Classic Italian Minestrone Soup

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Delicious minestrone soup recipe mixes vegetables, beans, fresh herbs, and ditalini pasta simmered in a savory tomato broth. Pairing fresh ingredients with canned beans and tomatoes creates a quick stovetop dish.

Minestrone soup served in a white bowl.
Table of Contents
  1. Saute the vegetables
  2. Make a flavorful soup base
  3. Add beans and pasta
  4. Frequently Asked Questions
  5. Classic Minestrone Soup Recipe

This easy minestrone soup is simple to prepare at home! It’s a popular appetizer served at restaurants like Olive Garden, but this version is even tastier. Using a variety of healthy ingredients adds flavor dimension. Knowing when and how to cook the bite-sized pieces of vegetables while timing the addition of the green beans and pasta is critical. The goal is to nail tender and vibrantly colored food in the bowl, not mushy and dull spoonfuls.

After making many pots of this soup, I learned that adding each ingredient in a particular order and duration gives perfect results. To create a dish full of flavor that saves time, crack open the pantry to use convenient ingredients. I share my essential techniques so you can proudly serve this hearty soup to your loved ones.

Saute the vegetables

Zucchini, carrots, and celery diced into small cubes and placed in a big pot.
Step 1. Saute the vegetables

Don’t just toss the vegetables in with the stock. Saute them first! Cooking the onion, carrots, celery, carrots, green zucchini, yellow squash, and garlic in olive oil lightly browns the surface. This enhances the natural sweetness of the produce, balancing the taste of the savory ingredients.

Add the fresh beans until the last few minutes of cooking the soup. They cook very quickly. This helps to achieve a bright green color and crisp-tender texture.

Make a flavorful soup base

Diced vegetables mixed with tomato paste inside a pot.
Step 2. Thicken the liquid

Minestrone recipes are traditionally made with a tomato-flavored soup base. I use two types of canned tomatoes. Tomato paste is concentrated with sweet and savory notes and helps to thicken the vegetable broth or stock. Canned diced tomatoes are a quick and convenient way to add a burst of fruity flavor and chunky texture.

Simmering with rosemary, oregano, and bay leaves, add lingering aromatics to the soup, which infuses into the liquid. For a quick swap, use dried Italian seasoning.

Add beans and pasta

Canned red kidney beans provide a vegetarian and vegan protein source to the soup. Feel free to substitute with other types of beans like cannellini or navy white beans. The additional fiber makes the dish more hearty. Wait to add at the end of cooking to help retain their shape.

Use a small pasta like ditalini, elbow macaroni, shells, or orzo. As the pasta cooks, the wheat starches will slightly thicken the soup. It takes about 10 minutes to cook. Staggering the incorporation of each ingredient ensures the desired texture and color. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley right before serving. My family loves it topped with grated parmesan cheese.

Ditalini pasta placed into a simmering pot of minestrone soup.
Step 3. Cook the pasta

Serve this with

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is minestrone healthy?

This vegetable soup is an excellent way to incorporate a diverse array of healthy ingredients. Fresh green beans and legumes add fiber and protein. A colorful medley of tomatoes, carrots, and celery provides phytonutrients like lycopene and vitamins like beta-carotene.

What is the difference between minestrone and vegetable soup?

Minestrone is a type of thick vegetable soup flavored with tomatoes. Pasta or rice (for a gluten-free option) and beans are added to make the soup heartier.

Can I add extra protein to the soup?

This recipe for minestrone is the perfect base to add in more protein. Add shredded or diced marinated chicken or leftover roasted chicken to make it a one-pot meal. Alternatively, add pieces of mild or hot Italian sausage.

A big colorful pot of classic Italian minestrone soup being mixed with a spoon.
Step 4. Taste and season

Do canned tomatoes compare to fresh tomatoes?

I use canned tomatoes for convenience and flavor for soups, chili, and sauces. When picked and processed at peak harvest, vine-ripened plum tomatoes or San Marzano provide excellent sweetness. Otherwise, it’s hit or miss at grocery stores, as tomatoes can be picked when still green and then treated with ethylene gas to ripen before it hits the stores.

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Classic Minestrone Soup

Classic Italian minestrone soup is a colorful mix of vegetables, beans, fresh herbs, and ditalini pasta simmered in a savory tomato broth.
4.80 from 43 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine Italian


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, ½" dice
  • 1 cup celery, ½" dice
  • 1 cup carrots, ½" dice
  • 1 cup zucchini, ½" dice
  • 1 cup yellow squash, ½" dice
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes, canned with juice
  • 4 cups unsalted vegetable stock, plus more to thin out soup
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon chopped oregano, or ½ teaspoon dried
  • 15 ounces red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut ½" pieces
  • black pepper, as needed for seasoning
  • 1 cup dried pasta, Ditalini
  • 2 teaspoons chopped parsley


  • Saute the Vegetables – Heat a large dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat and add oil. Once hot, add the onions, celery, and carrots, and saute until lightly browned, 5 minutes.
    Add zucchini and yellow squash, and saute for 2 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
  • Thicken the Liquid – Add tomato paste and saute for 30 seconds. Add diced tomatoes, vegetable stock, 1 teaspoon salt, rosemary, bay leaf, and oregano, and stir to combine. Turn the heat to medium and bring the liquid to a vigorous simmer.
  • Cook the Pasta – Add red kidney beans and pasta to the pot, and cook until pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes. Add green beans to the pot and cook until tender and bright green, about 3 minutes.
  • To Finish – Remove rosemary sprigs and add more vegetable broth to thin out the consistency, about 1 to 2 cups. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as desired. Garnish with parsley and serve hot.

