This Minestrone Soup is an easy vegan homemade soup recipe made with healthy fresh vegetables and hearty beans. It’s easy to make and perfect as a comforting meal for busy weeknights. Can be made gluten free, low carb, keto, Whole30 and paleo friendly.
Updated September 2019
Minestrone soup is a classic Italian favorite that we had often when we visited Italy many years ago.
It’s super comforting and still one of the soups we make regularly at our house since my kids are obsessed. Now I know that might not be a surprise since most kids really do love minestrone soup, especially the one from Olive Garden. But my kids actually proclaimed this recipe the best minestrone soup ever.
WHAT IS MINESTRONE SOUP
Ever wondered what goes in Italian minestrone soup? Well, there is no set traditional minestrone soup recipe and each household adds in whatever ingredients they have on hand. The soup is typically thick, hearty and includes a variety of chopped veggies. Some common ingredients include pasta, rice, beans and tomatoes.
3 VARIATIONS OF HOMEMADE MINESTRONE SOUP:
And in case you are looking for something better than Olive Garden’s minestrone soup too, we’ve got three popular fan favorites:
And our favorite part about making this vegan minestrone soup is that it makes the perfect clean out the fridge type of meal.
Just throw in a bunch of your favorite vegetables and you’ve got a simple one pot recipe. So comforting, filling and always hits the spot on a chilly day.
WHAT IS MINESTRONE SOUP MADE OF?
The great thing about any soup recipe is how easy it is to customize. This easy minestrone soup recipe is loaded with tons of healthy vegetables like:
- carrots (leave out for low carb / keto)
- green beans
- baby spinach
- diced tomatoes
- chopped onions
- bay leaf
- you can use dried or fresh herbs: basil, parsley
And, it’s loaded with plant-based protein like:
- red kidney beans (leave out for low carb / keto)
- cannellini beans to keep you full for hours (leave out for low carb / keto)
- pasta (use gluten free or swap for cauliflower for low carb / keto / paleo)
- Parmesan cheese (leave out for paleo)
HOW TO MAKE MINESTRONE SOUP:
- CHOP VEGGIES: Start by chopping all of your vegetables. Soup is a great way to get rid of any leftover veggies you have in your fridge as well. Or, if you’re in a pinch, your local grocery store may also sell prechopped vegetables just for soup.
- COOK VEGETABLES: Heat the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, carrots and celery. Saute for about 4 minutes, or until vegetables are slightly softened.
- ADD FLAVOR AND AROMATICS: Throw in basil, oregano, thyme, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves, vegetable broth, zucchini and both of the beans. Add just enough water to cover the vegetables.
- SIMMER THE SOUP: Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat then simmer for 20-25 minutes. Stir in uncooked pasta and and cook for another 10 minutes, or until pasta is al dente.
- Toss in spinach & cook until wilted. Season with balsamic vinegar and additional salt and pepper as needed.
- SERVE: Serve warm with bread and top with Parmesan cheese and garnish with parsley if desired.
CAN MINESTRONE SOUP BE FROZEN?
Yes! If you plan to freeze or serve this soup the next day, leave out the pasta and cook in a separate pot. Then once you’re ready to eat, reheat the soup on the stove on low then add the pasta when you are ready to enjoy. Reheating the pasta before you serve the soup helps the pasta not get soggy.
IS MINESTRONE SOUP HEALTHY?
This soup is packed with a ton of vegetables and legumes and contains tons of vitamins, protein and fiber. It’s also vegan and gluten free if you use a gluten free pasta.
IS MINESTRONE SOUP KETO?
The traditional soup recipe is made with beans and pasta so it is not very keto friendly.
However, if you are following a low carb, keto, Whole30 or paleo diet, simply leave out the pasta, beans and carrots and add cauliflower and green beans instead.
You can serve this hearty soup with a side salad or some crusty bread and dig in!
This healthy vegetarian soup is especially perfect for those cold nights when you don’t want to go out. Just grab a blanket and curl up with a cozy bowl.
More soup recipes you might like:
Homemade Minestrone Soup - the perfect easy comforting meal on a chilly day. Best of all, this classic stove-top recipe is hearty & full of fresh vegetables and beans.
- 1 small onion , about 1/3 cup, diced
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 medium carrot (about 1 cup) , chopped
- 1 large celery stalk (about 1 cup) , chopped
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 32 oz can diced tomatoes , (I usually use fire-roasted or Italian-style)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 (32 oz carton - 4 cups) low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 medium zucchini (around 2/3 cups) , sliced into halves or quarters
- 1/4 cup canned or cooked red kidney beans , drained and rinsed (leave out for paleo, Whole30 & low carb)
- 1/4 cup canned or cooked cannellini beans, chickpeas OR great northern beans , drained and rinsed (leave out for paleo, Whole30 & low carb)
- water - add only as much as needed to cover vegetables
- 1/4 cup dried small shell pasta , (use gluten free if necessary)(leave out for Whole30, paleo & low carb and add chopped cauliflower & green beans instead))
- 1 cup fresh baby spinach chopped , optional
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar , optional but adds great flavor
- Shredded or grated Parmesan cheese , for serving (leave out for paleo & Whole30)
- Fresh parsley finely chopped , for garnish (optional)
- In a large heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat.
- Add onions, garlic, carrots and celery and saute for about 4 minutes, or until vegetables are slightly softened.
Add basil, oregano and thyme and cook for an additional 1 minute. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, vegetable broth and both of the beans. Depending on how large your pot is, add just enough water to cover the vegetables.
- Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes.
Stir in the dried pasta shells and zucchini and cook for another 10 minutes, or until pasta is cooked. Stir in the spinach and allow to wilt (about 1-2 minutes). Add more water as needed if you like a thinner soup.
Season with more salt and pepper as needed and stir in balsamic vinegar (if using).
Serve warm with bread and top with Parmesan cheese and garnish with parsley if desired.