Embrace the winter warmth with this traditional Italian minestrone soup – it’s like a cozy blanket for your insides. But here’s the plot twist: while it’s busy comforting your soul, it’s also doubling down on the health factor. So, consider this not just a bowl of comfort but a ticket to winter wellness. Get ready to feel the warmth, inside and out!

a bowl of minestrone soup with a piece of crostini dipped in

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 when 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!

a bowl of minestrone soup with a spoon sticking out and toasted crostini dipped in

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

When it comes to minestrone soup, nailing the seasoning is key. Our starting lineup? The classic combo of 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!

When it comes to bay leaves in minestrone, here’s the inside scoop: fresh bay leaves are a no-go. They bring an unexpected bitterness to the party that their dried counterparts just don’t. So, save the fresh ones for another culinary adventure and stick with the dried bay leaf for minestrone perfection. 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.

overhead image of a bowl of minestrone soup with toasted crostini

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.
a bowl of minestrone soup with crostini dipped in

Minestrone Soup

4.75 from 4 votes
Author: Food Dolls
Servings: 8
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
If you love Olive Garden’s Minestrone soup, then you will love this easy homemade version! It’s so hearty, comforting, and delicious!

Ingredients  

  • 1 Tablespoon 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
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt more or less to taste
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper more or less to taste
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 (28 ounce) canned petite diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
  • 14 ounces canned Cannellini beans rinse and drained
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup uncooked ditalini pasta
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions 

  • Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of a large dutch oven or deep stock pot.
    1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 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.
    1/2 yellow onion, 2 stalks celery, 2 medium carrots, 1 medium zucchini, 1 medium yellow squash
  • 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 garlic cloves, 2 Tablespoons tomato paste, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1 1/2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning, 1 (28 ounce) canned petite diced tomatoes or crushed tomatoes, 14 ounces canned Cannellini beans, 1/2 cup canned black beans, 1 cup uncooked ditalini pasta
  • Add a bay leaf then pour the broth into the pot.
    6 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth, 1 bay leaf
  • 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.

Equipment

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 196kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 4mg | Sodium: 1181mg | Potassium: 588mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2733IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this recipe?Please leave a comment!

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Meet Alia & Radwa

Welcome to Food Dolls! We’re so glad you found us. We are Alia and Radwa, sisters who want to share simple and easy recipes with you. We hope you find recipes here that you enjoy making as much as we do! Learn more about us!

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Recipe Rating




6 Comments

  1. Tomatoes didn’t arrive in Italy until the fifteenth century. So they couldn’t have been in the original Roman recipe from 200 BC.

  2. 4 stars
    Just finished making this for dinner. I asked my guy if it was good “so far” was his reply. LOL I love minestrone it’s a great comfort food in the colder months. I actually did it a little bit differently than the recipe. I put olive oil, carrots, celery onion in my Dutch oven as well as a pound of hamburger meat (my guy is a meat eater). I put the burner on medium and placed the lid on it allowing the vegetables to steam while the hamburger browned. Then I added the broth and followed the recipe until completed. We topped it off with some fresh parmigiana cheese and a glass of wine. Yum! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe

  3. 5 stars
    Making this for dinner tonight. I love this as a baseline for Minestrone soup. It’s one of my family’s favorite homemade soups, and it’s the most effective way to get my family to eat a reasonable amount of vegetables. I do like to add stuff to thicken it up a little bit like a cornstarch slurry towards the end. It just holds together better like the OG one. I also prefer a hint of spice to mine, so a gentle sprinkle of red pepper flakes, and also we mix up the veggies we put in there depending on what we have at home and what is available at market. We’ve even used alphabet noodles in place of the ditalini pasta. Tonight, I’m using small shells (because it’s what we have on hand). Looking forward to it. Thanks for the recipe!