Homemade Minestrone Soup is loaded with nutrient-packed veggies, along with beans, pasta, tomatoes, fresh herbs, and smoky bacon. This classic Italian vegetable soup is the perfect healthy meal, guaranteed to keep you cozy and full!
Hearty and Homemade Minestrone Soup
I’ve been on a bit of a soup bender lately. It started with this roasted tomato soup, and it led to this nourishing and flavorful homemade minestrone soup. This classic vegetable soup recipe combines tender garden veggies, beans, and pasta in a tangy tomato broth with fresh herbs and salty bacon.
Minestrone soup is the kind of warming, feel-good meal I love making at any time of the year. Of course, soup is a wintertime favorite, but it’s also one of my favorite ways to use up a stockpile of summer veggies. Any way you serve it, it’s a big fat hug in the form of soup!
Why You’ll Love This Easy Soup Recipe
Homemade minestrone is cozy and comforting, perfect for winter but just as satisfying in the summer! Here’s why you’ll love it:
Easy. This one-pot minestrone soup is quick, easy to make, and miles better than the canned stuff. It’s perfect for slurping up for lunch or dinner. Plus, homemade soup stores well and tastes great the following day!
Cozy and nutritious. This might look like any other vegetable soup, but I promise you, minestrone is far from it! It’s filled with healthy veggies, comforting pasta in a zesty tomato broth, and a salty kick from the bacon. Good for the body and the soul!
Use up leftovers. I love making soups whenever I have an abundance of seasonal vegetables in my crisper drawer. Minestrone is the best way to use up the ingredients you have on hand.
What is Minestrone Soup?
Minestrone soup is a hearty Italian vegetable soup, but not all vegetable soup is a minestrone! Classic minestrone soup is a variation of veggie soup bulked up with pasta and white beans in a tomato-based broth.
There isn’t really a set recipe. In addition to pasta and beans, most minestrone recipes contain staples like onions, carrots, and tomatoes. You can make it using any veggies that are in season! I also toss in some smoky bacon, but it’s just as easy to make a vegetarian minestrone by leaving it out.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Who’s ready to make some minestrone?! Here’s what you’ll need to prepare this easy spin on an Italian favorite. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for a full ingredient list and detailed instructions.
Vegetables: Diced yellow onion and carrots for an aromatic base, plus sliced zucchini.
Herbs: In addition to seasoning the soup with salt and pepper, we add freshly minced garlic, fresh thyme leaves, and bay leaves for depth of flavor.
Canned Tomatoes and Vegetable Broth: You’ll need diced tomatoes and your choice of vegetable stock or broth. I recommend low-sodium broth so that the soup doesn’t come out too salted.
Pasta: You can make minestrone soup with any type of soup pasta you’d like. I use whole wheat ditali pasta, a larger version of ditalini.
White Beans: Cannellini beans or another variety like navy beans or red kidney beans all work great in this recipe.
Spinach: We’ll wilt in some fresh baby spinach leaves to add a nice pop of green.
Parmesan: Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Bacon: Before I even start the soup, I saute diced bacon in the pot for a hint of smokiness. For vegetarian minestrone, simply skip the bacon.
How to Make Minestrone Soup
With your minestrone ingredients ready for the pot, this easy soup comes together quickly on the stovetop:
Saute. First, saute the bacon with a splash of olive oil. Once cooked through, add the carrots, onions, zucchini, garlic, and herbs to the pot. Season with salt and pepper, stirring while the veggies soften slightly.
Combine and simmer. Stir in the canned tomatoes, broth, and toss in a bay leaf. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and leave it to simmer. After 15 minutes, add in your dry pasta. Continue to simmer for a few minutes longer, until the noodles are tender.
Add beans and spinach. Finally, stir in the beans and wilt in the baby spinach leaves. Give your soup a final seasoning to taste.
