This minestrone soup recipe is a delicious version of the classic Italian vegetable soup. Serve it with crusty bread for an easy vegetarian meal!
Today, I have two goals: to bake a batch of Christmas cookies and to make a pot of minestrone soup. To me, the two go hand-in-hand. After I spend an afternoon baking (and eating!) something sweet, I want nothing more than a warming, nourishing pot of soup for dinner at night.
I love this minestrone soup recipe in particular because it’s so satisfying, but still light and fresh. Onions, carrots, and celery add depth of flavor to its herb-flecked tomato broth, and starchy beans and pasta make it nice and thick. I toss in green beans for texture, and, as a final finishing touch, I top it off with fresh parsley and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. It’s super easy and flavorful, and all you need is crusty bread to make it a meal. Cookies for dessert are optional, but highly recommended.
Minestrone Soup Recipe Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make this minestrone soup recipe:
- Onion, carrot, and celery – These vegetables create the aromatic base of the soup, known as a soffritto in Italian. You’ll sauté them in olive oil before adding the other ingredients.
- Garlic – It adds additional depth of flavor to the soup. You’ll stir it in after cooking the onions, carrots, and celery so that it doesn’t burn.
- Diced tomatoes – For sweet, tangy flavor.
- Green beans – They add vibrant color and crisp-tender texture to the soup.
- White or kidney beans – Navy beans, cannellini beans, and red kidney beans all work great!
- Vegetable broth – Use store-bought, or make your own.
- Bay leaves, oregano, and thyme – My easy version of a homemade Italian seasoning! These dried herbs add so much complexity to this simple minestrone soup.
- Small pasta – Think elbows, little shells, orecchiette, or ditalini. I like to cook it right in the soup so that it releases its starches into the broth.
- Fresh parsley – For garnish! Fresh basil would be excellent here too.
- Red pepper flakes – Optional, for heat.
- And Parmesan cheese – This salty, umami garnish takes the soup over the top.
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
If you don’t have these exact ingredients on hand, don’t worry. As Alice Waters writes in The Art of Simple Food, minestrone soup is endlessly customizable. Part of the beauty of this recipe is that you can change it up to use what’s in season or what you have on hand. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Substitute chopped fennel for the celery.
- Replace the green beans with diced zucchini or yellow squash, or use a mix of all three.
- In the summer, use diced fresh Roma tomatoes instead of canned ones.
- Stir in fresh greens, like spinach or kale, near the end of the cooking time.
- No pasta? Swap in a quick-cooking grain like pearled farro or barley.
- Instead of using canned beans, cook your own! Then, use the aromatic cooking liquid in place of some or all of the vegetable broth in this soup.
Let me know what variations you try!
Minestrone Soup Serving Suggestions
This recipe is best right after it’s made, as the pasta absorbs the broth as it sits in the leftover soup. If you want to make it ahead of time, I recommend cooking the pasta separately and stirring it into the soup as you’re ready to eat. Alternatively, you can skip the pasta and add an extra cup of beans to the soup. Prepared this way, the soup will keep well for up to four days in the fridge.
When you’re ready to eat, top each bowl with a sprinkle of parsley, red pepper flakes, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. If you’re vegan, feel free to skip the cheese, or garnish your bowl with a scoop of vegan pesto instead. (Non-vegans take note: regular pesto is also a great topping for minestrone soup!).
Serve the soup with good crusty bread and call it a day, or round out the meal with a side salad. This arugula salad, this beet salad, and this pear salad would all be fantastic with this minestrone soup. Enjoy!
More Favorite Soup Recipes
If you love this minestrone soup, try one of these delicious soup recipes next:
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Tortellini Soup
- Cabbage Soup
- Many-Veggie Vegetable Soup
- Best Lentil Soup
- Instant Pot Lentil Soup
- Tomato Basil Soup
- Or any of these 33 Best Soup Recipes!
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, grated
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups white beans or kidney beans, cooked, drained, and rinsed
- 1 cup chopped green beans
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3/4 cup small pasta, elbows, shells, orecchiette
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- Pinches of red pepper flakes
- Grated Parmesan cheese, optional, for serving
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, salt, and several grinds of black pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften.
