This Italian Minestrone Soup is an incredibly hearty soup, loaded with a variety of fresh veggies, protein-rich beans, and red lentil pasta. This soup is wholesome, extremely flavorful, and appropriate for various dietary needs.
Enjoy a warm bowl of this vegetarian minestrone soup with your favorite croutons, bread, or crackers. This is not very important anyway as this veggie-loaded soup is very fulfilling on its own!
- Vegetables - carrot, spinach, brown onion, green peas (or beans), zucchini, celery, and diced tomatoes are all common vegetarian minestrone soup ingredients but feel free to add in any other vegetables that you love the most. Seasonal vegetables will always taste the best!
- Beans - I’ve used white beans (such as cannellini beans and Great Northern beans) and red kidney beans (light or dark red kidney beans) in this minestrone soup. The canned beans add convenience but you can use dried beans that will need to be soaked in water overnight.
- Oil - Any cooking oil can be used such as vegetable oil or canola oil.
- Garlic - Mince your garlic from whole garlic cloves or use store-bought minced garlic.
- Vegetable broth - Choose a low sodium broth or vegetable stock if you need to reduce salt intake. Chicken broth can also be used if you don't need this minestrone soup recipe to be a vegetarian dish.
- Vegetable juice - V8 juice works very well here but you can also use a good quality tomato juice instead. Also great flavor!
- Pasta - To make this soup gluten-free, I’ve used red lentil fusilli pasta (for an extra boost of protein) but you can also use gluten-free pasta instead. Red lentil pasta has no gluten and cooks very fast, it will also turn yellow after cooking, almost like your regular pasta. I find that small pasta works better for this soup without interfering with any other ingredient's flavor.
- Italian seasoning - I love to use a premixed blend of various herbs, but you can use whatever 1-2 dried herbs you have on hand (basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, cilantro).
- Red chili flakes - Add more for an extra kick of spicy flavor.
- Brown sugar - Adds depth of flavor and intensifies all the flavors. You only need a little here, white sugar will not work as well as brown sugar.
- Bay leaves - Add the bay leaves whole, not crushed. 2 medium leaves is enough.
- Salt and black pepper - To taste.
- Water - Add as much liquid as you need depending on the consistency of soup you desire.
- Parmesan cheese for serving for nonvegetarians 🙂
For the full list of ingredients, please scroll down where you'll find the recipe card.
Heat up a medium dutch oven or heavy bottom large pot over medium heat. Add oil and once it's hot saute celery, carrots, and onion. Season generously with salt and pepper. Saute 2-3 minutes and add garlic. Saute for 3 minutes more.
Follow with zucchini, Italian seasonings, and red pepper flakes. Saute for 2 minutes.
Follow with red and white beans, crushed tomatoes, pasta, bay leaves, vegetable juice, veggie broth, and water. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until pasta is al dente.
Stir in the fresh spinach and peas (or fresh green beans). Remove from heat and let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Serve as is or with fresh herbs like fresh rosemary or fresh basil, and parmesan cheese for the nonvegetarian version, or sprinkle on some nutritional yeast.
- Don’t overcook the pasta. It should be cooked al dente otherwise you risk it becoming a mushy consistency. It's one of the reasons why I don't add cooked pasta to the soup. Pasta should go in with the beans, but if not sure add it even later and simmer until it's cooked al dente.
- Turn this vegetarian minestrone soup into a meaty dish by adding some cubed beef, cooked crumbled bacon, shredded chicken, shredded turkey, pulled pork, or chopped ham to the mixture.
- While possible to use frozen vegetables for this minestrone soup, try to use fresh ingredients as they will always provide a better flavor to the soup.
- The soup is very versatile! Pumpkin, squashes, potatoes and sweet potatoes can be added or swapped with other ingredients, just use whatever veggies you have left in the fridge for too long.
- This soup can be made in an Instant Pot. First saute the onion, carrot, celery, and zucchini with garlic in the Instant Pot for about 5 minutes, and then add in the broth, tomatoes, beans, peas, and seasoning. Add the dried pasta and spinach on top and cook on HIGH for 5 minutes. When the timer goes off, apply for the Quick Release.
Freezing and Storing Instructions
Storing. As with any of my recipes, I recommend making as much as you'd consume within 1-2 days maximum. The first day is better of course and you get the most nutrients out of the ingredients you use.
However, I do understand it is not possible with many people so please keep the soup refrigerated and tightly sealed for a maximum of 3-4 days.
Freezing. If you need to freeze the soup, it will become very thick and you can loosen it up with vegetable broth, vegetable juice, or water when reheating (after thawing at room temperature or in the fridge).
Yes, it is. This soup is vegan-friendly, dairy-free, and gluten-free.
Absolutely! Simply omit the pasta and serve this soup alongside a leafy green salad. You may also want to reduce the beans (white and red kidney beans) and increase the low-carb vegetables in this dish.
Vegetable soup merely contains vegetables whereas a minestrone soup is much more hearty, usually including beans and pasta.
Minestrone is a traditional Italian soup that’s thick and packed with wholesome vegetables, often including a starch such as rice, pasta, or both! Minestrone soup is extremely versatile, making it very easy to adapt to suit your family’s preferences.
Thank you so much for reading about this Italian Minestrone Soup recipe. Please feel free to comment with any questions you may have! I love reading your feedback.
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Italian Minestrone Soup
- 1 large carrot sliced
- 3 cups fresh spinach leaves
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 small brown onion medium diced
- ½ cup green peas or green beans (fresh or frozen)
- 1 small zucchini diced
- 1 can 15 oz crushed or fire roasted tomatoes
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 ½ teaspoons italian seasonings
- ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes or more for added spicy flavor
- ½ teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 ½ cup white beans
- 1 can 15 oz red kidney beans
- 1 cup your favorite tubular pasta
- 2-3 stalks fresh celery
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 ½ cup vegetable juice or good quality tomato juice
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 or more cups of water depending on the consistency you like
- 2-3 tablespoon cooking oil
- Heat up a medium dutch oven or heavy bottom large pot over medium heat. Add oil and once it's hot saute celery, carrots, and onion. Season generously with salt and pepper. Saute 2-3 minutes and add garlic. Saute for 3 minutes more.
- Follow with zucchini, Italian seasonings, red pepper flakes. Saute for 2 minutes.
- Follow with red and white beans, crushed tomatoes, pasta, bay leaves, vegetable juice, veggie broth and water. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Stir in the fresh spinach and peas (or fresh green beans). Remove from heat and let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.
- Serve as is or with fresh herbs like fresh rosemary or fresh basil, and parmesan cheese for the non vegetarian version or sprinkle on some nutritional yeast.
My daughter shared her Vegetarian Minestrone soup over on her gluten-free recipe site a while ago and it has been a reader's favorite ever since.