Homemade Minestrone Soup is loaded with veggies, along with beans, pasta, tomatoes, fresh herbs, and smoky bacon. This classic Italian vegetable soup is perfect for keeping you cozy and full!
I’ve been on a bit of a soup bender lately. It started with this roasted tomato soup, and it led to this nourishing and flavorful homemade minestrone soup. This classic recipe combines tender garden veggies, beans, and pasta in a tangy tomato broth with fresh herbs and salty bacon.
Why We Love Minestrone Soup
- Easy. This one-pot soup is quick, easy to make, and way better than the canned stuff. It’s perfect for lunch or dinner.
- Cozy and nutritious. Packed with classic veggies, pasta, zesty tomato broth, and bacon, this meal is good for the body and the soul!
- Use up leftovers. Minestrone is the best way to use up the ingredients you have sitting in a crisper drawer.
What Is Minestrone Soup
- Minestrone is a hearty Italian vegetable soup, but not all vegetable soup is a minestrone! Classic minestrone soup is a variation of veggies bulked up with pasta and white beans in a tomato-based broth. There isn’t a set recipe. In addition to pasta and beans, most minestrone recipes contain staples like onions, carrots, and tomatoes, and you can make it using any veggies that are in season. I also toss in some smoky bacon, but it’s just as easy to make it without.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Vegetables: Diced yellow onion, carrots, and sliced zucchini.
- Herbs: In addition to salt and pepper, we add freshly minced garlic, fresh thyme leaves, and bay leaves for depth of flavor.
- Canned Tomatoes and Vegetable Broth: You’ll need diced tomatoes and your choice of vegetable stock or broth.
- Pasta: You can make minestrone soup with any type of pasta you’d like. I use whole wheat ditali pasta, a larger version of ditalini.
- White Beans: Cannellini beans or another variety like navy beans or red kidney beans.
- Spinach: Fresh baby spinach leaves add a nice pop of green.
- Parmesan: Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
- Bacon: Before I even start the soup, I saute diced bacon in the pot for a hint of smokiness. For vegetarian minestrone, simply skip the bacon.
How to Make Minestrone Soup
- Saute. First, saute the bacon with a splash of olive oil. Once cooked through, add the carrots, onions, zucchini, garlic, and herbs to the pot. Season with salt and pepper, stirring while the veggies soften slightly.
- Combine and simmer. Stir in the canned tomatoes, broth, and toss in a bay leaf. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and leave it to simmer. After 15 minutes, add in your dry pasta. Continue to simmer for a few minutes longer, until the noodles are tender.
- Add beans and spinach. Finally, stir in the beans and wilt in the baby spinach leaves. Give your soup a final seasoning to taste.
- Serve. Take the pot off the heat, pluck out the bay leaf, and let the soup rest for a few minutes before ladling it into bowls. Give each bowl a sprinkle with parmesan and, presto! Coziness in a bowl.
Recipe Tips And Variations
- If your soup is on the thicker side, add more vegetable broth to help thin it out a little.
- If you don’t have fresh vegetables on hand, feel free to make the soup with frozen veggies instead.
- Make this soup a day ahead. Minestrone is delicious when served even the next day! Making this soup ahead of time allows all the flavors to deepen overnight.
- Different veggies. Use chopped celery, fennel, chopped green beans, and kale.
- Fresh tomatoes. Trade out canned tomatoes for fresh diced tomatoes when they’re in season.
- Different protein. Instead of bacon, saute sausage, beef, or chicken.
- Grains. In place of pasta, make this recipe with long-grain rice, farro, or barley pearls.
- Vegan. To make vegan minestrone soup, omit the bacon and make sure to use vegetable broth.
A warming bowl of minestrone is a meal all on its own, but fluffy dinner rolls or skillet biscuits are always welcome. A Caesar salad is a classic side for soup. Or, make this fresh Mediterranean-inspired tomato burrata salad. For something heartier, give my antipasto salad with grilled chicken a try. Pair with a side of roasted sweet potatoes and parsnips or roasted artichokes. Try this creamy dill chicken salad sandwich or a grilled pizza and this keto spin on a classic pizza Margherita.
Storing and Reheating Leftovers
Store leftovers in an airtight container and keep the soup in the fridge for 4 to 5 days or freeze it for 2 to 3 months. Reheating minestrone soup is as easy as adding it to a pot on the stovetop and warming it over medium-low heat until heated through.
Homemade Soup Recipes
- Beef Barley Soup
- Creamy Tortellini Soup
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Cabbage Soup
- Meatball Soup
- Lentil Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 slices bacon, diced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 3 large carrots, diced
- 1 small zucchini, halved longwise and sliced into half-moons
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
- 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup whole wheat ditali pasta
- 15 ounces canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
- freshly grated parmesan cheese, for garnish, optional
- Heat olive oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven set over medium heat.
- Add the diced bacon and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until starting to crisp up.
- Add the onions, carrots, zucchini, garlic, and thyme; season with salt and pepper and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften.
- Add the canned tomatoes, vegetable broth, and bay leaf; increase the heat and bring the soup to a boil.
- Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes; add uncooked pasta and continue to cook until pasta is cooked and vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes.
- Add the beans and spinach; continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until beans are heated through and spinach is wilted. Taste the soup for salt and pepper and adjust accordingly.
- Remove from heat, discard the bay leaf, and let the soup rest for a few minutes. Ladle into soup bowls, top with parmesan cheese, and serve.
- Storage: Cool the soup completely and store leftovers in an airtight container for 4 to 5 days or freeze it for 2 to 3 months. Reheat on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.