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Hearty, healthy, and satisfying, this easy Minestrone Soup is a delicious vegetarian lunch or dinner recipe to keep you cozy on chilly days. Full of beans, vegetables, and pasta, this version of the classic Italian dish is even better than Olive Garden’s. Serve it with garlic bread, focaccia, breadsticks, or cheddar chive beer bread, for a comfort food meal that the whole family will love!

Overhead shot of hands eating a bowl of minestrone soup with parmesan on top.

Olive Garden Minestrone Soup

Minestrone soup is a thick soup of Italian origin, made with vegetables such as onions, carrots, tomatoes, and celery, and often beans, pasta, or rice. There’s no single Italian recipe for minestrone, and instead you’ll find different versions throughout the country, depending on the region, the season, and the individual cook’s preferences. It’s one of those dishes that you can make with just about any vegetables that you have on hand!

Adding a bowl of chopped vegetables to a white Dutch oven

Olive Garden, the Italian-American restaurant chain, popularized this soup in the United States. My friend Monica shared this recipe with me years ago, and it’s been a staple in our cool-weather meal routine ever since. It’s her version of an Olive Garden minestrone soup copycat recipe, and we think it’s even better than the restaurant’s!

Pouring broth into a pot.

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a pot of easy minestrone soup. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Olive oil: to sauté the vegetables.
  • Onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, green beans, and garlic: fresh vegetables that add so much flavor and texture to the soup.
  • Vegetable broth: the base of the soup. You can substitute with chicken broth if you’re not looking for a vegetarian meal.
  • Kidney beans and small white beans: any beans will work here, so pick your favorites. Other good options include chickpeas, red beans, pinto beans, or cannellini beans.
  • Fire-roasted diced tomatoes: provide a hint of smokiness to the soup, which makes it taste like it’s been simmering on the stovetop all day. You can substitute with regular diced tomatoes, if necessary.
  • Parsley: provides a touch of bright green color and freshness.
  • Oregano, basil, and thyme: additional herbs that give the soup earthy, Italian flavor.
  • Salt and pepper: season the soup to taste, since the total amount of salt necessary will depend your personal preference, as well as on the saltiness of the broth that you use.
  • Pasta: pick a small shape such as ditalini, small shells, or even broken pieces of spaghetti. The pasta cooks right in the pot of soup, so there’s no need to boil it separately.
  • Baby spinach: stir the leaves into the soup at the very end. They will instantly!
Adding ditalini pasta to a white Dutch oven.

How to Make Minestrone Soup

This soup comes together easily on the stovetop with just one pot!

  1. Sauté the vegetables and garlic in olive oil until soft.
  2. Add the broth, tomatoes, beans, and herbs. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the pasta and cook until al dente, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add fresh spinach, parsley, and lemon juice just before serving.
  5. Ladle into bowls and garnish with Parmesan and fresh herbs.
Close up side shot of two bowls of minestrone soup

What to Serve with Vegetarian Minestrone Soup

Serve this hearty and healthy vegetable soup with any of these delicious sides:

Dipping bread in a bowl of soup.

Preparation and Storage Tips for Classic Minestrone Soup

If you’d like to prepare a batch of the soup in advance, I recommend making the soup through Step 5 (do not add the pasta). Cool the broth and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

When ready to serve, bring the soup to a simmer, add the pasta, and follow the rest of the recipe.

Leftover soup will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month; however, cooked pasta may be mushy when frozen and reheated.

How to Reheat

Warm leftovers in a covered saucepan over low heat, just until heated through. Do not overcook or the pasta will become mushy.

You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.

Square side shot of minestrone soup in bowls on a table

Recipe Variations

  • Use just about any veggies that you have on hand. Other good options include sweet bell peppers, diced potatoes, or even butternut squash.
  • Try other fresh or dried herbs. Additional options include fresh rosemary and chives. A bay leaf is also a great addition to the broth.
  • Just about any beans will work in this soup. Try cannellini beans, red beans, or garbanzo beans.
  • Chicken broth is a fine substitute for the vegetable broth if you don’t need a vegan meal.
  • You can also add cooked, diced chicken, turkey, ham, or sausage to the soup for a heartier flavor and texture.
  • Instead of spinach, use chopped fresh kale. The kale will need longer in the broth to become tender, so add it with the pasta (or shortly after).
Hands holding a bowl of easy minestrone soup.

