Classic Italian minestrone soup is a colorful mix of vegetables, beans, fresh herbs, and ditalini pasta simmered in a savory tomato broth. Sauteing onions, celery, carrots, and squash delivers a flavor punch even before the soup begins to bubble on the stove. Pairing fresh ingredients with canned beans and tomatoes creates a quick stove top dish.
Minestrone soup may seem simple to prepare, but all of the various elements brings on some complexity. Knowing when and how to cook the bite-sized pieces of vegetables, while timing the addition of the green beans and pasta are key. The goal is to nail tender and vibrantly colored food in the bowl, not mushy and dull spoonfuls.
After making many steaming pots of soup, I’ve learned that by adding each ingredient in a particular order and duration gives smile-inducing results. To create a dish full of flavor that saves on time, I like to crack open the pantry to find convenient ingredients and break out my handy can opener. I’m sharing my essential techniques so that you can proudly serve the soup to your loved ones with ease like a pro.
Minestrone soup ingredients
- Ditalini pasta, or other small dried noodles
- Unsalted vegetable broth
- Canned tomatoes (diced tomatoes and paste)
- Summer squash (green zucchini and yellow squash)
- Aromatics (garlic, onions, carrots, celery)
- Canned red kidney beans
- Bay leaf, oregano, and rosemary
How to make easy minestrone soup
- Saute the onions, garlic, celery, carrots, and squash to lightly brown and enhance the flavors of the vegetables.
- Add canned beans at the end of cooking to help retain their shape.
- Simmer the fresh bean beans just until crisp-tender and bright green in color.
- Cook the dried pasta at the very end cooking. The starches will slightly thicken the soup.
Staggering the incorporation of each ingredient ensures the desired texture and color.
Nutrition in each bowl
Making vegetable soup is an excellent way to incorporate a diverse array of healthy ingredients. Fresh green beans add a nice crunch, along with fiber. A colorful medley of tomatoes, carrots, and celery provide phytonutrients like lycopene and vitamins like beta-carotene. Legumes like red kidney beans are an excellent vegetarian and vegan source of protein as well as fiber.
My son loves to help. He grabs the produce from the refrigerator, asking about each one, and beaming with excitement as I make rhythmic quick chops on the cutting board. I can see him salivating as he perches on a stepping stool, helping to stir the huge pot. Getting the kids involved early on in the cooking process is a great hands-on way to learning how to build better eating habits, and it’s fun too!
Once you’re ready to eat, grab an oversized spoon. It’s the best way to efficiently collect all of the little tender pieces of food in the bowl. Breaking apart a piece of crunchy baguette to dip into the broth and soak up all of the soup ensures not one drop goes to waste.
More soup recipes
Do canned tomatoes compare to fresh tomatoes?
For soups, chili’s and sauces, I use canned tomatoes for convenience and flavor. 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.
Classic Italian Minestrone Soup
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
- 1 cup (150 g) yellow onion, ½-inch dice
- 1 cup (100 g) celery, ½-inch dice
- 1 cup (150 g) carrots, ½-inch dice
- 1 cup (127 g) zucchini, ½-inch dice
- 1 cup (114 g) yellow squash, ½-inch dice
- 1 tablespoon (12 g) minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons (32 g) tomato paste
- 28 ounces diced tomatoes, canned with juice
- 4 cups (960 ml) unsalted vegetable stock, plus more to thin out soup
- 1 teaspoon (10 g) kosher salt
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon (1 g) chopped oregano, or ½ teaspoon dried
- 15 ounces (425 g) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup (124 g) green beans, trimmed and cut to ½-inch pieces
- black pepper, as needed for seasoning
- 1 cup (128 g) dried pasta, Ditalini
- 2 teaspoons (3 g) chopped parsley
- Heat a large dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat and then add in oil.
- Once oil is hot add the onions, celery, and carrots, saute until lightly browned, 5 minutes.
- Add zucchini and yellow squash, saute for 2 minutes.
- Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add tomato paste and saute for 30 seconds.
- Add diced tomatoes, vegetable stock, 1 teaspoon salt, rosemary, bay leaf, and oregano, stir to combine.
- Turn the heat to medium and bring the liquid to a vigorous simmer.
- Add red kidney beans and pasta to the pot, 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.
- Remove rosemary sprigs and add more vegetable broth as needed to thin out the soup, about 1 to 2 cups, warm before serving.
- Taste soup and season with more salt and pepper as desired.
- Garnish with parsley and serve hot.
- MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE: Use gluten-free pasta instead of wheat pasta.