Recipe Video



  • Recipe Yield: About 6 cups
  • Serving Size: 1 cup (240 ml)
  • Make it Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free pasta instead of wheat pasta. 
  • Storing: Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • Freeze: Cool and portion into resealable plastic bags for up to 3 months. 
  • Reheating: Cook on the stovetop over medium heat, occasionally stirring until hot. Add more stock or water to thin the consistency as needed. 
Nutrition Facts
Classic Minestrone Soup
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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24 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Janice says

    It’s still hot up in Northern California reaching mid 80’s -90’s in the valley. It’s not yet the fall up here but this soup looks good to make. I like the noodles you added. Looks more fun than the elbow noodles I usually make it with.

  2. Katie Kruse says

    What a wonderful soup! It has been so cold and your soup warmed our bodies and souls. I really have to get that vegetable pasta. I will be on an Albertson hunt! I think it would hold up so much better than my corkscrew pasta. Mine fell apart. I added two fully cooked spicy chicken Italian sausages to satisfy my carnivore husband Jim. He says two thumbs up! My winter break from school is to try more of your recipes!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you so much Katie! I’ll pick you up some of that pasta the next time I go to the store 🙂 The sausages sound like a great addition, I’ll have to try that! I would love to hear how the next cooking adventures go, happy 2016!

  3. george hartig says

    I just received your cook book. I made minestrone but I added small ground turkey meatballs. I baked them till a golden brown then added them at the same time as the pasta. OH! and by the way I always added salt to my dried beans but I didn’t know the science….thank you

  4. Jennie Johnson says

    Thank you Jessica… will try this out soon… one of my favorite go to easy meals,
    Especially as I cook for one and can freeze in bags!!!

    Hugs Jennie

  5. Judy says

    This recipe sounds wonderful! We have tried so many of your delicious dishes. Is the unsalted vegetable stock used for a healthier version, or is there a science behind it? Thank you for always sharing your knowledge.

  6. Kay Wakeham says

    This is an excellent fresh minestrone soup, the first time I have ever made one.I added one 14 oz. can diced tomatoes before I realized I had two cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes. I added the additional can of fire roasted and it added a lot of flavor. Next time I will go for two 14 oz. cans of the fire roasted tomatoes.

    I also added Italian seasoning versus the other herbs. I skipped the kidney beans as I felt the 1/2 can of organic green beans was enough. I was a bit disappointed in my pasta. I couldn’t find the recommended pasta. Instead I used a small vegetable twisted elbow. Maybe I should have added another 1/2 cup. What type of pasta did everyone else use?

  7. Ella says

    Fantastic recipe, and so very delicious! I just made it and am eating it now. Had to improvise just a smidge and it’s still great (used wheat penne pasta, no salt chicken broth, and omitted squash only because I didn’t have any on hand). The timing on everything is perfect.
    Thank you for posting this!

  8. Abby says

    I’ve tried A LOT of homemade minestrone recipes and never found success – UNTIL THIS ONE!
    This has all the flavors you would expect from a traditional minestrone and is loaded with all the veggies and other goodies that create a superb combination of textures. It was perfect to meal prep last Sunday and heat up all week long. My mom, my kids, and I all devoured it. “Pasta soup” will happen again.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I would cook everything except the beans and pasta for 3-4 hours on high, or 6-8 hours on low. Then add in the canned and fresh beans, and pasta, cook until on high until pasta is tender about 20-25 minutes. Let me know how it goes!

      • Chelsea says

        Thank you! Your suggestion for the slow cooker worked out great! I set on low for 7 hours, it was great to come home from work to have and was delicious! I had some leftover chicken bone broth (2 cups) and used vegetable stock (2 cups), it gave it a good flavor. This is a great flavorful recipe!

  9. Lynne Felciano says

    Jessica – I absolutely love this soup! I make it about every other week. Usually, I brown chicken sausage (slices or chunks) before adding to the soup. It adds a great flavor and with a meat-loving husband, he dives into it as if it’s a steak! I also make either cornbread or jumbo corn muffins with kernel corn in them as a side instead of bread or crackers.

  10. David Flatt says

    I made this last Saturday, and it was very very good. My family is not as fond of vegatables as I, but they all had seconds of this soup.

    Thank you!

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