Serve. Take the pot off the heat, pluck out the bay leaf, and let the soup rest for a few minutes before ladling it into bowls. Give each bowl a sprinkle with parmesan and, presto! Coziness in a bowl.
Tips for Success
Trust me when I say that this classic vegetable soup recipe is nearly impossible to mess up! That’s the beauty of one-pot soup recipes. Here are some final tips for making the best homemade minestrone soup:
If your soup is on the thicker side, add additional vegetable broth to help thin it out a little.
If you don’t have fresh vegetables on hand, feel free to make your minestrone soup with frozen veggies instead.
Make this soup a day ahead. Seriously. Minestrone soup is delicious when served fresh from the stove, but it’s even better the next day! Making this soup ahead of time allows all the flavors to mingle and deepen overnight. See further on for storage tips.
I think one of the things I love most about minestrone soup (and homemade soup in general) is how easy it is to change up the ingredients depending on what’s in season. Soups are such perfect “clean out the fridge” meals, aren’t they? Here are some suggestions:
Different veggies. Make this soup with chopped celery, fennel, chopped green beans, and kale instead of spinach.
Fresh tomatoes. Trade out canned tomatoes for fresh diced tomatoes when they’re in season.
Different protein. Instead of bacon, saute sausage, beef, or chicken.
Grains. In place of pasta, make this recipe with long-grain rice, farro, or barley pearls.
Vegan. To make vegan minestrone soup, omit the bacon and make sure to use vegetable broth.
What to Serve With Minestrone Soup
I warming bowlful of minestrone soup is a meal all on its own, or you can round things out with your favorite sides. Try these side dish ideas:
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
Fridge: Allow your soup to cool completely, and then store any leftovers airtight in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. Reheating minestrone soup is as easy as adding it to a pot on the stovetop and warming it over medium-low heat until hot throughout.
Freezer: This soup freezes like a champ. Store the cooled leftovers airtight and freeze them for up to 2-3 months. Defrost the soup in the fridge and reheat it whenever you feel like a cozy, do-nothing dinner!
More Homemade Soup Recipes
Prep Time 15 minutesmins
Cook Time 40 minutesmins
Total Time 1 hourhr
1smallzucchini,halved longwise and sliced into half-moons
salt and freshly ground black pepper,to taste
3sprigsfresh thyme,leaves only
28ouncescanned diced tomatoes
1cupwhole wheat ditali pasta
15ouncescanned cannellini beans,drained and rinsed
Heat olive oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven set over medium heat.
Add the diced bacon and cook for 4 minutes or until starting to crisp up.
Add the onions, carrots, zucchini, garlic, and thyme; season with salt and pepper and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften.
Add the canned tomatoes, vegetable broth, and bay leaf; increase the heat and bring the soup to a boil.
Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes; add uncooked pasta and continue to cook until pasta is cooked and vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes.
Add the beans and spinach; continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until beans are heated through and spinach is wilted.
Taste the soup for salt and pepper, and adjust accordingly.
Remove from heat, discard the bay leaf, and let the soup stand for a few minutes.
Ladle into soup bowls, top with parmesan cheese, and serve.
Veggie Variety: Use chopped celery, fennel, green beans, and/or kale instead of spinach.
Fresh Tomato Twist: When in season, substitute canned tomatoes with diced fresh tomatoes.
Protein Swap: Saute sausage, beef, or chicken instead of bacon.
Grain Alternatives: Try long-grain rice, farro, or barley pearls instead of pasta.
Vegan Option: Skip the bacon and use vegetable broth for a vegan version.
Adjusting Thickness: Add extra vegetable broth if the soup is too thick.
Frozen Veggie Alternative: Feel free to use frozen veggies if fresh ones are unavailable.
Advanced Prep: The soup is even tastier when made a day ahead, allowing flavors to develop.
Storage Tips: Cool the soup completely; store leftovers in an airtight container for 4 to 5 days. Reheat on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
To Freeze: Store the soup in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for 2 to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge and reheat for a cozy dinner.
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