Minestrone Soup

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This Minestrone Soup is our absolute favorite! A thick and hearty vegetable soup dotted with ditalini pasta and a rich tomato broth makes for a bowl of completely nourishing comfort food! Top each bowl with some grated Parmesan cheese and dunk in some crusty bread — or even better, serve this soup in a bread bowl (yum!)

Overhead image of Minestrone Soup in a bowl

QUICK TIP

Why is it called Minestrone Soup?

The word “minestrone” means a thick vegetable soup. The word comes from the Italian minestrone (minestra, “soup”). There is no “set” recipe for minestrone since it can vary quite a bit depending on the region of the country and what vegetables are in season (or in need of being used). 

What’s Minestrone Soup made of?

Common ingredients that are typical in minestrone include beans, onions, celery, carrots, stock, croutons, and tomatoes. It’s typically a vegetable soup with the addition of pasta or rice (I add quinoa in this Healthy Minestrone Soup recipe!)

Process shots-- images of the veggies being sauteed, garlic, tomato paste, and salt and pepper being added sauteed

VARIATIONS

Variations

  • Soup thickness: This vegetarian Minestrone Soup is a very thick and hearty soup — more the consistency of a stew. This is exactly how we love it, but you can always make it thinner by adding some additional stock.
  • Additional protein: The beans add a lot of protein, but if you’d like more, stir in some shredded rotisserie chicken near the end of cooking to warm it through.
  • Swap veggies: Feel free to swap out the veggies called for in the recipe. If you’re using frozen veggies, add them in the last 5 minutes of cooking and if you’re using raw veggies, you’ll likely want to add them in with the onion, celery, and carrot or with the zucchini (potatoes will need longer than diced broccoli)!

Process shots of Minestrone Soup-- images of the diced tomatoes, seasonings, beans, zucchini, and vegetable stock

SHORTCUTS

Minestrone Soup Shortcuts

  • Pick up mirepoix (also called soup starter). Lots of stores sell pre-chopped mirepoix (a French phrase for diced onion, carrot, and celery) in the produce section. If you’re in a hurry, grab that fresh-chopped mirepoix or you can even use frozen mirepoix which will save loads of chopping time! (Use 3 cups mirepoix in place of the onion, carrot, and celery in this recipe)
  • Use jarred garlic or a garlic press. Instead of mincing your own garlic, you can use jarred to save time. Alternatively, a garlic press gives you fresh minced garlic in a fraction of that time that hand mincing requires.
  • Fire-roasted diced tomatoes. Here’s why we consider using fire-roasted tomatoes to be a shortcut: This type of tomato is charred over a flame before being crushed and canned. Contact with the flame brings out the tomato’s sweetness and imparts a distinct, smoky flavor. You get more flavor without any extra work or additional ingredients needed — score! (We love the following brands: Cento Marzano®, Carmelina Marzano Italian®, or Muir Glen®.)

Process shots-- images of the soup simmering and the peas and corn being added in

Minestrone Soup Tips

  • Take time developing the flavor base. The onion, celery, and carrot really set up this soup to have a rich flavor; take your time sautéing and getting these veggies tender.
  • Sautéing tomato paste for a good amount of time adds a tremendous flavor and surprising richness to this soup. You may be tempted to rush the process here, but taking the time to sauté the tomato paste will add an abundant depth of flavor.
  • Use a high-quality, flavorful stock that will add loads of flavor and allows us to cut down on spices or other additions. We highly recommend Swanson’s® vegetable stock!
  • Season as you go. Taste often and season the soup as you go. At the end of making this soup, be sure to taste again before serving and adjust the salt and pepper. 
  • Don’t forget the finishing touches! Fresh herbs and freshly grated Parmesan cheese (I recommend grating it on a microplane) make the perfect finishing touch for minestrone soup. We also like a drizzle of fresh lemon juice which adds a nice touch of acid to help balance and intensify all the flavors. If you don’t like lemon, I recommend adding a teaspoon or two of red wine vinegar.

Up close overhead image of Minestrone Soup

STORAGE

Minestrone Soup Storage

Because we cook the pasta separately, this soup stores nicely and only continues to get more flavorful. (If cooking the pasta in the soup pot, note that pasta will continue to take on liquid as it sits which makes it bloat/become overly soft. This is why I prefer to cook the pasta separately, but if you don’t mind the bloated pasta or are enjoying the soup in one sitting, there is nothing to worry about!)

