A hearty and flavorful minestrone soup packed full of fresh veggies. This healthy soup recipe is easily made in one pot in just 30 minutes!
Whenever we go to Olive Garden, we love to get the unlimited soup and breadsticks. Minestrone is always my first pick because it’s loaded with vegetables and bold Italian flavor. I decided to recreate this soup recipe at home, as well as their chicken gnocchi soup, pasta e fagioli and zuppa toscana.
This traditional minestrone soup is easy to whip up, hearty and delicious! It makes the perfect easy and comforting meal on a chilly, fall day. I love minestrone because it’s packed with fresh vegetables and is a great way to sneak some extra veggies into your kid’s dinner. My kids gobbled this up (even my picky eaters).
Minestrone also makes a great vegetarian dish for meatless Monday, however if you wanted to add some protein you could easily mix in some shredded chicken, crumbled sausage or mini meatballs. And don’t forget to serve the soup with a warm dinner roll, breadstick or piece of cornbread. Seriously so delicious!
- Tomato broth: The base of minestrone is a mix of diced tomatoes, tomato paste and chicken broth. Feel free to use vegetable broth if vegetarian.
- Veggies: This soup is loaded with veggies! Any type will work, but my favorites are diced onions, celery, potatoes, zucchini, squash, green beans and carrots.
- Spices: Don’t forget to add spices to help give the soup extra flavor! This recipe calls for Italian seasoning, garlic and salt and pepper.
- Beans: We love to add beans for extra protein. Kidney beans are our favorite, but white beans taste delicious too.
- Pasta: I love using mini shells, but you could also substitute for ditilini or elbow noodles. If you want to make it even more filling, a cheese tortellini would be delicious.
How to make minestrone soup
- SAUTE. Start by sautéing the onions in a pot until translucent for about 3 minutes. Then add in the chopped celery and garlic and cook for an additional minute.
- BOIL. Next stir in the broth, 1 cup of water, vegetables, tomatoes, tomato paste and spices. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and then simmer an additional 10 minutes.
- COOK. Mix in the beans and pasta and cook until the pasta is al dente (about 8-10 minutes). If the soup is too thick, add in another 1/2 to 1 cup hot water to thin it out a little. Then remove the pot from the heat.
- SERVE. If adding spinach, mix it in right before serving. It will wilt quickly from the heat of the soup. Then ladle the minestrone into bowls and top with parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
- This recipe is super customizable. Use any type of veggies or pasta that you have in the fridge and pantry.
- Use prechopped or frozen veggies to save on time.
- You can omit the pasta and double up on beans if preferred.
- For more protein, add in ground turkey, shredded chicken, meatballs or Italian sausage.
- Add the spinach (or kale) in right before serving. It only takes a few seconds to wilt.
Freezing + reheating
This minestrone soup makes a great freezer meal. I’d recommend omitting the pasta if freezing, as it tends to get mushy when frozen.
- To freeze: Let soup cool completely. Ladle into a freezer bag or container, leaving room for the soup to expand. Label the bag with the date so that you easily know the expiration. Then store in freezer for up to 3 months.
- To reheat: Thaw in microwave or in fridge overnight. Add soup to a large pot and simmer over low heat. While the soup is warming, cook the pasta in a separate pot until al dente. Add pasta to the pot with the soup and mix together. Ladle into bowls and serve with desired toppings!
TIP: When reheating minestrone, I like to add a splash of chicken broth to thin it out a little.
More Italian soup recipes:
- 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion (more if desired)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
- 2-3 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
- 32 ounces chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 1-2 cups water
- 4 cups seasonal vegetables (potatoes, zuchinni, green beans, squash, carrots)
- 14 ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 15 ounce can kidney beans (or white beans, drained and rinsed)
- 1 cup uncooked small pasta shells
Freshly ground pepper or red pepper flakes
Optional: 1-2 cups baby spinach, freshly grated parmesan cheese, fresh basil
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-heat. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes, or until translucent. Mix in the celery and garlic and cook an additional minute.
- Add in the chicken broth, 1 cup water, vegetables, tomatoes, tomato paste and stir together. Then add in the Italian seasoning and salt. Add desired amount of pepper (I added about 1/4 teaspoon). Cover soup with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and then simmer an additional 10 minutes.
- Next add in the beans and pasta shells. Cook an additional 8-10 minutes, or until pasta shells are cooked al dente. They will continue to cook once off the heat, so don't overcook. Add another 1/2-1 cup hot water if preferred. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove pot from heat and stir in spinach if desired and allow to wilt. Ladle into bowls and serve with parmesan cheese and fresh basil if desired.
- Green beans
- Bell peppers
- Spinach or kale
- Shredded chicken
- Mini meatballs
- Cooked Italian sausage