Minestrone Soup Recipe

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This minestrone soup recipe is one of the easiest, tastiest recipes you can make. The ingredients are basic but the flavors are bold, warm and comforting.

The evolution and origins of food fascinate me. The idea that a soup such as Minestrone (in its first versions and renditions) pre-dates the expansion of the Latin tribes of Rome is such an amazing piece of history. While the soup has evolved over the centuries, the fact that this type of soup was eaten so long ago really tends to tie us to our past as well as our future with every bite.

A pot with a full ladle just off the stove, filled with Minestrone Soup. Hot and delicious and ready to enjoy.

Parts of this soup we consider staples today were actually American additions as late as the mid-16th century. Namely, the potatoes and tomatoes that a good many versions of this soup contain these days. For us today, it just wouldn’t be Minestrone without the tomato-flavored broth. But this soup has much more humble beginnings that started with simple ingredients that were available at the time of origin. Minestrone originally consisted of “vegetables, such as onions, lentils, cabbage, garlic, broad beans, mushrooms, carrots, asparagus, and turnips.[1]

Minestrone went from being a simple soup, to being peasant food, to being an Italian standard on the span of a few centuries. Things like this make you realize that our food has a life, a journey and a story all its own.

So what does it take to make a good bowl of Minestrone today? While a standard recipe has never once been a part of Minestrone’s history, it has come, with time, to develop a particular list of ingredients to choose from in varying combinations. Let’s look at some of the components.

WHAT BEANS TO USE IN MINESTRONE

You can use nearly any bean for minestrone. But two types stick out as the best and most commonly used. Kidney beans and chickpeas. That said, here is a list of more you can try. I’ve used most of these over the years and they all add their own personalities to this soup, all of them tasty.

  • Kidney beans
  • White beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Red beans
  • Cannellini beans
  • Navy beans
An overhead view looking down into a white bowl of this Minestrone Soup Recipe.

MINESTRONE SOUP VEGETABLES

The sky is pretty much the limit with what types of veggies go well with minestrone, but here are the ones that are most common and beloved:

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Peas
  • Zucchini
  • Green beans
  • Spinach and other greens such as kale

TYPES OF MEAT FOR MINESTRONE

Minestrone can be made with or without meat. But if you choose to add it, a couple tend to stand out as mainstays in this classic soup.

  • Sausage – typically Italian – Look for good quality meat here.
  • Ground beef – can be browned in the veggies after sautéing the vegetables first, and before adding the broth. You may need a touch more oil for that though.
  • Ground turkey – Same process as with ground beef – This is what I use. My favorite way to prepare the meat is to cook it separately in a skillet by sautéing 1 lb. of meat in 1 tbsp. of oil with 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning and 1 tbsp. garlic powder with a little salt to taste.

TYPES OF BROTH FOR MINESTRONE

Here again, about the only broth you wouldn’t use here is fish broth. Beef, chicken, turkey and vegetable broth will all make a substantially flavorful pot of soup.

IS MINESTRONE SOUP VEGAN?

This particular recipe is not, but yes, minestrone can easily be vegan. It’s not automatically made vegan though, so it’s always better to double check if somebody else made it. Minestrone is one of those soups that you can make with or without meat products and it still tastes wonderful either way. You can find my Vegan Minestrone here.

WHAT TO SERVE WITH MINESTRONE SOUP

My absolute favorite side dish for Minestrone is a good, crusty, garlic bread. Nothing quite beats it. But now that I’m living in the south where it seems impossible to find a good sourdough bread AND living gluten free, I tend to serve this Minestrone with a green salad.  Ideas for complimentary side dishes are:

A white bowl filled with this Minestrone Soup sits ready to enjoy. Carrots and celery sit off in the distance.

PASTA OR RICE?

Either will work! It all comes down to your personal preference. The only suggestion I would truly make here is to cook them separately and add them in layers to your bowl. I never combine my rice or pasta with the soup because it makes a big pot and I don’t want my rice or pasta to bloat or get mushy sitting in the broth in the fridge.

One last note is to mention that if you are accustomed to eating either canned or restaurant minestrone, this recipe, as it is, may seem a little low on salt. You can certainly add some to taste, but I recommend first allowing yourself to enjoy the flavors without the excess sodium. You’ll start to notice flavors you never picked up on before. It’s truly a delicious, multi-flavored experience. Give it a try!

What You’ll Need

2 cups chopped purple onions – You can also use yellow onions if that’s what you have on hand.

2 cups chopped celery – Slice these on the thinner side.

2 cups peeled and chopped carrots – You can use regular carrots or baby carrots. Whatever you have handy.

2 tbsp. oil – This can be any oil you usually cook with. I have used coconut oil, olive oil and grapeseed oil in the past.

8 cups chicken stock – Make sure you use chicken broth with no sugar (usually dextrose) added. If you are making this vegan, simply switch of vegetable broth without added sugar. In either case, opt for low sodium broth if you can.

28 oz. can diced tomatoes – Here again, choose tomatoes without added sugar. Use plain diced tomatoes, not fire roasted.

6 oz. can tomato paste – Once again, look for tomato past without added sugar.

3 tbsp. Italian seasoning – This is an herbal mix found in the spice aisle in most grocery stores. You can make your own as well. If buying, make sure there is no added sugar. Many spices have added sugar, so it’s always best to check.

3 tbsp. garlic granules – Garlic powder works here as well.

