Minestrone soup is so hearty it can stand on its own as the main dish! I fell in love with minestrone at the Olive Garden, so this is a pretty darn close attempt at copying the classic Italian soup.
Minestrone soup is not just tasty, it’s healthy as well! The delicious tomato-y broth is chock-full of vegetables and beans. It’s the perfect dish to serve to kids who are finicky with eating produce.
Made in one-pot, healthy minestrone is a great option for a quick weeknight dinner as the weather starts to cool off and the kids gear up to go back to school. Sometimes knowing that I will have a quick clean-up is enough to motivate me to make a homemade dinner… just sayin’.
What is Minestrone Soup?
Minestrone is an Italian soup known for its thick tomato-based broth. It can be made with pasta or rice, and typically contains carrots, tomato chunks, kidney beans, celery, onions and potatoes. However, the creation of this soup came from a need to use up leftover vegetables. So, feel free to use any veggies that are taking up space in your refrigerator. Or, alter the recipe to whatever is fresh and in season. Seriously, you can’t go wrong!
Tips for Minestrone Soup
- Make Gluten-Free Minestrone Soup – Have gluten allergy? No problem! Substitute the pasta for wild or white rice.
- Make Minestrone Soup Spicy – Like it spicy? Add some red pepper flakes to your minestrone for the perfect touch of heat.
- Make Minestrone Soup Vegan – Easily make your minestrone vegan by using egg-free noodles (or rice!) and a vegetable-based broth. One of my new favorite products is Better Than Bouillon’s No Beef Base broth concentrate.
- Switch up the Vegetables You Use – Minestrone is extremely versatile. If you don’t have the exact ingredients this recipe calls for, don’t worry! You can use red or yellow zucchini, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, butternut squash, broccoli, cauliflower… I mean, anything! The broth compliments any vegetable. Use what you have and don’t let anything go to waste.
- Noodles Make Broth Disappear! – Noodles are notorious for sucking up liquid. As your leftover minestrone sits in the fridge, you may notice that your noodles are slowly absorbing your broth. If this is a problem for you, add more broth to the soup.
Storing Minestrone Soup
- Keeping Minestrone Soup Fresh – Store your minestrone soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. The kicker? Minestrone gets tastier as it marinates in the fridge. That’s right…each bowl you reheat will taste richer and richer.
- Freezing Minestrone Soup – You probably know by now that I am the queen of having frozen, homemade food on hand. However, I would discourage you from freezing minestrone. The reason is that this soup contains fresh vegetables.
Serving the Minestrone Soup
Some freshly grated parmesan cheese is the perfect garnish for minestrone. After all, that’s what they do at Olive Garden! It wouldn’t hurt to add some chopped basil or cracked pepper to the mix.
Like I said before, minestrone is a stand-alone kind of soup. However, there is nothing like sopping up that hearty broth with nice piece of bread. Try making my Parmesan Garlic Flatbread Recipe or No Knead Bread.
Other Soup Recipes to Make
- 2 medium carrots (diced into small cubes)
- 2 small zucchinis (diced into small cubes)
- 1/2 large onion (diced into small cubes)
- 6 celery stalks (diced into small cubes)
- 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
- 32 oz vegetable broth
- 15 oz canned great Northen beans (drained)
- 15 oz canned Kidney beans (drained)
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tbsp dry basil
- 1/2 cup noodles
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups water
- Preheat the pot with olive oil, add zucchini, carrots, celery and onions. Sautee for about 10 minutes, until vegetables soften.
- To the pot, add canned diced tomatoes. Season with Italian seasoning and dry basil.
- Add vegetable broth, noodles, kidney and Great Northen beans. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Depending on the thickness of the soup, you can add 2 more cups of water to the mix.
- Press garlic into the mixture and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Serve while the minestrone soup is still warm.