- Add the garlic, tomatoes, beans, green beans, broth, bay leaves, oregano, and thyme. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Stir in the pasta and cook, uncovered, for 10 more minutes, until the pasta is cooked through.
- Season to taste and serve with parsley, red pepper flakes, and parmesan, if desired.
Delicious and hearty!! Does it freeze well?
Hi Margo, So glad you loved the soup! The soup base will freeze well, but I recommend cooking the pasta separately and adding it just before serving so that it doesn’t soak up too much liquid.
Made this one last night. It’s delicious, hearty and comes together quickly. I amped the spices a bit. Definitely include the recommended toppings. They add a lot of flavor.
Hi Frances, I’m so glad you loved it!
This was awesome. I added mushrooms and it was super tasty and great for these cold winter nights.
Hi Sabrina, So glad you loved it!
Would it be possible to use chickpeas? That is the only bean my family will eat.
My grandmother always served chickpeas on the side with her soups. I love chickpeas because of her and wouldn’t hesitate to add them to this great soup recipe
yes, absolutely, chickpeas would be great in here.
Do you drain the diced tomatoes before adding? Making this now 🙂
Me too! I think I am gonna drain
I didn’t drain the tomatoes but I added about 3 Tbs of tomato paste to give it some body. Delicious
I made this recently and did not drain. It was amazing. The juice adds to the substance of the soup, Usually one does not drain for soup.
Hi Wendy, we add the tomatoes with their juices. I hope you enjoyed the soup!
I made this last week and it came out perfectly it was the best soup I’ve ever had. Thank you for the recipe! I added zucchini and corn to it and it is to die for
No, you’ll want the liquid in your broth.
With the temperature dropping these next few days in Georgia I was looking for a good soup recipe and am so glad I came across this one. Delicious and just what I was looking for! If I have any left, I will share it with my daughter and her family tomorrow. Haha!
Thanks for sharing!
Ha ha, I’m so glad you enjoyed!
I am really unhappy with how uncooked the carrots and green beans taste. I’d cook them separately for a longer time and also cook the pasta separately and throw it into the soup. Otherwise the recipe is good. I like your recipes.
This recipe was a HUGE hit in our family! Super easy and delicious. We will be making it again
I’m so glad you all loved it!
The best minestrone. I used fired toasted tomatos and one can of rot Elle tomatos with green chiles. Also added some lemon zest. Fabulous. Yummy b
I’m so glad you loved it!
Good recipe but you may want to put in the instructions to remove the bay leaves at the end.
I’ve made this recipe a couple times now, and both times it’s been absolutely delicious—exactly as written. My husband does not typically enjoy soup, but he loves this!
I’m so happy to hear you’ve both enjoyed it!
I continue to come back to this recipe. It’s by far, the best. My family and I really love this soup. Hearty and delicious. There is nothing quite like Traditional Minestrone.
Hi Tara, I’m so glad to hear it’s been a hit!
I haven’t tried the soup yet but for certain I will. It all sounds appetizing and the explanation was superbly entertaining. Thanks for sharing your info.
This is so good. Thank you
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
Can I put some leftover beef tenderloin chopped up small? I don’t like beans but want some protein
This recipe is amazing. Was disappointed the grocery store was out if the minnestroni soup packet. I decided to look up a recipe and found this one. My family lived it and said better than the packet. I have to agree! It was simply hearty and delicious! Thank you!
I made the soup this afternoon and it was absoluetly divine. Thanks so much for the recipe, I didn’t change a thing it was perfect.
hey i was wondering if the pasta is already cooked when you put in it in with everything else. Or does it cook in the pot?
Hi Mia, the pasta goes in uncooked and it cooks in the pot. I hope you enjoy!
For the most part, I liked this recipe. I’m not sure if I missed somewhere about the green beans but I threw them in straight from the store without pre-cooking them and they didn’t cook all the way through by the end of this so they still have a crunch to them, which is a bit of a turn off in the mixture of everything being so soft and warm. Other than that, the taste is good and it’s a beautiful looking dish.
Hi Amber, the green beans go in in step 2. I’m glad you enjoyed it!
What an amazing soup. So hearty and delicious. Made it just the way it was written. Love it!
Thank you very helpful ( luv )