Authentic Italian Minestrone Soup

Updated: Jan 5th, 2024 · By Bethany Kramer
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Learn how to make amazing Italian minestrone at home with this classic recipe! A delicious tomato broth fills each spoonful with bite-sized vegetables, beans, and pasta. It’s hearty, richly flavored, and warms you from the inside out!

Two bowls with minestrone soup in them. The two bowls are displayed on a wooden background with bread on a plate, a small bowl of chopped herbs, and a gray napkin placed around the one bowl.

There is nothing like a bowl of Italian minestrone on a cold winter day! This soup was my favorite growing up, and since then, I’ve been testing this recipe over the years to perfect it. The result is a richly flavored soup that is loved by all!

This hearty vegetable soup is an Italian classic. Everyone has their version, which is why this soup is so beloved – there’s no right or wrong way to make it. It originated with the intent for poorer families to use all they had to put into the soup – from fresh or leftover vegetables and herbs to pantry staples like beans and pasta. This soup is rustic Italian cooking at its finest!

In traditional minestrone, the soup base (sofrito) is made with onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Beyond that, other add-ins can be tomatoes, potatoes, beans, leafy greens, and herbs! This soup was intended to be vegetarian, but you’ll find many Italians love to add pancetta too! There are many other ingredients you can use. See our recipe variations below for how to make it your own.

I’ll always remember making this soup for my dad and him saying it was his favorite soup growing up too. So, with that in mind – this one is for you, Dad. ❤️

Recipe Highlights

A BELOVED ITALIAN CLASSIC. Minestrone is one of the most famous Italian soups! And for good reason. This classic recipe is comforting, richly flavored, and one that many Italians grow up knowing and loving!

FULL OF WHOLESOME VEGGIES. One of the many reasons I love this soup is how rich it is in good-for-you vegetables—making it incredibly nourishing and wholesome!

EASY TO ADAPT. There is no “right way” to make this soup. It’s effortless to adapt and make your own, using whatever vegetables you prefer and mixing it up with different herbs! It’s a catch-all type of soup, which is why it’s so beloved.

Key Ingredients

The ingredients in minestrone are typically a blend of fresh produce and pantry staples! It’s rustic and easy to adapt to whatever you have on hand. Below is a list of needed ingredients, plus some ingredient swaps!

Ingredients for minestrone soup displayed on a wooden background.

See the recipe card below for the complete ingredient list and measurements.

Onion – yellow onion adds a sweet, aromatic flavor to the broth and soup.
Garlic – fresh garlic is essential for any Italian soup to achieve deep flavor. You can use garlic powder, but fresh cloves are best!
Carrots – for sweetness and color.
Celery – a must to include in soups such as this one. It adds beautiful aromatic flavor!
Potatoes – to make the soup hearty and satisfying. The potatoes also add starch to the soup, which helps naturally thicken it. Be sure to cut them small so they cook in time!
Tomatoes – minestrone is typically made with tomatoes. We like to use diced, but you can also use crushed tomatoes, or if you prefer no chunks, you can use pureed tomatoes.
White beans – Traditional minestrone uses borlotti beans (Roman beans), but I like cannellini or navy beans – any of those three types work! I like to leave half the beans whole and puree the other half to add richness and a natural thickness to the soup! Seriously, the pureed beans are a game-changer for this soup.
Tomato paste – to help thicken the soup.
Broth – for the liquid in the soup. I like to use quality store-bought vegetable broth or homemade broth!
Kale – to add some healthy greens to the soup! You can also use spinach instead.
Pasta – minestrone is typically served with pasta. We like to use shell-shaped pasta or bite-sized noodles to make the soup easy to eat!
Herbs – to add fresh flavor to the soup we like to use fresh basil, oregano, and rosemary! And red pepper flakes for a little heat.
Parmesan rind – using a rind from a parmesan cheese block is a secret ingredient many Italians use to infuse rich flavor into soups and stews. It’s an ingredient we highly recommend for this soup!

How to Make Italian Minestrone Soup

  1. 1

    Sauté the vegetables. First, sauté the diced onion, celery, and carrots in olive oil with a generous pinch of salt until soft (about 4-5 minutes).

  2. 2

    Add the tomatoes, beans, ect. Then add the white beans, pureed white beans, diced tomatoes, beans, potatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, rosemary sprig, salt, red pepper flakes, and the parmesan rind.

A collage of two photos showing how to make minestrone soup. The first photo is step 3 showing the broth being poured into a cast iron pot with white beans and tomatoes. The second photo is step four showing the pasta noodles being added to the soup.
  1. 3

    Simmer the soup. Stir ingredients together and gently simmer the soup partly covered for 25-30 minutes. Stir occasionally while it simmers.

