Vegetarian Minestrone Soup is your ultimate comfort food! Hearty and flavorful, this dish makes for a quick lunch or weeknight dinner for the whole family!
This time, I am doing something Italian! Include this recipe in your regular menu rotation at home along with my other Italian recipes like Penne Alla Vodka, Chicken Alfredo, and Lemon Chicken Piccata!
Minestrone Soup Recipe
Vegetarian Minestrone Soup was exactly the first thing that I thought of when I opened my fridge early this morning. I have a surplus of vegetables waiting to be discarded but I just cannot allow that!
This recipe is perfect in cases like that. This traditional Italian dish is a great solution to cook leftover vegetables and hence, there is no exact recipe for it. People simply use what they already have on hand. Isn’t it practical?
Aside from being practical, this dish is nutritious without being bland. It is full of healthful veggies, grains, and sometimes meat. For this recipe though, we are aiming for the traditional vegetarian version.
And historically, the ancient Romans prepared this with veggies like celery, beans, and carrots, just like what we will use as well. So, with this recipe, you get to have a warm and delicious meal, no food waste, and lots of leftovers.
What is the difference between minestrone and vegetable soup?
Minestrone is a kind of vegetable soup but not all vegetable soups can be considered a minestrone. Minestrone is thick as it could have rice or pasta in it which is not the case for most vegetable soups.
How to make Minestrone Soup
- Sauté: In a Dutch oven, sauté the onions in olive oil.
- Add the veggies: Add the garlic along with the firm vegetables first and season with the herbs and salt. Add the tomato paste, too. When these have softened already after a few minutes of stirring, add in the tomatoes, juice, and broth, beans, peppers, and bay leaves.
- Boil: From medium heat, raise the temperature to medium-high until the soup boils while being partially covered. Then, reduce to a simmer.
- Add the pasta: After a few minutes, uncover and add in the pasta. Let the pasta cook until tender and so are the greens.
- Add the spinach: Add the spinach, and cook for no longer than 5 minutes.
- Season: Turn off the heat, discard the bay leaves, and add some lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve: Garnish with parmesan, then, serve warm.
- Meat: You can add meat like sausages, bacon, or pancetta if you like to add protein.
- Broth: Feel free to use beef or chicken broth in place of the vegetable broth if you are not strictly following a vegetarian diet.
- Thickener: While this recipe uses beans and pasta to absorb the liquid, you can use potatoes, too.
- Herbs: Use rosemary, basil, and coriander as alternatives to oregano and thyme.
- Pasta: Any short pasta will do. Even broken spaghetti can be used.
- More options: Other great additions are mushrooms, wine, and your favorite cheeses other than parmesan.
How to Store:
- Refrigerate: This dish lasts for up to 4 days in the fridge. Simply keep it in an airtight container once cooled completely.
- Freeze: This makes for a great freezer meal. Simply put it in freezer bags, squeeze out the air, and lay flat in the freezer. It will keep for up to 6 months.
- To reheat: Thaw it in the fridge overnight then, reheat on the stove.
- Sometimes the veggies get too mushy as you cook the pasta. What you can do is to cook the pasta beforehand to lessen the cooking time of the rest of the ingredients.
- Serve it with your favorite bread or pizza!
- Another option in preparing this sumptuous meal is this Instant Pot Minestrone recipe.
Vegetarian Minestrone Soup
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (divided)
- 1 yellow onion (chopped)
- 5 cloves garlic (pressed or minced)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 medium carrots (peeled and chopped)
- 2 ribs celery (chopped)
- 1 medium zucchini (chopped)
- 2 cups butternut squash (chopped)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes (with juice)
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup green beans (or sweet peas)
- 1 can (15 ounces) pink beans (rinsed and drained)
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup small shell pasta (or elbow)
- 2 cups baby spinach (fresh)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated for garnish - optional)
- Chopped parsley (for garnish)
- Place a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chopped onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the garlic, carrot, celery, zucchini, butternut squash, tomato paste, dried oregano, dried thyme and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often for about 10 minutes, or until the veggies softened.
- Add the diced tomatoes with the juices and the vegetable broth.
- Add the green beans, pink beans, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and stir.
- Lastly, add the bay leaves.
- Increase heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil, then partially cover with the lid, leaving about a 1” gap and reduce heat to low-medium for a gentle simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove the lid and add the pasta and simmer uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until the pasta is cooked al dente and the veggies are tender. If needed add more broth.
- Fold in the spinach and cook for 3-5 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat, and discard the bay leaves.
- Stir in the lemon juice and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
- Serve warm, garnished with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.