Hearty Italian Minestrone Soup

Italian Minestrone Soup is a HEARTY, AFFORDABLE, bowl of comfort food full of HEALTHY veggies, RICH broth, and TENDER pasta.

Perfect for serving a crowd, freezes well, and is delicious for an easy lunch the next day.

overhead picture of white bowl filled with soup

If you’d rather skip my essential cooking tips and tricks and get straight to this delicious recipe – simply scroll to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card.

Are you a soup lover like me?

I can eat soup all year round! I ate it even when we lived in Arizona and it was 120F outside.

It is hearty, filling, easy, affordable, and there are so many different soups to enjoy that you will never get bored!

The BEST thing about soup, is that it helps to use up leftovers. I hate having 1/2 cup or so of vegetables leftover with nothing to use them in.

HELLO SOUP!

close up of pot of soup

Italian Minestrone

My all-time favorite soup is minestrone. Not just because I ate a lot of it growing up in my parent’s Italian restaurant, but because of all the yummy veggies in it.

What does minestrone mean in Italian?

I’m paraphrasing here, and without all the translation bits, it means “to serve as a remedy.” Talk about soup for the soul!

For it to be authentic, it also needs to be regional.

Usually made with leftovers because it’s meant to be a humble, affordable meal, it varies with what vegetables and herbs available locally.

soup pot with ladle on top

What’s the difference between pasta fagioli, minestrone soup, and vegetable soup?

Pasta Fagioli, literally means “pasta and beans” and is mostly that, without any other vegetables (rarely some tomato)

Vegetable soup is really just veggies with no meat, no pasta, and very little beans.

Minestrone is similar to vegetable soup but made heartier with the addition of beans AND pasta.

Is minestrone soup good for you?

With all the vegetables and the broth base, minestrone is good for you! The calories per serving is very low considering how filling it is!

When I am really trying to shed some pounds (which seems like always) I make a big pot of minestrone. I leave out the pasta, portion it out into 2 cup servings, and freeze them.

I have a healthy and filling lunch, that is more delicious and cheaper than Olive Garden, for sure!

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labeled picture of soup ingredients

Ingredients in healthy minestrone soup

  • onion
  • celery
  • carrot
  • garlic
  • kidney beans
  • white northern beans (Cannellini)
  • Italian seasoning
  • tomatoes
  • broth
  • spinach
  • pasta

Looking for more comfort food? Follow LTB on Pinterest!

How to make minestrone soup from scratch

STEP ONE: Cook the pasta to al dente, drain, and set aside.

STEP TWO: Sauté the onions, carrots, celery, and peppers in olive oil over medium high heat. Add the spices and wine. Stir to combine.

STEP THREE: Add the beans, tomatoes, paste, chicken broth, and cheese rind. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.

STEP FOUR: Stir in the fresh spinach and cooked pasta. Simmer for 5 – 15 minutes or until the spinach is wilted.

Season with salt and pepper and garnish with grated parmesan if desired. Serve warm!

close up of ladle full of soup

How do I spice up bland soup?

To add a little extra flavor to your minestrone soup, you can add a bit of vinegar, sherry, or a dash of hot sauce.

I love a shot of Tabasco in mine:)

What can you eat with soup besides bread?

Practically everything goes with soup! But aside from a hunk of crusty bread, you can can serve salad, crackers, thin breadsticks, polenta, etc.

I love a great grilled cheese but that’s just me!

spoon full of soup over a white bowl of soup

Other minestrone soup substitutions

  • I like to use whole or crushed, but feel free to add diced tomatoes if that is what you have on hand.
  • If you prefer other vegetables, zucchini, squash, cabbage, chard, and corn are great options!
  • Use vegetable broth for a vegetarian version.
  • For the pasta, I prefer Ditalini or small shells, but use what you have on hand. Only have large pasta? Break it into smaller pieces before you cook it.

Soup is very versatile and many recipes use slight variations. But these small changes can have big flavor impacts!

Variations on Minestrone Soup

  • Ina Garten’s recipe uses Pancetta and butternut squash which screams winter Minestrone to me!
  • Jamie Oliver adds bacon to his and uses more seasonal greens like chard and kale.
  • Olive Garden’s minestrone recipe includes zucchini and green beans.
  • Regional Italian variations like in Sardinia, use chick peas, Fava beans, and fresh fennel. Instead of pasta they use a couscous-like pasta.
overhead picture of two bowls of soup next to a pot of soup

Minestrone Soup Tips for no leftovers

  • Dice all the veggies the same size so they cook at the same time.
  • To make the broth creamier, puree half the Cannellini beans with a cup of the broth before adding to the soup.
  • Need a Vegan version, use vegetable broth and leave out the Parmesan cheese rind. To include the nutty flavor that the cheese adds, replace it with 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast.
  • If you are missing one of the items, don’t run to the grocery store, just use what you have on hand. That’s the beauty of soup!

This authentic Italian Minestrone Soup recipe is not only a family favorite, but a great recipe for using up little bits of leftover veggies.

All while serving your family and friends and hearty, delicious, meal in less than 30 minutes!

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

collage of soup pictures with text "italian minestrone family recipe"

Other Italian dishes to try

Italian Minestrone Soup Recipe

overhead picture of soup tureen

Italian Minestrone Soup

Yield: 10-12 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Italian Minestrone Soup is a HEARTY, AFFORDABLE, bowl of comfort food full of HEALTHY veggies, RICH broth, and TENDER pasta.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion (diced ~ 1 cup)
  • 3 carrots (diced ~ 1 cup)
  • 3 celery stalks (diced ~ 3/4 cup)
  • 1 red bell pepper (diced ~ 1/2 cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced fine ~ 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans (15oz, drained, rinsed)
  • 1 can Cannellini or white Northern beans (15oz, drained, rinsed)
  • 1 can tomatoes (28oz, whole or crushed)
  • 3 ounces tomato paste
  • 6-8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 oz Parmesan cheese rind (about 1-2")
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 pound cooked pasta (I prefer Ditalini or mini shells pasta)
  • Salt and pepper to taste, dash of hot sauce *optional*
  • Fresh parsley (chopped) for garnish *optional*

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pot (at least 6 quarts) over medium heat.
  3. Add the onion, carrot, bell pepper, and celery. Stir to cook veggies until soft - roughly 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add garlic, spices, and wine. Stir to combine.
  5. Add the beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, cheese rind, and broth.
  6. Bring to a boil.
  7. Turn heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  8. Add the spinach and pasta.
  9. Stir until spinach is wilted and simmer 5 minutes to combine flavors.
  10. Enjoy with friends, family, and crusty bread.

Notes

*If you love this recipe, please leave me a comment and rate it 5 stars. Thank you!

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 8 ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 213Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 2784mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 5gSugar: 8gProtein: 10g

This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.

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