  2. 4

    Cook the pasta, then add the kale. Next, add the dried pasta and cook until “al dente” in texture (about 10 minutes). Then add the chopped kale and let it cook in the hot soup for a few minutes, then serve with additional fresh basil and parmesan cheese. If the soups sits longer with the pasta, keep in mind the pasta will begin to absorb a lot of the liquid. Add more broth as needed and adjust the salt level if needed!

Recipe Variations

Best pasta shapes for minestrone. If you add pasta to minestrone, it’s best to use a bite-sized shape. We recommend small shells, ditalini, macaroni, conchiglie (pictured in this recipe), or even small tortellini.

Add more vegetables. This soup can be made with just about any vegetables you like! You can also use zucchini, string beans, spinach, cabbage, butternut squash, broccoli, cauliflower, lentils, and leeks.

Add meat. Even though minestrone is traditionally made vegetarian (with the exception of a parmesan rind), many Italians love to add pancetta! If you want to add this, it can be browned in the pan with olive oil before making the sofrito. Then add the veggies to be sauteed in with the pancetta (and the fat for flavor).

Different beans you can use. As noted above, traditional minestrone uses borlotti beans. You can use them, or we like to use a tender white beans such as cannellini, navy, or even garbanzo beans!

Make it gluten-free. To make this recipe gluten-free, replace the pasta with lentils or use your favorite gluten-free pasta. We like the brand jovial or using chickpea pasta!

Make it dairy-free. If you don’t have a parmesan rind or want to make this recipe dairy-free, you can leave out the parmesan rind.

Special Tips for Success

Fresh herbs are ideal! I recommend using fresh basil, oregano, and rosemary for the best results because they will have the brightest flavor. If that’s not an option, I recommend using fresh basil and rosemary! The oregano can be dried. The rosemary should be fresh because the sprig is used to infuse flavor and then is removed at the end.

Don’t skip the parmesan rindIt’s a must-try. Adding a parmesan rind to soups and stews is a treasured secret I’ve learned from many Italian cooks. It adds the deepest flavor to every soup I use it in, and it is a must-try if you have them available. An authentic parmesan rind (typically has the seal on it for authenticity) will not melt in the soup but soften, infusing incredible umami flavor into your recipe. Special note: since I use so much parmesan cheese, I save the rinds in a sealed bag in my freezer so they are ready to use whenever I make recipes like this! Always save your rinds.

How to Store & Freeze Leftover Soup

Keep leftovers fresh: minestrone can stay fresh for up to 5-7 days when chilled. We recommend refrigerating it in an airtight container to keep it fresh!

Freezing tips: to freeze this soup, I like to store it in a freezer-friendly bag (with the air removed) and place it flat. This saves a lot of space in the freezer too! You can also freeze it in an airtight, freezer-friendly container. We recommend freezing it for 2-3 months.

How to reheat after freezing: when you’re ready to reheat the soup, let it thaw at room temperature or place it in a water bath to speed up the thawing process. Add the soup to a pot and reheat. You might need to add a splash of broth in case the pasta has absorbed some of the liquid.

A close up of a bowl of minestrone soup in it. Around the bowl of soup is a plate with pieces of bread on it, a small bowl of chopped fresh herbs, and a gray napkin placed next to the bowl.

Serving Options

This soup is very hearty and filling all on its own. But if you’d like to pair it with some sides, here are some things we suggest!

Bread. Minestrone and bread are like peanut butter and jelly! We love serving this soup with homemade or store-bought sourdough or bread like our rosemary garlic bread. You also can’t go wrong with a crusty Italian loaf!

Pizza. Pizza is our second option if we aren’t serving this soup with bread! Try our 10-minute naan pizza for a no-fuss recipe, or this crispy cast iron pizza for a better-than-takeout option.

Salad. Make it a soup and salad combo with one of our Italian or Mediterranean salads, such as our Tuscan artichoke salad, go-to Greek chickpea salad, or Panzanella salad.

Slow Cooker Instructions

If you want to skip making this soup on the stovetop, simmer it in a slow cooker.

How to: add everything to the slow cooker (but leave out the pasta and the kale). Set the slow cooker on LOW for 5-8 hours or 3 hours on HIGH. Cover and let it cook, adding the pasta and kale for the last 30 minutes – time will vary depending on what shape/brand/or type of pasta you use. Serve when the pasta is al dente in texture!

More Italian Soups We Love

If you love minestrone, you might also enjoy our pasta e fagioli, cannellini bean soup, Tuscan kale & chickpea soup, pasta e ceci, or this Tuscan white bean soup.