2 medium bay leaves – Make sure you remove these before serving. Don’t eat them.

1 tsp. salt – I used pink Himalayan salt. But use whatever you have and normally use.

2 cups cooked kidney beans – If yo used canned, make sure there is no added sugar. Kidney beans often have added sugar. If cooked at home, cook them thoroughly. Undercook kidney beans can be toxic.

2 cups cooked chickpeas – Here again, make sure there is no sugar added if using canned beans.

Pasta or rice – Whole grain rice or pasta, as much as you like.

How To Make Minestrone Soup

Sautéing the vegetables for this minestrone soup recipe.

In a large stock pot, sauté the onions, celery and carrots in the oil until the onions are translucent.

All remaining minestrone soup ingredients added to the pot.

Add all other ingredients, except the rice or pasta, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the vegetables are soft and cooked through.

The finished Minestrone Soup Recipe served in a white bowl with fresh carrots and celery laying next to the bowl.

Serve over pasta or rice.

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MINESTRONE SOUP RECIPE:

Copyright Information For The Gracious Pantry
A white bowl filled with this Minestrone Soup sits ready to enjoy. Carrots and celery sit off in the distance.

Minestrone Soup Recipe

A classic soup that is hearty, filling and filled with Italian flare.
4.72 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 14 servings
Calories: 157kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry

CLICK TO WATCH THIS RECIPE IN ACTION!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped red onions
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 cups peeled and chopped carrots
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 8 cups chicken stock (no sugar or dextrose added)
  • 28 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste (no sugar added)
  • 3 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 3 tbsp. garlic granules (or powder)
  • 2 medium bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups cooked kidney beans
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • pasta or rice as you like

Instructions

  • In a large stock pot, sauté the onions, celery and carrots in the oil until the onions are translucent.
    Sautéing the vegetables for this minestrone soup recipe.
  • Add all other ingredients, except the rice or pasta, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the vegetables are soft and cooked through.
    All remaining minestrone soup ingredients added to the pot.
  • Serve over pasta or rice.
    The finished Minestrone Soup Recipe served in a white bowl with fresh carrots and celery laying next to the bowl.

Notes

Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 157kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 412mg | Potassium: 679mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 3396IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 3mg

Recipe from the Gracious Pantry® archives, originally posted 1/12/20.

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20 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    This looks wholesome – and in a good way!

    1. Anonymous says:

      TW – Thanks! It truly is!

    2. graciouspantry says:

      TW – Hope you enjoy it!

  2. Thank you for sharing all this information with us. We just moved and its a great way to start fresh. I love how you give tips on how kids can help, i have two very picky eaters. Hopefully getting them in the kitchen w/ me will help them try move food. Again thank you for sharing.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Vee – Fantastic! Glad I could help! I think it’s a wonderful thing to be in the kitchen with your kids. It makes for a lot of memories!

    2. Anonymous says:

      Vee – I’m glad I could help! Cooking with kids is wonderful. It creates soooo many memories! Enjoy!

  3. Sarah Martin says:

    5 stars
    In my crock pot now..just heading to the store for a few ingredients. thanks Tiffany! 🙂

    1. Anonymous says:

      Sarah – Fantastic! I hope you enjoy it!

  4. The Gracious Pantry says:

    Sarah – I think that’s the best part about minestrone soup. You use up all the veggies in your fridge! Glad you enjoyed it!

  5. graciouspantry says:

    Haha! ya, that’s easy to do with this soup. I need to do a smaller yield recipe. I get the ziplock containers at Safeway. I also use empty jars from spaghetti sauce and such.

  6. Lisa Marie Gamache says:

    about how long does this take in the slow cooker…I am looking for some good meals that can cook while I am at work?

    1. graciouspantry says:

      This one won’t work for you. It wouldn’t cook all day. You’d come home to mush. I’d say about 4 hours tops in a slow cooker for this one.

  7. 5 stars
    This Was so good! I even blended some in a blender for my little boy so he didn’t see all the vegetables, but I added some chunks of carrots afterward because he likes those, and he even liked it. That is saying a lot since he is a picky toddler.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Danielle – Fantastic!!! 😀

  8. When you say a big crockpot, what does that mean, exactly? Mine is 6 – 6.5 quarts… It’s quite big. Most crockpot recipes are written for. 4 quart crock so it’s important to know what size to use at the beginning , particularly if one is “setting and forgetting” and out all day, unable to check the recipe

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Maria – This isn’t really a crock pot recipe. It’s meant to be made in one of those very large soup pots. However, it certainly could be made in a slow cooker if you cut the recipe in half. That would be my suggestion to start. You can always add more if needed.

  9. How many servings does this make?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Kim – This was one of my first recipes. I didn’t measure. But I can tell you it makes an absolutely TON of soup. I plan to redo this recipe in the near future. While this is an excellent soup, I feel like it makes too much for most people. I believe I got more than a full stock pot, if memory serves. Definitely worth cutting in half.

  10. Aimee Shramko says:

    5 stars
    LOVE this perfect recipe! You can easily customize it to your own tastes and it’s still wonderful – I added leftover fresh zucchini and switched out the garbanzos and kidney beans for navy beans. I also cooked all the fresh vegetables in batches and then added to a slow cooker and allowed it to simmer with the tomatoes and for a few hours. For my Italian seasoning I used dried Greek oregano and ground fennel seeds – excellent!
    Thank you!

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