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.

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.
4.81 from 46 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine Italian

Ingredients 
 

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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

Equipment

Notes

  • 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

Serves: 6 servings
Calories 278kcal (14%)Carbohydrates 44g (15%)Protein 13g (26%)Fat 7g (11%)Sodium 493mg (21%)Potassium 1116mg (32%)Fiber 11g (44%)Sugar 8g (9%)Vitamin A 4015IU (80%)Vitamin C 29.9mg (36%)Calcium 415mg (42%)Iron 12.3mg (68%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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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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26 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. SuD. Knaime says

    Jessica, OH MY!!! Your minestone soup is so good! Already a family fav. Made once in mid summer from cookbook. Grands came by & they gobbled it up. So couple weeks before killer freeze came I went to local produce stands for ingredients & 10X your recipe. Pot not big enough for me to add all additional liquids recipe calls for. Have to add additional liquids as is I heat it up.
    Oldest grand sick this week, gave her 2 qt.frozen , diluted to almost equal your recipe. She raved & her son 3, & youngest sis 8, were having multiple bowls in a setting. I could never imagine soup this good. Thank you! Yummy in our tummies. Taste is so refreshing, yet hearty at the same time a rare balance to find.

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