Authentic Italian Minestrone Soup

5 from 8 votes
Learn how to make amazing Italian minestrone at home with this classic recipe! A delicious tomato broth fills each spoonful with bite-sized vegetables, beans, and pasta. It's hearty, richly flavored, and warms you from the inside out!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2-3 medium carrots (skin on or off)
  • 1-2 yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 28 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes (or 2 small 14 oz cans)
  • 2 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 parmesan cheese rind
  • 1 cup dried pasta
  • 2 cups chopped kale or spinach

Seasonings

Instructions

  • Prepare vegetables: Peel skin off onions and garlic. Mince the garlic into small pieces and chop onions, carrots, and celery into diced pieces. Then peel potatoes and cube into 1-inch thick pieces.
  • Blend half the beans: transfer half the beans (or one 15 oz can) to a blender and blend until they are mostly pureed. You can use some of the broth for the soup to help the beans blend.
  • Make the sofrito: In a large pot or Dutch oven, sauté the onion, celery, and carrot in olive oil with a pinch of salt until soft, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Simmer with broth, tomatoes, and seasoning: In the same pot as vegetables, add the broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, diced potatoes, white beans, the blended white beans, a pinch of red pepper flakes, fresh basil, oregano, salt & black pepper, rosemary sprig, and parmesan rind. Stir together and partly cover. Let the soup gently simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the pasta, then the kale: Finally, add the dried pasta and cook for 10 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Stir in the chopped kale and cook in the hot soup for several minutes. Before serving, taste the soup, and adjust with additional salt if needed, then serve with extra fresh basil and parmesan cheese if desired.
    Note: If the soups sits longer with the pasta, keep in mind the pasta will begin to absorb a lot of the liquid. Add more broth as needed and adjust the salt level if needed! The broth should cover the tops of the vegetables and pasta.

Notes

Slow Cooker Instructions
If you want to skip making this soup on the stove top, you can also simmer it low and slow in a slow cooker.
How to: add everything to the slow cooker (but leave out the pasta and the kale) you can also skip the oil since you don’t need to sauté anything. Set the slow cooker on LOW for 5-8 hours, or for 3 hours on HIGH. Cover and let it cook, adding the pasta and kale for the last 30 or so minutes – time will vary depending on what shape/brand/or type of pasta you use. Serve when the pasta is al dente in texture!

 

Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword Italian minestrone soup, vegan minestrone soup, vegetarian minestrone soup
Freezer Friendly Yes
Author Bethany Kramer

Nutrition

Calories: 280kcal | Carbohydrates: 50.2g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 5.8g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 1076.9mg | Sugar: 11.5g | Vitamin A: 25IU | Vitamin C: 32mg

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18 Comments

  • Vickie says:

    A great recipe! I used garbanzo beans and no pasta. I will definitely make it again.

    • Bethany Kramer says:

      Thank you so much, Vicki! Makes me happy to hear you enjoyed it. 🙂 Glad you could modify it to your liking too!

  • Natalie says:

    5 stars
    Incredibly delicious! This soup is so hearty and tasty. I subbed a can of whole san marzano tomatoes that I crushed myself instead of the fire roasted tomatoes and it’s one of the best soups i’ve ever had!

    • Bethany Kramer says:

      That’s such a compliment. Thank you so much, Natalie! The addition of san marzano’s was probably delicious too. 🙂 So happy you enjoyed it so much!

  • Margaretkorczak says:

    I found that the potatoes did not cook on simmer, lengthened the time of simmer .

  • Sam says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious, never made minestrone before glad I chose your recipe to go with xx

  • Cheryl says:

    5 stars
    Awesome soup, especially on a cold, rainy day.

  • Cheryl says:

    5 stars
    Awesome soup, especially on a cold, rainy day. So glad to find this.

  • Dawn says:

    5 stars
    Delicious 🤤

  • Kimberly says:

    Great soup. My grandmother is from Sicily. We lived in NJ & NY also. Lots of cooking in our families trying to do one better. Lots of fun & wonderful memories.

  • Andy says:

    5 stars
    This is really the best minestrone soup I have ever tasted. Just a word to the wise, these are 6 ample servings. I made a double batch. I am glad this soup freezes well! 🙂

    • Bethany Kramer says:

      Thank you, andy! I’m so thrilled to hear that. 🙂 And yes, the servings are quite hearty lol

  • Albertina says:

    5 stars
    This is a fantastic soup and one of the best recipes that I have ever tried!

  • Allison says:

    5 stars
    I’m not sure how I got signed up for your news letter, but I’m so glad I did. I haven’t followed a blog before, let alone a cooking one, and I feel like your stuff is all so beautiful and all actually do-able! I’m very excited to try this soup! Thank you so much!

    • Bethany Kramer says:

      Thank you so much, Allison! I’m so so pleased to hear that. It’s my goal to make these recipes as simple and “do-able” as possible so thank you 🙂 So happy you found yourself here. Reach out anytime if you need anything!