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Minestrone soup is loaded with vegetables, beans, and pasta in a delicious tomato broth. This classic soup is hearty and nourishing, easy to make, and makes amazing leftovers!
What is minestrone soup?
Minestrone is an insanely tasty Italian vegetable soup that usually has pasta, beans, and a tomato-based broth. I think of it as the ultimate vegetable soup! You’ve maybe tried Olive Garden minestrone soup, but I’m here to convince you that my version is so much better.
It’s one of those soups you can make on a lazy Sunday in chilly weather, and you’ll actually look forward to eating it for the rest of the week. It’s also easy to make. There’s nothing complicated about it!
Want to make it in your pressure cooker instead? Try this Easy Instant Pot Minestrone Soup Recipe.
What you’ll need
- Olive oil and butter – the foundation for sautéing the aromatics
- Onion, celery, and carrots – this is a classic savory base for many Italian and French soups
- Garlic cloves – I love adding garlic to most soups for even more dimension
- Zucchini – the taste and texture of zucchini in soups can’t be beat
- Fresh green beans – for some more green veggie goodness
- Tomatoes – here we’re using crushed tomatoes rather than diced to give the broth a thick and rich quality
- Broth – chicken or vegetable broth is fine. Either way, it adds so much more taste than using water would.
- Italian seasoning – a wonderful blend of dried herbs like rosemary and thyme. You’ll find it in a jar in the spice aisle of your grocery store.
- Cannellini and red kidney beans – I like to use both varieties to pack this soup with protein
- Pasta – I used elbow macaroni, but any pasta variety that’s fairly small like ditalini will work
- Basil – optional, but it adds a burst of freshness and flavor
- Parmesan – use lots and lots of freshly grated parmesan. Don’t skimp since it takes this soup to the next level!
- If you happen to have a parmesan rind, throw it into the pot while cooking the soup to infuse extra flavor! It really makes a difference. Sometimes if you ask at the cheese counter, they’ll give you an extra rind if your parmesan block didn’t come with one. Don’t forget to take it out of the soup when it’s ready, though, since you can’t really eat it.
How to make minestrone soup
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Prep your veggies. Sauté the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic for 7-10 minutes. Add in the crushed tomatoes, broth, zucchini, beans, and seasoning. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in the macaroni and cook for another 20 minutes or until the pasta and veggies are tender. Season the soup with salt & pepper as needed. Stir in the basil if using, and top each bowl with plenty of freshly grated parmesan cheese!
Substitutions and variations
- If you want to add a non-vegetarian twist to this soup, try sautéing some bacon or pancetta with the veggies at the beginning. It’ll be incredible!
- You could include other vegetables like cabbage or peas. Feel free to add/swap veggies based on personal preference, what’s in season, and what’s in your fridge.
- If you want it to be extra hearty, go ahead and throw in a potato as well.
- You can swap the crushed tomatoes for diced tomatoes, but I like the thickness and body that the crushed tomatoes give to the soup. If going the more traditional route and using diced tomatoes, I would probably add a tablespoon of tomato paste to the soup as well at the end of step 1.
What to serve with it
Leftovers and storage
- Minestrone soup will keep for about five days in the fridge in an airtight container.
- The pasta will soak up the broth the longer you leave it, so you may need to add some more chicken or vegetable broth when reheating leftovers.
- If you’re planning on freezing the bulk of the soup, I suggest adding the pasta when you’ve thawed it.
Questions about this minestrone recipe, or did you make it? Leave me a comment below! As always, tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram so I can see your creations. 🙂
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 sticks celery chopped
- 3 medium carrots peeled & sliced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 4 cups chicken broth or veggie broth
- 1 small zucchini chopped
- 1 cup fresh green beans chopped
- 1 (14 ounce) can red kidney beans drained
- 1 (14 ounce) can white kidney (cannellini) beans drained
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 3/4 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Fresh basil optional, to taste
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste
- Add the oil, butter, onion, celery, carrots, and garlic to a large soup pot. Sauté for 7-10 minutes.
- Stir in the crushed tomatoes, broth, zucchini, green beans, red kidney beans, white kidney beans, and Italian seasoning. Increase the heat to high, and bring it to a boil.
- Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat so it's simmering and cover the pot with the lid slightly open and cook for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the pasta. Continue simmering the soup (I leave the lid off) for another 15-20 minutes or until the pasta and veggies are tender. Stir occasionally to stop the pasta from sticking to the bottom.
- Before serving, season to taste with salt & pepper (I am generous with both), stir in the basil (if using), and serve each bowl with some parmesan cheese grated/shaved over top. This minestrone is fairly thick. If you find it too thick, add a splash more broth to thin it out (especially leftovers).
- The pasta will soak up the broth the longer you leave it. You may need to add more chicken/veg broth to leftovers. If you’re freezing the bulk of this soup or planning on having lots of leftovers, I recommend cooking the pasta separately and adding it in when you reheat it.
- I recommend chopping the vegetables quite small (see the ingredients photo in the blog post) so they cook properly in the timeframes I suggest in the recipe.
- Want to make this soup in your Instant Pot? Check out that version here.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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This recipe was originally published on January 29, 2020. It’s been tweaked to be even easier, tastier, and has new photos!