Vegetarian Minestrone Soup
on Oct 18, 2021, Updated Feb 09, 2024
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With a wonderfully herby tomato broth, this easy vegetarian minestrone soup is hearty and full of green beans, kidney beans, kale and pasta. It’s seasoned with minced garlic and dried spices including rosemary and oregano. You can make it in just 30 minutes.
For another tomato and bean soup, try this Tuscan white bean soup recipe.
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Why You’ll Love This Recipe
My minestrone is the perfect combination of fresh and pantry ingredients. It has canned tomatoes and red kidney beans along with green beans and kale.
This soup is fantastic for meal planning. Making a giant batch of soup that will last through the week is always on my Sunday to-do list during the fall and winter months. Then I am set with lunch and/or dinner no matter how hectic things inevitably get in the days ahead.
Classic minestrone soup is filling and full of nutrition. I have a rotation of soup recipes with tomato broths packed with vegetables and protein in the form of beans.
Is Minestrone Just Vegetable Soup?
Minestrone is a kind of vegetable soup, but it has more than veggies in its broth. Along with Italian seasoning, it has beans and pasta.
On its own or with a piece of crusty artisan bread, minestrone soup is satisfying and can be the kind of vegetarian main that will stick to your ribs. I don’t think twice about serving it as a main for lunch or dinner.
The Best Pasta Shape for Soups
Don’t overwhelm the veggies and beans with big pasta. Small to medium pasta shapes make sense because they are appropriately sized for a spoon. Try small shells, orecchiette or ditalini.
Also, I always cook the pasta in a separate pot and add it to the soup as I divide it into bowls to serve. This is the best way to avoid soup with soggy noodles.
This is what you need:
- Onions, carrots & celery are known as mirepoix. This combination acts as a flavor base in lots of soups and sauces.
- Olive oil: The onions, carrots, celery and garlic sauté in olive oil.
- Garlic: Once the onions, carrots and celery start to soften and turn translucent, I add 2 minced cloves.
- Dried seasonings: I use a mix of dried rosemary and oregano along with salt and pepper.
- Crushed tomatoes: The recipe calls for a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes.
- Vegetable broth: For soups, I always prefer low-sodium vegetable broth because I want to control the seasonings, especially salt. You can use chicken broth if you’re not trying to keep it vegetarian.
- Kidney beans: For this soup, I like kidney beans. You can swap them out for white beans such as cannellini beans.
- Green beans: To go with the canned beans, I also add fresh green beans sliced into half-inch pieces.
- Kale: When the soup has nearly finished simmering, I stir in the chopped greens. This is one of my favorite ways to add another nutritious veggie to soups. You also can use spinach instead.
- Pasta: Small to medium pasta shapes such as shells or orecchiette work best because of their size compared to the vegetables and beans.
- Parsley: I finish each bowl of soup with chopped fresh herbs.
- Parmesan: Also, I like to sprinkle on shaved Parmesan. You can also simmer with soup with a Parmesan rind. If you want it vegan, skip the cheese or use vegan parmesan.
How To Make Vegetarian Minestrone Soup
1. Sauté the onions, carrots and celery. Warm the oil in a large pot, and then add the veggies and cook them until they start to soften, about 4 minutes.
2. Add the minced garlic and spices including dried rosemary, oregano, salt and pepper, giving them a minute to turn fragrant.
3. Pour in the tomatoes, vegetable broth and kidney beans. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
4. Add the green beans and kale and continue simmering for 5 minutes, letting the greens wilt. While the soup is simmering, cook the pasta in a separate saucepan until al dente. Divide the soup into bowls. Add the pasta and top with chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese.
Packed with beans and veggies, this minestrone soup recipe eats like a meal on its own. If you do want something to with it, I always love a hunk of bread, bonus points if it’s garlic bread. And even better if it’s something Italian like ciabatta or focaccia.
Try serving it with a simple arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette. You could also make a grilled cheese sandwich if you want a little something more. Rather than cheddar, use a mix of asiago, provolone and mozzarella.
Storage & Freezing
You can store the soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Always keep the soup and pasta separate.
I like reheating the soup in a saucepan over low heat. When the soup is almost hot enough to eat, add in the cold pasta to warm for a couple minutes in the broth.
To store the soup longer, keep it in the freezer. If you want, you can freeze the soup up to 1 month. Just make another batch of pasta when you’re planning to eat it. Thaw the soup in the fridge or at room temperature and then reheat it on the stove or in the microwave.
You can simmer the soup with a Parmesan rind. I save my rinds in a bag in the fridge. They add nice umami when you throw one into Italian soups and homemade tomato sauces.
Do not cook the pasta in the soup. As mentioned, it’s best to simmer the pasta in a separate pot. They you won’t risk it becoming too soft.
If you freeze leftovers, don’t freeze any pasta. Plan on making a fresh batch of pasta when you thaw the soup and reheat it.
Just use gluten-free pasta.
Either leave out the cheese or use plant-based vegan parmesan.
Red pepper flakes are a simple way to add some heat and spice. I recommend adding a pinch to 1 teaspoon with the rest of the dried spices.
Try These Other Italian Soup Recipes
Vegetarian Minestrone Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, roughly chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1-28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1-15 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup trimmed green beans, cut 1/2-inch long
- 1 cup chopped kale
- 3 ounces small to medium pasta, shells, orecchiette, ditalini
- Shaved Parmesan and chopped parsley for serving
- In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions, carrots and celery until they start to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary, oregano, salt and pepper and continue cooking until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the tomatoes, vegetable broth and kidney beans. Bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the soup thickens slightly. Add the green beans and kale. Continue cooking for 5 minutes until the kale wilts.
- In a separate small saucepan, cook the pasta according to package instructions until al dente.
- Divide the soup into bowls, adding pasta and garnishing Parmesan and chopped parsley.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.