Easy Minestrone Soup is delicious, nutritious, filling, and wholesome. Minestrone soup is loaded with vegetables, pasta, and beans in a tomato-based broth. It is light yet warm, hearty and satisfying. Plus, it’s super easy to make and is a meal by itself, just pair it with your favorite bread and enjoy a deliciously easy, and hearty dinner.
The Best Minestrone Soup Recipe
Cozy up with this delicious vegetarian Minestrone Soup on chilly days, or anytime you are craving a soup with flavorful broth and lots of veggies!
This is a classic minestrone soup recipe that is healthy, and uses simple ingredients. This is a great recipe that has a variety of vegetables in it, and you can even use leftover vegetables.
What is Minestrone Soup?
Minestrone is an Italian soup that is loaded with fresh vegetables, pasta, and beans in a tomato-based broth.
Minestrone is a thick, flavorful soup made with seasonal vegetables, usually with the addition of small pasta or rice, occasionally both. The most common ingredients are beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, celery, carrots, fresh vegetables, fresh herbs, Italian seasoning, broth, parmesan cheese and onion.
Which Beans are Best in Italian Minestrone Soup?
Cannellini beans, great Northern beans, or other white beans, red kidney beans, and green beans. I use canned beans for simplicity and convenience in this classic minestrone soup recipe, however, I will often use fresh green beans or frozen, if I have them on hand.
• Dry Beans: I recommend cooking dry beans before making the soup as they will not cook in the short time that it takes to cook the vegetables. I think canned beans work best in this easy soup recipe.
My favorite Vegetables to use in This Soup Recipe
- This is a bean and vegetable soup, so I like lots of variety in the veggies. Here are some of my favorites (use what you have on hand):
- Canned or fresh tomatoes, zucchini, kale, carrots, onion, celery (these are almost always included in my Minestrone).
- Sweet potato, red potatoes, yellow squash, fresh spinach, butternut squash, fresh pumpkin, turnips, fennel, red bell pepper (any of these make a wonderful addition), or any seasonal veggies, it's your personal preference.
My Choice of Herbs for This Italian Soup Recipe
Fresh herbs always elevate the flavor of soups. If you can't get a hold of fresh, you can substitute with dried herbs. I like to use:
Fresh parsley, rosemary, thyme, tarragon, bay leaves, fresh basil, oregano. For dried herbs you can use Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes for a little kick of heat.
Should I Use Broth or Water to Make Minestrone Soup?
You can use either to make this soup, however, vegetable broth or vegetable stock, chicken broth or chicken stock, or even tomato broth will give so much flavor to this delicious soup.
Which Pasta Works Best in This Soup?
• Small pasta shapes will work best. You can use small shells, small elbow macaroni, or similar sized pasta noodles.
• You can use orzo, but I prefer a pasta shape that is a bit larger than that, closer to the size of the kidney beans, so when you bite into that al dente pasta you get the satisfying texture of it.
What is the Parmesan Rind?
- The parmesan cheese, well, the real stuff, comes in a big round, or wheel. The outer portion is called the rind, like rind of an orange or other fruit (though you can't peel it off like an orange).
- The rind is harder and is not always eaten. You will usually get a rind on a wedge of parmesan cheese that you purchase in the cheese section of your store's deli. The rind adds a ton of flavor. Though subtle, it is wonderful!
- Many Italian cooks will just toss the rind into the pot of hot soup and let it cook just like a bay leaf or other flavor enhancer.
Can I Add Meat to Minestrone Soup?
• Though a traditional minestrone soup recipe is usually a vegetarian soup, you can absolutely add meat for more protein and have a heartier main course soup.
Here are some great meats you can add:
• Shredded rotisserie chicken, lean ground beef, ground turkey, Italian sausage, meatballs, leftover steak, etc.
How to Make the Best Minestrone Soup
• Heat a pan or large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When hot, add the olive oil and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to soften and browns slightly.
• Turn the heat down to medium and add the garlic. Sauté for about 20 seconds, stirring frequently.
• Add the carrots, green beans, celery, oregano, and thyme, and stir to combine.
• Next add diced tomatoes, kidney beans, salt, black pepper, and chili flakes, and cook on medium until tomatoes become soft.
• Add the beans, broth, parmesan rind, if using, and bay leaves. Cover, and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
• Stir in the cup of uncooked pasta and cook for 6 to 7 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente, stirring occasionally. Add chopped basil and switch off the heat.
• Sprinkle more chopped basil or parsley on top; and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Serve hot and enjoy!
What to Serve with Minestrone Soup?
- This vegetarian soup is wonderful served with some crusty bread. We also like to serve garlic bread with a steaming bowl of minestrone soup. You can serve freshly baked bread sticks, focaccia bread, biscuits, etc.
- A side salad or fruit platter, antipasto plate, or even a steak or roast, and have the soup as a side dish or a starter. It depends on the type of meal you are serving and how hungry you are!
How to Store Leftover Vegetable Soup
• Keep the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge up to four days.
• You can freeze Minestrone soup in a freezer baggie or other freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
You Might Also Like These Classic Soup Recipes
Easy Minestrone Soup
- Soup Pot
- Sharp Knife
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 cup Chopped Onions
- 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1 cup Chopped Carrot
- ½ cup Green Beans
- 1 cup Chopped Celery
- 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1 teaspoon Dried Thyme (or 3 sprigs of fresh)
- 2 medium Ripe Tomatoes, chopped (or 1 can diced tomatoes)
- 1 15-ounce can Red Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
- ½ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- 4 cups Vegetable Broth (or chicken)
- Parmesan Rind, optional
- 1 Bay Leaf
- ½ cup Small Elbow Pasta
- ½ cup Chopped Basil
- Chopped Fresh Basil or Parsley
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Heat a pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the olive oil and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to soften and browns slightly.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add the garlic. Sauté for about 20 seconds, stirring frequently.
- Add the carrots, green beans, celery, oregano, and thyme, and stir to combine.
- Next add tomatoes, salt, black pepper, and chili flakes, and cook on medium until tomatoes become soft.
- Add the beans, broth and bay leaves. Also add parmesan rind, if using. Cover, and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
- Stir in the pasta and cook for 6 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chopped basil and switch off the heat.
- Remove bay leaf and parmesan rind.
- Sprinkle more chopped basil or parsley on top; and some grated parmesan cheese. Serve hot and enjoy!
- You can store Minestrone Soup in an airtight container for 1 week in the refrigerator or around 3 months in the freezer (do not add pasta when freezing).
- Minestrone soup is extremely versatile and customizable. For example – you can add bell peppers, zucchini, spinach, kale, etc to it or you can replace them with other ingredients such as green beans and celery.
- Use canned beans and tomatoes instead of fresh.
- Top Minestrone Soup with your favorite cheese or sour cream for serving.