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Minestrone soup is a colorful Italian soup full of hearty vegetables and pasta! This recipe is an easy plant based dinner or lunch recipe.

Minestrone soup
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Dinnertime can be difficult. So it’s often that Alex and I turn to this solution: soup! It’s the best way we’ve found to pack in healthy vegetables in a delicious and easy way. Such is the case with this Italian classic: minestrone! It’s full of colorful veggies, a hearty broth and pasta spirals. It’s so satisfying: great as an easy dinner with crusty bread. And with a dollop of pesto…it’s darn good.

Got a pressure cooker? Go to our Instant Pot Minestrone.

Minestrone soup

What’s in minestrone soup?

Minestrone soup is a thick Italian soup that’s full of chunky vegetables and a hearty broth. Often minestrone includes pasta or rice. It was originally intended as a way to use up whatever veggies you have on hand. In our minestrone soup we’ve gone pretty classic, using the veggies you’ll most often see if you order a minestrone soup at a restaurant or buy it in a can. Here’s what’s in it:

  • Tomatoes. Both fire roasted diced tomatoes and tomato paste are used here, to go big on the tomato flavor. Fire roasted tomatoes are uniquely sweet right out of the can: if you can’t find them, use the best quality tomatoes you can find.
  • Onion, carrot and celery. These aromatic veggies are often used together to flavor foods; in Italian they’re called soffritto (and in French it’s called mirepoix).
  • Zucchini, or 1 to 2 cups other veggies. Here’s where you can get creative: use 1 to 2 cups of other veggies you have onhand (like green beans, broccoli, etc).
  • White beans. Cannellini beans add a good pop of plant based protein.
  • Pasta. Pasta is traditional in minestrone: you can use any short pasta you like: fussili, spirali, radiatore, orechiette, ditali, farfalle, rotini, gemelli, etc.
Minestrone soup

Garnish with all the toppings!

What toppings go with minestrone soup? In some parts of Italy it’s traditional to serve minestrone in a special way. Serve this soup with pesto and it’s called Minestrone alla genovese. In Italian this means “minestrone soup from Genoa,” the capital of the region of Liguria Italy and where all the great pesto comes from! But you don’t have to use pesto: here are a few different ways to garnish minestrone:

  • With fresh parsley. Minestrone is often traditionally served with fresh parsley, which adds a freshness and a bright green color.
  • With Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese. You’ll often see Italian soups garnished with an aged cheese. Use Pecorino Romano to step it up, since it’s sharper and has an even more savory flavor.
  • With pesto! Serve it alla genovese and add a dollop of pesto, which adds a pop of irresistible flavor. Use your favorite storebought pesto, or try our homemade basil pesto or vegan pesto.

Got parsley to use up? Try more of our Best Parsley Recipes.

Kale salad

Make it a meal: what to serve with minestrone soup!

Once you’ve garnished this minestrone soup, how to serve it? To us, it’s perfect accompanied by a salad with an Italian vibe. Here are a few salads that fit the bill:

  • Easy Arugula Salad Baby arugula, lemon and Parmesan combine to make a zingy Italian salad (you don’t even need to make a dressing!).
  • Perfect Italian Salad This one will amaze everyone around the table! Homemade Italian dressing, crisp veggies and Parmesan cheese combine into one extraordinary salad.
  • The BEST Kale Salad This kale salad is all Italian, tossed a lemon garlic vinaigrette and Pecorino shavings.
Easy minestrone recipe

More Italian soup recipes

As you may have guessed, Alex and I love Italian cuisine! We traveled together to Rome, Naples, Amalfi Coast and Tellaro and picked up all sorts of food inspiration there. Traditional Italian pizza is our obsession (like this Margherita!), but soups fit more into our everyday way of eating. If you like this minestrone soup, here are a few more Italian soup recipes you might enjoy:

This minestrone soup recipe is…

Vegetarian, plant-based, dairy-free, and vegan. For gluten-free, use gluten-free or legume pasta.

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Instant Pot minestrone soup

Easy Minestrone Soup

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4.8 from 5 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 1x


Minestrone soup is a colorful Italian soup full of hearty vegetables and pasta! This recipe is an easy plant based dinner or lunch recipe.


  • 1 medium onion (or leek)
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 celery rib
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 small zucchini squash (or 1 to 2 cups of other chopped vegetables)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 28-ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ teaspoon each dried oregano and thyme
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • ¾ cup pasta shells or spirals (gluten-free or legume pasta if necessary)
  • 3 cups baby kale (or spinach or other chopped greens)
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish
  • Optional topping: Parmesan cheese, basil pesto or vegan pesto


  1. Prep the vegetables: Peel and small dice the onion and carrots. Small dice the celery. Mince the garlic. Small dice the zucchini.
  2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and tomato paste, and cook for 5 to 6 minutes until the onions are just translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add the vegetable broth, tomatoes and juices, water, zucchini, bay leaf, white beans, oregano, thyme, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring it to a simmer, then cook 10 minutes on medium low.
  4. Add the pasta and cook until pasta is just al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the baby greens for a few seconds until wilted. (If you’re using tougher greens like mature kale, chop them and add them in the last 5 minutes of the cook time.)
  5. Remove the bay leaf. Add the remaining ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Taste and add fresh ground black pepper and more kosher salt to taste. Garnish with chopped parsley (or optionally add Parmesan cheese shavings or basil pesto or vegan pesto).
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Paulina says:

    Made it today but instead of pasta I used a box of Kite Hill tortellinis. I also used 3 carrots, a pretty hefty zucchini, and a pretty large yellow onion (I love vegetables).This was soooo good. My husband and I eat 2 meals a day with a small lunch so this was 2 very big servings. We were sloshy and very full but very happy. This recipe is getting bookmarked!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:


  2. Harmandeep Kaur says:

    Can I use kidney beans instead?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:


  3. Jennifer Schoner says:

    Do you drain and rinse the white beans? Wonderful, healthy & delicious soup!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Yes! Thank you for the comment.

  4. Robin York says:

    Have you ever tried using dry but soaked beans in the soup? I’m wondering if I need to cook them separately or if they’d cook in the soup

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      We haven’t tried it, but I would cook them separately. The flavors would dull here if you simmered too long.

  5. Karen Leslie says:

    Made it tonight and it is excellent, healthy and easy! I had all the ingredients on hand. Thanks!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      So glad you enjoyed!

  6. Erin says:

    Made it, I love it!!!

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Glad to hear it!

      1. Ane says:

        OMG this is fantastic! Made it today

        1. TJ says:

          I feel like the pasta amount was a little off but still really enjoyed.