Italian Minestrone Soup takes just 15 minutes prep time and is loaded with healthy vegetables and a rich, flavorful broth. It also freezes well!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made this Italian Minestrone soup, yet only recently started writing down the exact amounts of the ingredients I use. This is one of those “use whatever vegetables are lurking in your refrigerator” kind of recipes.
My mom makes what she calls “refrigerator soup” which is using up whatever she’s got in the fridge. Minestrone is similar in that the vegetables can be swapped for your favorites or simply what you want to use up.
What makes this the best Italian Minestrone soup?
- Just 15 minutes prep time
- Plenty of healthy vegetables
- It’s versatile: use up whatever vegetables you’ve got on hand
- It’s FAR better than anything you can buy at the store without any unwanted ingredients
- It freezes well
- It’s even better the next day!
How do you make minestrone soup from scratch?
Once your vegetables are prepped, saute the onion, carrots, then the garlic for about another minute. Add some tomato paste, oregano, and thyme and cook a few minutes more.
Add diced potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, broth, a couple of bay leaves, and some water. If you have a parmesan rind, add it now. Bring it all to a boil then simmer it for 15 minutes.
Add a small pasta, such as ditalini, along with a can of white beans, peas, and some chopped kale or spinach. Simmer that for about another 20 minutes.
For the final steps, you’ll add a little fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper, then taste the soup and add more salt if necessary. The lemon juice brightens the flavors and, while it can technically be omitted, is an important ingredient. Ladle into serving bowls and serve with grated parmesan cheese on the side. Parmesan crisps are also a nice touch for serving.
If you have an Instant Pot, you can use these directions for Instant Pot Minestrone Soup.
Is minestrone soup good for you?
Italian Minestrone Soup is loaded with vegetables and has very little saturated fat or calories. It’s fairly high in carbs so I wouldn’t eat it on a low-carb or keto diet, although the carbs can be greatly reduced by omitting the pasta and potatoes and replacing them with small cauliflower florets.
Omitting the beans will lower the carbs even further. The same goes for the carrots but they’re a crucial ingredient so only remove them if it’s absolutely necessary.
Can Italian Minestrone Soup be frozen?
Yes, minestrone can be frozen. Allow it to cool completely then pack it into airtight containers. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. It will also keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To reheat, place it in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir it occasionally until it’s hot. It can be placed in the saucepan directly from frozen or you can thaw it overnight in the refrigerator.
Tips and Variations for Italian Minestrone Soup
- You can add more or less liquid to this recipe depending on your preference. I prefer a heartier soup with less liquid, but you might like it with even more broth. Anywhere between 5-7 total cups of liquid (broth + water) is a good amount without the need to adjust the seasonings.
- Italian sausage is a wonderful addition if you’d like some meat added. I’ve made it with chicken breast, hamburger meat, and Italian sausage and enjoyed them all. My first choice is the sausage but try them all and see what you like best. Brown the sausage or hamburger meat, remove it with a slotted spoon, drain off the grease, then proceed with the recipe as usual. Add the sausage, hamburger meat, or cooked chopped or shredded chicken back into the recipe at step 4.
- This recipe calls for the rind from a wedge of Parmesan cheese. It’s optional but adds a lot of flavor. Instead of throwing them away, store your rinds in the freezer. You can add one straight from the freezer to any soup for a boost of flavor.
- Swap the vegetables for your favorites! Leeks, parsnips, fennel, green beans, yellow squash, and butternut squash are all delicious.
What to serve with Italian Minestrone Soup
- A nice loaf of crusty bread is really all you need!
- Take it a step further with some stuffed garlic bread.
- A salad is another obvious choice. Keep it simple with a balsamic vinaigrette and a mix of fresh baby spinach and spicy arugula. Maybe a fresh tomato or two!
- Although you can add meat directly to minestrone (see tips above), it’s also wonderful served as a side with grilled chicken or beef.
- Use the leftovers as a topping for baked potatoes.
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled (chopped or sliced)
- 2 celery ribs (chopped or sliced)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 1 cup peeled and diced potatoes
- 1/2 cup diced zucchini
- 2 14.5-oz cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained (regular is also fine)
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 parmesan cheese rind (optional but recommended)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/8 - 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup ditalini or any other small pasta, such as conchigliette (small shell pasta)
- 1 15-oz can white beans
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 2 cups chopped kale (or baby spinach)
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp coarse salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for topping
- Heat a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the oil and, when it's shimmering, add the onion, carrots, and celery to the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for one minute, stirring occasionally.
- Add the tomato paste, oregano, and thyme to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the potatoes, zucchini, diced tomatoes, broth, water, parmesan rind (if using), and bay leaves to the pot. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat and allow it to cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the red pepper flakes, pasta, beans, peas, and kale (or spinach) to the pot. Simmer for about another 20 minutes, or until the pasta is tender.
- Stir in the lemon juice, salt and pepper, then taste and add more salt if necessary. Ladle into bowls and serve with grated parmesan cheese on the side.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 331Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 986mgCarbohydrates: 53gFiber: 12gSugar: 10gProtein: 14g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.