Minestrone Soup

This minestrone soup recipe is a delicious version of the classic Italian vegetable soup. Serve it with crusty bread for an easy vegetarian meal!

Minestrone soup

Today, I have two goals: to bake a batch of Christmas cookies and to make a pot of minestrone soup. To me, the two go hand-in-hand. After I spend an afternoon baking (and eating!) something sweet, I want nothing more than a warming, nourishing pot of soup for dinner at night.

I love this minestrone soup recipe in particular because it’s so satisfying, but still light and fresh. Onions, carrots, and celery add depth of flavor to its herb-flecked tomato broth, and starchy beans and pasta make it nice and thick. I toss in green beans for texture, and, as a final finishing touch, I top it off with fresh parsley and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. It’s super easy and flavorful, and all you need is crusty bread to make it a meal. Cookies for dessert are optional, but highly recommended.

Minestrone soup recipe ingredients

Minestrone Soup Recipe Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this minestrone soup recipe:

  • Onion, carrot, and celery – These vegetables create the aromatic base of the soup, known as a soffritto in Italian. You’ll sauté them in olive oil before adding the other ingredients.
  • Garlic – It adds additional depth of flavor to the soup. You’ll stir it in after cooking the onions, carrots, and celery so that it doesn’t burn.
  • Diced tomatoes – For sweet, tangy flavor.
  • Green beans – They add vibrant color and crisp-tender texture to the soup.
  • White or kidney beans – Navy beans, cannellini beans, and red kidney beans all work great!
  • Vegetable broth – Use store-bought, or make your own.
  • Bay leaves, oregano, and thyme – My easy version of a homemade Italian seasoning! These dried herbs add so much complexity to this simple minestrone soup.
  • Small pasta – Think elbows, little shells, orecchiette, or ditalini. I like to cook it right in the soup so that it releases its starches into the broth.
  • Fresh parsley – For garnish! Fresh basil would be excellent here too.
  • Red pepper flakes – Optional, for heat.
  • And Parmesan cheese – This salty, umami garnish takes the soup over the top.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Onions, carrots, and celery in a Dutch oven with wooden spatula

Variations

If you don’t have these exact ingredients on hand, don’t worry. As Alice Waters writes in The Art of Simple Food, minestrone soup is endlessly customizable. Part of the beauty of this recipe is that you can change it up to use what’s in season or what you have on hand. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Substitute chopped fennel for the celery.
  • Replace the green beans with diced zucchini or yellow squash, or use a mix of all three.
  • In the summer, use diced fresh Roma tomatoes instead of canned ones.
  • Stir in fresh greens, like spinach or kale, near the end of the cooking time.
  • No pasta? Swap in a quick-cooking grain like pearled farro or barley.
  • Instead of using canned beans, cook your own! Then, use the aromatic cooking liquid in place of some or all of the vegetable broth in this soup.

Let me know what variations you try!

Vegetarian minestrone soup with crusty bread

Minestrone Soup Serving Suggestions

This recipe is best right after it’s made, as the pasta absorbs the broth as it sits in the leftover soup. If you want to make it ahead of time, I recommend cooking the pasta separately and stirring it into the soup as you’re ready to eat. Alternatively, you can skip the pasta and add an extra cup of beans to the soup. Prepared this way, the soup will keep well for up to four days in the fridge.

When you’re ready to eat, top each bowl with a sprinkle of parsley, red pepper flakes, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. If you’re vegan, feel free to skip the cheese, or garnish your bowl with a scoop of vegan pesto instead. (Non-vegans take note: regular pesto is also a great topping for minestrone soup!).

Serve the soup with good crusty bread and call it a day, or round out the meal with a side salad. This arugula salad, this beet salad, and this pear salad would all be fantastic with this minestrone soup. Enjoy!

Minestrone soup recipe

More Favorite Soup Recipes

If you love this minestrone soup, try one of these delicious soup recipes next:

Minestrone Soup

rate this recipe:
5 from 35 votes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Serves 4 to 6
This vegetarian minestrone soup recipe is my take on the classic Italian vegetable soup. It's hearty, fresh, and flavorful - just add crusty bread to make it a meal!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups white beans or kidney beans, cooked, drained, and rinsed
  • 1 cup chopped green beans
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 cup small pasta, elbows, shells, orecchiette
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Pinches of red pepper flakes
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, optional, for serving

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, salt, and several grinds of black pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
  • Add the garlic, tomatoes, beans, green beans, broth, bay leaves, oregano, and thyme. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Stir in the pasta and cook, uncovered, for 10 more minutes, until the pasta is cooked through.
  • Season to taste and serve with parsley, red pepper flakes, and parmesan, if desired.

14 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Tim Greene
    01.07.2022

    Delicious and healthy! I also put in the juice of 2 lemons as I have a Meyer lemon tree. Really made the flavor bright!

    • Bryce
      01.09.2022

      I’m making right now, and I’m going to just use fresh lemon zest. Whether zest or juice, a touch of lemon always helps to brighten and enhance the flavor of a minestrone.
      I also opted to use vegetable stock, not broth…and not the boxed stock, either. I made my own from a vegetable demi-glace for a deeper flavor.
      One more note…opt to simmer in the oven, covered (if using an enameled cast iron pot). The indirect heat will allow this to develop more, whereas the direct heat on the stovetop can still burn the natural sugars even at lower temp.

  2. Relle
    01.05.2022

    5 stars
    Thank you. Your recipe was simple and so easy to follow. I definitely will be bookmarking your page and following you on Instagram. I used fresh tomatoes bec I forgot to get canned and used zucchini instead of string beans.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.08.2022

      I’m so glad you loved the soup!

  3. Insanely Good Recipes
    12.26.2021

    5 stars
    Great dude

  4. Sarah
    12.23.2021

    So very hearty! What a wonderful soup!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.24.2021

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  5. Jessie
    12.13.2021

    5 stars
    This was a delicious soup! I had a few extra veggies to use: leeks, fennel, zucchini and cauliflower. I just added a little more water and everything worked great! I will definitely come back to this, thank you!

  6. Lani Strom
    12.07.2021

    5 stars
    I am so confused. Somehow, somewhere I did get info on how to increase the servings more than 4-6, Did something happen as I can’t find the link.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.08.2021

      Hi Lani, some other sites have features to slide a scale and increase the recipe – we’ve found those types of programs to be buggy and inaccurate, so we don’t have that.

  7. PJ
    12.07.2021

    I also like a good minestrone, I made one just last week 🙂
    One secret ingredient I always add to boost the flavor –> parmesan rind!
    I keep the rinds in the freezer, only to use them in minestrone 😉 🙂

  8. Sabrina from newkitchenlife.com
    12.06.2021

    always great to have a good minestrone soup recipe at hand, thank you, always better from scratch

  9. Eysan
    12.06.2021

    Full of vitamins. Delightful healthy soup.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.06.2021

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.