Home » Recipes » Minestrone Soup (Copycat Olive Garden Minestrone)

Minestrone Soup (Copycat Olive Garden Minestrone)

*This post may contain affiliate links, please see our privacy policy for details.*

This traditional Italian soup is the perfect winter recipe. It warms you up from the inside out. And despite how comforting it is, this minestrone soup is actually really healthy for you too!

What is minestrone?

Minestrone is a tomato based vegetable soup. Traditionally this classic Italian soup recipe does not contain meat, but instead it is packed with plant based ingredients. This is a healthy and hearty vegetarian soup that has been around for centuries.

In fact, minestrone is one of the oldest recipes developed in Italy that is still popular today. The soup was first seen as far back as 200 BC, as the Roman empire first began to import and export goods. For the first time, crops from around the world were traded freely!

Rather than being limited to growing local vegetables, Italians were finally able to grow a wider variety of seasonal veggies and legumes. People would toss together whatever beans and vegetables they had on hand. That combined with tomatoes, broth and pasta noodles is how the classic minestrone was created.

In a time where meat was not accessible to most, this hearty soup became a staple in Italian society. It is packed with protein, fiber, and key vitamins. But from the earliest days of this soup’s popularity, there has never been a strict recipe to follow. It is simple, easy to make, and best of all – inexpensive!

The key ingredients for minestrone soup

  • An assortment of seasonal veggies is what makes this soup a Minestrone. We love to incorporate onions, carrots, green zucchini, yellow squash and garlic, but you can really use whatever you have on hand!
  • The canned diced tomatoes are a key component of this recipe. This is a tomato based soup after all! If you are trying to limit sodium in your diet, you can go for fresh tomatoes. But if not, we love the ease of using canned tomatoes.
  • Broth is what helps make this a soup! We love any kind of bone broth, whether it’s chicken or beef. Bone broth is super good for you, especially during cold and flu season. If you are trying to keep this vegetarian you can absolutely use vegetable stock in place of bone broth.
  • We like to use a combination of cannellini beans and black beans. They add the perfect variety in color and texture to this soup!
  • Pasta is the final ingredient that rounds out this delicious soup. We have a list of recommended pastas for this recipe further along in this blog post, so keep on reading!

Seasoning minestrone soup

An important part of making minestrone soup is the seasoning. We always start out with salt and pepper. The salt helps to draw out the natural vibrance of all the individual ingredients. A little goes a long way, so we recommend a teaspoon of salt for this recipe, but you can absolutely add more if you desire! The pepper adds a touch of warmth and, similar to salt, you don’t need much to add a whole bunch of flavor.

Oregano and bay leaf are the two herbs that make this soup oh-so-yummy! Oregano is a traditional Italian herb that can be found fresh or dried. We always have dried oregano on hand as it has a long shelf life. During the summer season, fresh oregano is a great alternative to use as it is extremely fragrant, and packs in extra flavor!

Bay leaf, on the other hand, we do not recommend using fresh. Fresh bay leaves add an extra layer of bitterness to soups that dry bay leaf does not. Dried bay leaf helps round out the flavors of all the veggies in this dish. But, it is important to remove it from the soup before serving. Biting into a bay leaf is no-fun. While bay leaf adds an earthy flavor to the soup, the leaf itself is incredibly bitter and hard to chew.

What kind of noodles to use for minestrone

  • Ditalini pasta, which is what we use, is our personal favorite for this recipe. They are the most perfect short little tubes! We love to use this kind of pasta noodle for minestrone because it is a similar size to the other ingredients and mixes into the soup well.
  • Macaroni elbows an awesome match for this soup. Similar to Ditalini noodles, the small tube shaped pasta is the perfect size to accompany the other components of the minestrone.
  • We have a sweet spot in our hearts for Orzo pasta. In fact, two of our favorite pasta recipes here at Food Dolls are our Egyptian orzo pasta and our one pot mediterranean orzo pasta . This pasta is a similar shape as rice, and works so well in soup.
  • Rotelle pasta is another great pasta shape to go in this minestrone soup. It is the perfect size and shape, and kids absolutely love the wheel shape! Use this pasta noodle for some extra fun during mealtime.

How to make minestrone soup

  1. Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of a large dutch oven or deep stock pot.
  2. Add diced onions, chopped celery, carrots and both types of zucchini to the pot and heat everything up on the stove top over medium high heat. Mix everything together and allow it all to cook.
  3. When the veggies have softened, add garlic, a scoop of tomato paste, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, crushed tomatoes, cannellini beans, black beans, and pasta.
  4. Add a bay leaf then pour the broth into the pot.
  5. Mix everything together. Bring the contents of the pot up to a boil and then down to a simmer. Cook everything together until the pasta reaches al dente.
  6. Remove the bay leaf and the soup is ready to serve! Try serving it with homemade croutons and fresh parsley.

Minestrone Soup (Copycat Olive Garden Minestone)

Alia and Radwa
If you love Olive Garden's Minestrone soup, then you will love this easy homemade version! It's so hearty, comforting, and delicious!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Soup
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8
Calories 228 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion (chopped)
  • 2 stalks celery (chopped)
  • 2 medium carrots (peeled and chopped)
  • 1 medium zucchini (chopped)
  • 1 medium yellow squash (chopped)
  • 4 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 28 oz canned petite diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 14 oz canned Cannellini beans (rinse and drained)
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1 cup uncooked ditalini pasta
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (more or less to taste)
  • 3/4 tsp pepper (more or less to taste)

Instructions
 

  • Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of a large dutch oven or deep stock pot.
  • Add diced onions, chopped celery, carrots and both types of zucchini to the pot and heat everything up on the stove top over medium high heat. Mix everything together and allow it all to cook.
  • When the veggies have softened, add garlic, a scoop of tomato paste, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, crushed tomatoes, cannellini beans, black beans, and pasta.
  • Add a bay leaf then pour the broth into the pot.
  • Mix everything together. Bring the contents of the pot up to a boil and then down to a simmer. Cook everything together until the pasta reaches al dente.
  • Remove the bay leaf and the soup is ready to serve! Try serving it with homemade croutons, fresh parsley, and some crushed red pepper.

Nutrition

Serving: 8g | Calories: 228kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0.5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 1312mg | Potassium: 878mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 2946IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 120mg | Iron: 4mg
Keyword easy minestrone soup, italian soup recipe, meatless soup, minestrone soup, olive garden soup, soup recipe, vegan soup recipe
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating