This minestrone soup recipe is delicious and easy to make. It's loaded with vegetables, beans and pasta - perfect for a hearty meal on a cold day!
Hearty soups and stews are my jam and we love having them any time of the year. From Italian beef stew and chicken stew to eggplant soup and even ash reshteh (Persian noodle soup), I'm always ready for a bowl of soul-warming soup. Minestrone is a classic Italian thick soup that should be on everyone's menu because it's so delicious! Read on to see how I made this soup and how you can make it in your own kitchen.
Table Of Contents:
What is minestrone soup?
Originally from Italy, minestrone is a thick soup made with a variety of seasonal vegetables including but not limited to onions, celery, carrots, squash and tomatoes. This soup often contains some kind of small pasta or rice as well as beans.
Just like caponata, there is no "set and fixed" recipe for minestrone, it is always made with the vegetables in season and can be improvised to your liking. Leave out the beans, add your favorite vegetables or even meat such as browned sausage if desired.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Vegetables: In this recipe we have used onion, garlic, celery, carrots, leek, zucchini, yellow squash and spinach.
- Tomato paste: I would say this is optional, but I love adding some tomato paste to give the soup a nice color and a bit of depth in the flavor.
- Crushed tomatoes: It's best to use organic canned crushed tomatoes. Not only does it give a beautiful color to the soup, but also takes the flavor to the next level.
- Seasoning: We love using Italian seasoning in this recipe, it really brings the soup together. You can also use fresh herbs such as oregano, rosemary and parsley.
- Beans: White beans such as cannellini or navy beans work best for this recipe. If you don't like beans, you can leave them out.
- Pasta: Small pasta such as orecchiette or elbow would work well for this recipe.
How to make minestrone soup
- Sauté the onion in olive oil until translucent. Then add the garlic followed by celery, carrots, leek, zucchini and yellow squash. Cook until the vegetables start to soften.
- Stir in the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Add in the beans and pasta, then add the vegetable stock or water.
- Turn the heat to medium high and bring the soup to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium, cover the pot and cook the soup for 15 to 20 minutes, until the pasta is cooked.
- Add the spinach and cook for 5 minutes until it's wilted. Serve minestrone warm with some grated parmesan if desired.
- Vegetables: You can leave out the leek, zucchini or yellow squash or add other vegetables such as green beans, cabbage and butternut squash to the soup.
- Pesto: A couple tablespoons of pesto will inject some extra flavor into the soup.
- Parmesan: Add a piece of parmesan rind to the soup alongside the vegetable stock and remove it before serving. You can also top the soup with grated parmesan.
- Beans: Use navy beans instead of cannellini beans.
- Pasta: You can use any small pasta including elbow, shells or even macaroni for this recipe. There's no law against leaving the pasta out entirely, if that's how you like it.
Minestrone soup is a complete meal on its own. You can top it with grated parmesan and serve with some crusty bread and a simple salad such as caprese salad with basil oil or balsamic glaze if desired.
Leftovers and reheating
Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. To reheat, place the soup in a saucepan over medium heat and stir occasionally so it heats evenly.
As for freezing minestrone soup, you can freeze it in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. However, keep in mind that the texture of the pasta and vegetables would get a bit mushy.
Frequently asked questions
Use gluten free pasta or leave the pasta out entirely.
Absolutely! You can make minestrone for up to 2 days in advance and reheat when you're ready to serve.
Yes, this classic Italian soup uses a lot of vegetables and is made with vegetable stock or water.
Both soups use vegetables, of course, however, minestrone is thicker and heartier because of pasta and beans.
Yes, you can cook the pasta separately and add it to the soup with the spinach.
More Italian Recipes
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Easy Minestrone Soup Recipe
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 celery stalks diced
- 2 carrots diced
- 1 leek sliced (only white part)
- 1 zucchini cut into ½ inch chunks
- 1 yellow squash cut into ½ inch chunks
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 can crushed tomatoes 28 oz.
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 can cannellini beans 15 oz
- 1 cup orecchiette pasta see notes
- 4 cups vegetable stock see notes
- 2 cups baby spinach
- Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Saute the onion until translucent. Add in the minced garlic, celery, carrots, leek, zucchini, and yellow squash. Stir to combine and cook for 5 minutes so they start to soften.
- Add the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Give it a good stir. Then add the drained cannellini beans and dry pasta.
- Add in the vegetable stock (or water). It should cover the pasta. Stir and turn the heat to medium high. Bring the soup to a low simmer.
- Cover the pot with a lid and lower the heat to medium. Let the soup cook for 20 to 30 minutes until the pasta is fully cooked.
- Stir in the spinach and cook for 5 minutes until the spinach is wilted.
- Serve minestrone soup warm.
- You can use other small pastas such as shells and elbows instead of orecchiette pasta.
- You can use water instead of vegetable stock to make this recipe.
- Mix and match the vegetables according to your preference - leave out the leek, zucchini, or squash or use other vegetables including green beans,cabbage, butternut squash or peas.
- Instead of cannellini beans, you can use navy beans.
- Other greens such as baby kale or chopped swiss chard can be used instead of spinach.
- Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Reheat in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- You can freeze this soup for up to 3 months, however, keep in mind that the veggies and pasta might get a bit mushy.