Minestrone alla Karori
This is a meal in itself, and very adaptable. I wrote in my original post:
As Antonio Carlucci explains, in fact there's no such thing as "the real minestrone". Instead there are many versions, each one authentic for those who make it.In these unusual times, innovation is essential. Cabbage is the mainstay vegetable, but you can use up random bits of most other veges you may have lying around. Instead of borlotti beans, use what's available - even baked beans will do at a pinch, but don't add them until the veges and pasta are cooked. And if you don't happen to have pancetta, any kind of bacon, ham, or bits of tasty cooked sausage will work. You can use any small pasta too, or broken up bits of noodles if that's all you've got.
Pretty Fast Pumpkin Soup
The name of this soup (which I invented) describes it very well - it's both pretty, and pretty fast to make. The ingredients are a bit less flexible: you do need pumpkin, carrots, and some kind of red curry flavouring. For example, I haven't got actual red curry paste right now, but I do have Tom Yam paste, which is also red, so that would do fine. (And in any case, it seems easier right now to find more exotic ingredients such as red curry paste than it does to get some basics, such as flour!)
This soup belongs to a variety of dishes I often make, called "vaguely Asian" (David Burton, look away now). No one from any Asian country would recognise any of them, but they do rely on Westernised versions of flavours relating to a range of Asian countries, from India to Thailand.
If you like, you could add noodles to this soup too, and/or cook bits of boneless chicken in it, turning it into a meal rather than just a soup.