Minestrone soup will stay fresh for 3-5 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Unfortunately, it doesn’t freeze very well; the veggies get a bit mushy when thawed. If the yield of soup is too much to be eaten within those 4-5 days, I recommend halving the recipe initially.

Reheat the soup gently in a pot over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. You’ll likely need to add in an additional splash of vegetable stock to slightly thin the soup. It does thicken as it sits and is stored.

Minestrone Soup FAQs

1What does minestrone mean in Italy?

A thick Italian soup that is usually made with beans, vegetables, and pasta or rice

2What's the difference between pasta fagioli and minestrone soup?

While Pasta e Fagioli is similar to minestrone, there are a few differences.

  • Minestrone has a lot of different veggies; Pasta e Fagioli typically just has mirepoix (a combination of finely chopped onions, celery and carrots) and tomatoes — no other veggies.
  • Minestrone doesn’t always include beans (though it usually does), and doesn’t include meat.

3Is it minestrone or minestrone?

The correct pronunciation of minestrone in Italian is Mee-neh-stroh-neh.

4What do you eat with minestrone?

5Why cook the pasta separately?

In most of the soup recipes I share, I prefer to cook the pasta separately for texture preference and storage reasons.

Pasta will continue to take on liquid as it sits in the soup which makes it bloat and become overly soft. This is especially apparent if you have leftovers — you’ll likely find the pasta will absorb just about all the liquid!

For this reason, I like to cook the pasta separately and add spoonfuls to individual bowls right before eating!

If you’d prefer to cook the pasta in the same soup pot, add it in about 15 minutes before it will be done and increase the stock amount to 6 cups.

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Minestrone Soup

5 from 4 votes
This Minestrone Soup is our absolute favorite! A thick and hearty vegetable soup dotted with ditalini pasta and a rich tomato broth makes for a bowl of completely nourishing comfort food! Top each bowl with some grated Parmesan cheese and dunk in some crusty bread -- or even better, serve this soup in a bread bowl (yum!)
Print Recipe

Minestrone Soup

5 from 4 votes
This Minestrone Soup is our absolute favorite! A thick and hearty vegetable soup dotted with ditalini pasta and a rich tomato broth makes for a bowl of completely nourishing comfort food! Top each bowl with some grated Parmesan cheese and dunk in some crusty bread -- or even better, serve this soup in a bread bowl (yum!)
Course Main Course, Soup, Vegetarian
Cuisine Healthy, Italian, Vegetarian
Keyword minestrone, minestrone soup
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 servings
Calories 339kcal
Cost $9.12

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup carrots, diced 2 large carrots
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced 3 stalks
  • 1 cup celery, diced 1 small onion
  • 1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic (~4 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • Fine sea salt & pepper
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz each) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained Note 1
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • 3/4 teaspoon each dried oregano, dried thyme
  • 1 (32 oz.) container (907g) vegetable stock (4 cups) Note 2
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) dark red kidney beans drained & rinsed
  • 1/2 cup diced zucchini
  • 2 bay leaves, optional
  • 1 cup uncooked ditalini pasta Note 3
  • 1/2 cup each frozen peas, frozen corn (or use just 1 cup of each)
  • Finishing touches: drizzle olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh parsley or thyme, fresh grated Parmesan cheese, crusty artisan bread (for dunking)

