This Easy Minestrone Soup is made with healthy fresh vegetables, hearty beans and pasta. Serve this classic Italian soup with some crusty bread and Parmesan cheese for a cozy and comforting lunch or dinner. Gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and can be made low carb, keto, Whole30 and paleo friendly.
Updated March 2022
Easy Minestrone Soup Recipe
It’s soup season and this Easy Minestrone Soup is hearty, delicious and perfect for fall and winter. This thick and creamy tomato soup is Italian-inspired comfort food that will have you coming back for more! Not only is it loaded with healthy vegetables, it’s also packed with protein and makes a hearty lunch or dinner that comes together in a single pot with minimal effort. My kids love a traditional minestrone soup but are equally obsessed with the one from Olive Garden.
The balsamic vinegar adds richness and enhances all of the irresistible flavors in the soup, but you can choose to leave it out if you’d like. Either way, this cozy vegetable soup is sure to become a new family favorite.
What is Minestrone Soup?
Classic minestrone soup is a popular soup that we had often when we visited Italy many years ago. Ever wondered what goes in Italian minestrone soup? Well, there is no set traditional 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.
The American version of Minestrone Soup was popularized by Olive Garden and made with a tomato base, vegetables, beans and pasta topped with grated Parmesan. This healthy take on the hearty vegetable soup is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and can easily be made paleo, low carb, keto and Whole30 with just a few swaps.
3 Variations of Homemade Minestrone Soup
Our favorite part about making this vegan 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.
In case you are looking for something better than Olive Garden’s minestrone soup too, we’ve got three popular fan favorites:
Let’s talk about each and every item you will need to bring this sumptuous Italian-style soup to life. Buon appetito!
- Avocado Oil: Or olive oil.
- Onion: Diced.
- Garlic: Freshly minced.
- Diced Tomatoes: A 32-oz can of Fire-Roasted or Italian style.
- Tomato Paste: 3 tablespoons.
- Bay Leaf: You’ll need 1.
- Beans: You can use drained canned beans or cooked dried beans. Red Kidney Beans, Canellini Beans, Chickpeas or Great Northern Beans all work. Leave out for paleo, Whole30 and keto alternative.
- Gluten-free Dried Pasta: Any small pasta shapes work. Use Jovial Cassava Grain-Free pasta or Konjac / Shirataki Macaroni for paleo / keto or leave out for Whole30 & low carb and add chopped cauliflower & green beans instead.
- Carrot: Chopped
- Celery: Chopped
- Zucchini: Sliced into halves or quarters.
- Balsamic Vinegar: Optional but recommended for depth of flavor.
- Vegetable Broth: You can use store-bought or homemade vegetable stock.
- Dried Herbs: We use basil, oregano and thyme.
- Salt & Pepper: To taste.
- Spinach: Chopped. You can sub this for kale if preferred.
- Vegan Parmesan cheese : For serving. Leave out for paleo & Whole30.
- Fresh Parsley: Chopped for serving.
How to Make Minestrone Soup
Once you’ve rounded up your ingredients, go ahead and grab a Dutch oven or a large soup pot. Let’s get cooking!
- Sauté Onions and Vegetables: 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 Herbs, Tomatoes and Broth: Add basil, oregano and thyme and cook for an additional 1 minute.
- Stir in the Tomatoes and Broth: 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.
- Lower Heat & Simmer: Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
- Add Pasta and Zucchini: 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 to taste and serve: 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.
Tips for Success
Don’t forget to go over these handy tips and tricks before you start making your soup.
- Season the Soup to Your Liking: Before you ladle your soup into bowls and add the toppings, give it a good old taste test to see if you’d like to make any adjustments. Just be sure to blow on your spoonful a few times before you slurp it up!
- Add Balsamic Vinegar: The hint of balsamic brings out all the other flavors to this dish
- Save Time with Pre-chopped Vegetables: It can take a little while to chop up your vegetables, so if you’re pressed for time, feel free to pick up a container of pre-chopped Mirepoix instead.
There are a whole lot of yummy toppings and garnishes you can use to finish off your soup. Here are some easy ideas:
- Fresh Oregano
- Grated Vegan Parmesan
- Grain-Free Crackers
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Lemon Slices
- Gluten-Free Bread
- Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
- Rustic Sourdough
Serve this hearty soup with a side salad or some crusty bread to make it a satisfying main dish. Or try pairing it with one of the following sides!
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.
- Serve with Caesar Salad: Our Vegan Caesar Salad is a healthy veggie side dish that goes great with this vegetable and bean soup. Plus, it’s made in just 20 minutes!
- Pair with Roasted Squash: Tender on the inside, crispy on the outside and seasoned to your liking, this Roasted Butternut Squash will have you licking your lips. Whether you make it sweet or savory, it’s going to taste amazing alongside this soup.
- Serve with Brussels Sprouts: The caramelized flavor of these Crispy Brussels Sprouts is out of this world! They’re super easy to make with your trusty Air Fryer.
Storage and Reheating
After it has cooled, vegetarian minestrone soup should be refrigerated in an airtight container. It will last for up to 4 days. Reheat it over medium-low heat without letting it come to a boil. Remove it from the heat once it’s warmed through.
You can reheat individual portions of soup in the microwave if preferred. Cover the soup and heat it in 15-second bursts, stirring between each one and reducing the microwave time as needed, until it reaches your desired temperature.
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 and you can simply leave out the pasta, beans and carrots and add cauliflower and green beans to make it keto-friendy or Whole30 compliant.
More Cozy Soup Recipes
Homemade soup is a huge part of our lives, especially during the wintertime. Check out these comforting vegan soups next!
- Hearty Vegetable Pasta Soup
- Vegan Zuppa Toscana
- Instant Pot Pasta E Fagioli Soup
- Creamy Vegan Broccoli Soup
This Easy Minestrone Soup is an easy vegan homemade soup recipe made with healthy fresh vegetables and hearty beans. It's a quick and simple one pot recipe and perfect as a comforting meal for busy weeknights. Can be made gluten free, low carb, keto, Whole30 and paleo friendly.
- 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 gluten-free small shell pasta , (use Jovial grain-free elbow pasta or Konjac / Shirataki Macaroni for paleo / keto or leave out for Whole30 & 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.
- To Store: Store cooled soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat: Set soup over medium-low heat until warmed. Do not let it boil. Alternatively, reheat individual servings in the microwave, covered, for 15-second bursts until warm.
- To Freeze: Freeze cooled soup in an airtight container, leaving an inch or two of free space to allow for expansion. Within 3 months, thaw it overnight in the fridge, reheat it and enjoy.