Tips for the Best Minestrone Soup Recipe

  • Simmer the soup with a Parmesan cheese rind for even more flavor in the pot. Remove the rind before serving.
  • Don’t overcook the noodles or they will become mushy in your soup. Add them to the pot just before you’re ready to serve.
  • The total cooking time for the pasta will depend on the size and shape that you choose. Ditalini typically needs about 10-15 minutes in the simmering broth, but keep an eye on it and turn off the heat when the pasta is just barely tender. It will continue to soften and plump up as it sits in the hot soup.
  • Add the spinach just before serving, since the delicate leaves will wilt almost immediately when they hit the hot broth.
  • Taste and season as you go. The total amount of salt necessary will vary depending on the saltiness of your broth, and on personal preference. Add extra salt for more flavor, and feel free to increase the other herbs and seasonings as well.
  • Garnish each bowl with plenty of grated Parmesan cheese for the best flavor. Extra fresh parsley or other herbs are also a delicious finishing touch.
Overhead image of a bowl of olive garden minestrone soup with bread on the side.

More Soup Recipes to Try

Overhead shot of hands eating a bowl of minestrone soup with parmesan on top.

Easy Minestrone Soup

5 from 4 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 9 cups
Calories 150 kcal
Hearty, healthy, and satisfying, this easy Minestrone Soup is a delicious vegetarian lunch or dinner recipe to keep you cozy on chilly days.

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot (or 2 small carrots), peeled and diced
  • 1 large stalk celery (or 2 small stalks celery), diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • ½ cup fresh cut green beans (or substitute with frozen cut green beans)
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, NOT drained
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15.5 oz) can small white beans (or navy beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (or use 2 teaspoons fresh oregano)
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil (or use 1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh basil)
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme (or use ¾ teaspoon fresh thyme leaves)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup ditalini pasta (or other small pasta shape such as orzo, stars, or mini shells)
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • For serving: grated Parmesan cheese; additional chopped fresh herbs

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, and green beans. Sauté until the vegetables are starting to soften and the onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Stir in vegetable broth, diced tomatoes and their juices, kidney beans, white beans, oregano, basil, and thyme.
  • Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce the heat and gently simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes.
  • Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper.
  • Add pasta, and continue simmering the soup for about 10-15 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente (just barely tender). Remove from the heat.
  • Stir in spinach leaves and fresh parsley just before serving. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, if desired.
  • Ladle into bowls and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and additional fresh herbs.

Notes

  • Simmer the soup with a Parmesan cheese rind for even more flavor in the pot. Remove the rind before serving.
  • Don’t overcook the noodles or they will become mushy in your soup. Add them to the pot just before you’re ready to serve.
  • The total cooking time for the pasta will depend on the size and shape that you choose. Ditalini typically needs about 10-15 minutes in the simmering broth, but keep an eye on it and turn off the heat when the pasta is just barely tender. It will continue to soften and plump up as it sits in the hot soup, and you don’t want it to be mushy or overdone.
  • Add the spinach just before serving, since the delicate leaves will wilt almost immediately when they hit the hot broth.
  • Taste and season as you go. The total amount of salt necessary will vary depending on the saltiness of your broth, and on personal preference. Add extra salt for more flavor, and feel free to increase the other herbs and seasonings as well.
  • Garnish each bowl with plenty of grated Parmesan cheese for the best flavor. Extra fresh herbs are also a delicious finishing touch.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 150kcalCarbohydrates: 24.4gProtein: 7.6gFat: 3.2gSaturated Fat: 0.5gSodium: 735.6mgFiber: 6.8gSugar: 4.7g
Keyword: easy minestrone soup, minestrone soup, olive garden minestrone soup, Vegetable Soup
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in September, 2014. It was updated in January, 2022.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. Hi Blair, this looks delicious! I love Minestrone soup and love all the veggies in this one, the wagon wheel pasta is a fun idea, will give this a try!

  2. Another great-looking soup Blair! I’m collecting up a whole new soup menu from you for this fall! 🙂 Thank you for sharing. Pinned and sharing later today on my FB page.

  3. I love minestrone soup and this one looks delicious! Pinning this so I can make it later this fall and winter. Found you at Whimsy Wednesdays.

  4. 5 stars
    Morning, Blair,
    I saw your fabulous soup at Miz Helen’s and just had to come see more Such yummy ingredients and flavours and beautiful photography! Thanks for a great recipe 🙂

  5. I loooove soup. This looks amazing. It’s raining cats and dogs here and supposed to all weekend. Soup would hit the spot. And, wagon wheels!!!! Love! 🙂

  6. I love minestrone soup but have never made it myself, will definitely be trying this recipe now!1 Thank you so much for linking up at Tasty Tuesday! Your recipe has been pinned to the Tasty Tuesday Pinterest board! Please join us again this week!

  7. 5 stars
    I loooove Fall & I loooove soup!! This is the perfect combination. 🙂 I am totally pinning for later bc I am just waiting for those crisp fall days so I can have soup for lunch and not broil. haha

    Thanks for linking up with the Merry Monday Link Party!

  8. This minestrone soup looks delicious! I love soup when the weather cools off…this one looks awesome! Thanks for sharing!

  9. This looks like a delicious soup, yum! Thanks for linking up to Sweet and Savoury Sunday, stop by and link up again. Have a great day!!