Instructions

  • SAUTE VEGGIES: Add olive oil to a large pot over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add in the diced onion, carrot, and celery. Cook, stirring frequently for 8-10 minutes or until the onion is golden and soft. Add in garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  • TOMATO PASTE: Add in tomato paste and season to taste with salt and pepper (I add 1/2 teaspoon each of fine sea salt & pepper). Mix and then cook, stirring frequently for 8 minutes or until veggies are very tender and tomato paste has become very thick and darkened in color. Don't try to rush this step, we are adding flavor and richness while also ensuring the veggies don't end up crunchy. Next add in the 2 cans of diced tomatoes and seasonings: rosemary, oregano thyme, and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir frequently, cooking for another 2 minutes. Scrape the bottom of the pot to release any browned bits.
  • STOCK & BEANS: Pour in the vegetable stock, drained and rinsed beans, and zucchini. Add bay leaves here if using. Stir. Increase heat to bring the soup to a boil and then lower the heat until soup is gently simmering (barely bubbling at the edges). Simmer, with the lid partially covering the pot (leave about a 1-inch gap for steam) for 10-15 minutes or until veggies are tender.
  • PASTA: Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil. Salt the water and follow package directions for cooking the pasta. Drain and set aside.
  • FINISH SOUP: Turn off the heat on the soup. Stir in the peas and corn. Taste and adjust seasonings here; I typically add another 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper -- flavors should be rich! If desired add in some lemon juice and drizzle in some olive oil (I add 1 tablespoon). Remove bay leaves and discard if used.
  • SERVE: Ladle soup into bowls and stir in a few spoonfuls of pasta into individual bowls. Serve bowls topped with Parmesan cheese, any fresh herbs if using, and crusty bread for dipping!
  • SLOW COOKER: Follow steps 1-2 either in a pot or the base of your slow cooker if it has a sautéing element. Add everything from the pot to the base of the slow cooker along with the drained and rinsed beans, zucchini, and bay leaves. Stir and cook on low for 3-4 hours or high for 1-2 hours or until flavors are sufficiently melded and veggies are tender. Stir in the frozen peas and corn. Taste and adjust seasonings adding more salt and pepper as needed. If desired add in some lemon juice and drizzle in some olive oil (I add about 1 tablespoon). Remove bay leaves and discard. About 20 minutes before the soup is done, cook pasta separately according to package directions and stir into individual serving bowls. Serve bowls topped with Parmesan cheese, any fresh herbs if using, and crusty bread for dipping!
  • STORAGE: Minestrone soup will stay fresh for 3-5 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Unfortunately, it doesn’t freeze very well; the veggies get a bit mushy when thawed. If the yield of soup is too much to be eaten within those 4-5 days, I recommend halving the recipe initially.
    Reheat the soup gently in a pot over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. You’ll likely need to add in an additional splash of vegetable stock to slightly thin the soup. It does thicken as it sits and is stored.

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Canned Tomatoes: This type of tomato is charred over a flame before being crushed and canned. Contact with the flame brings out the tomato’s sweetness and imparts a distinct, smoky flavor. You get more flavor without any extra work or additional ingredients needed — score! (We love the following brands: Cento Marzano®, Carmelina Marzano Italian®, or Muir Glen®.) If you don't want to use fire-roasted, plain is fine too! If you don't like the tomato chunks, use crushed tomatoes instead.
Note 2: Stock: Use a high-quality, flavorful stock that will add loads of flavor; we highly recommend Swanson’s® vegetable stock! (not sponsored). Yes, 4 cups is correct -- this soup is supposed to be thick like a stew. If you'd like it to be less thick, feel free to add in some more and slightly increase seasonings!
Note 3: Pasta: For this soup, I prefer to cook the pasta separately for texture preference and storage reasons. Pasta will continue to take on liquid as it sits in the soup which makes it bloat and become overly soft. This is especially apparent if you have leftovers — you’ll likely find the pasta will absorb just about all the liquid! For this reason, I like to cook the pasta separately and add spoonfuls to individual bowls right before eating and then store the two (soup and pasta) separately in the fridge. If you’d prefer to cook the pasta in the same soup pot, add it in with the beans and zucchini and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes (or until pasta is al dente) and increase the stock amount to 6 cups.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 339kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 654mg | Potassium: 563mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 5339IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 129mg | Iron: 4mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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11 Comments

  1. The sausage, potato, and cabbage soup recipe link has an error. I can not open it and I’m really wanted to try it tonight.

    1. 5 stars
      What a yummy soup! I have my favorite veggie soups but was looking for something new to try and this just hit the spot!! I even told my mom about it and sent her the recipe and she made it a couple days later. I did the stove method so it would be made quicker but can’t wait to try the crock pot method next time. Will make again! 11 out of 10 stars!

  2. 5 stars
    We are a family of 6. I have four children (ages 2-12). This meal is a hit with everyone! The even ask for seconds. Most week nights I rely on crock pot meals because of activities after school and getting in at dinner time. This is absolute keeper. Thank you so much!

  3. 5 stars
    My family LOVED this recipe! This is definitely a keeper and that fact that it’s a crockpot recipe is an added bonus.

    1. I’m so happy you all loved this Minestrone Soup! I agree, crockpot meals are always the best to have on hand! Thanks for your comment! 🙂

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