, in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Tip If you’re making the soup ahead, don’t add the spinach until just before serving after it's reheated on the stove-top.
To make this gluten-free: Use gluten-free pasta or leave it out. Serve with gluten-free bread or skip it.