Minestrone soup is a colorful Italian soup full of hearty vegetables and pasta! This recipe is an easy plant based dinner or lunch recipe.
Dinnertime can be difficult. So it’s often that Alex and I turn to this solution: soup! It’s the best way we’ve found to pack in healthy vegetables in a delicious and easy way. We have lots of vegetarian and vegan soup recipes here on A Couple Cooks, but we realized we were missing a classic: minestrone! This one is full of colorful veggies, a hearty broth and pasta spirals. It’s so satisfying: great as an easy dinner with crusty bread. And with a dollop of pesto…it’s damn good.
Got a pressure cooker? Go to our Instant Pot Minestrone.
What’s in minestrone soup?
Minestrone soup is a thick Italian soup that’s full of chunky vegetables and a hearty broth. Often minestrone includes pasta or rice. It was originally intended as a way to use up whatever veggies you have on hand. In our minestrone soup we’ve gone pretty classic, using the veggies you’ll most often see if you order a minestrone soup at a restaurant or buy it in a can. Here’s what’s in it:
- Tomatoes. Both fire roasted diced tomatoes and tomato paste are used here, to go big on the tomato flavor. Fire roasted tomatoes are uniquely sweet right out of the can: if you can’t find them, use the best quality tomatoes you can find.
- Onion, carrot and celery. These aromatic veggies are often used together to flavor foods; in Italian they’re called soffritto (and in French it’s called mirepoix).
- Zucchini, or 1 to 2 cups other veggies. Here’s where you can get creative: use 1 to 2 cups of other veggies you have onhand (like green beans, broccoli, etc).
- White beans. Cannellini beans add a good pop of plant based protein.
- Pasta. Pasta is traditional in minestrone: you can use any short pasta you like: fussili, spirali, radiatore, orechiette, ditali, farfalle, rotini, gemelli, etc.
Garnish with all the toppings!
What toppings go with minestrone soup? In some parts of Italy it’s traditional to serve minestrone in a special way. Serve this soup with pesto and it’s called Minestrone alla genovese. In Italian this means “minestrone soup from Genoa,” the capital of the region of Liguria Italy and where all the great pesto comes from! But you don’t have to use pesto: here are a few different ways to garnish minestrone:
- With fresh parsley. Minestrone is often traditionally served with fresh parsley, which adds a freshness and a bright green color.
- With Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese. You’ll often see Italian soups garnished with an aged cheese. Use Pecorino Romano to step it up, since it’s sharper and has an even more savory flavor.
- With pesto! Serve it alla genovese and add a dollop of pesto, which adds a pop of irresistible flavor. Use your favorite storebought pesto, or try our homemade basil pesto or vegan pesto.
Make it a meal: what to serve with minestrone soup!
Once you’ve garnished this minestrone soup, how to serve it? To us, it’s perfect accompanied by a salad with an Italian vibe. Here are a few salads that fit the bill:
- Easy Arugula Salad Baby arugula, lemon and Parmesan combine to make a zingy Italian salad (you don’t even need to make a dressing!).
- Favorite Chopped Salad This one will amaze everyone around the table! Homemade Italian dressing, crisp veggies and Parmesan cheese combine into one extraordinary salad.
- The BEST Kale Salad This kale salad is all Italian, tossed a lemon garlic vinaigrette and Pecorino shavings.
More Italian soup recipes
As you may have guessed, Alex and I love Italian cuisine! We traveled together to Rome, Naples, Amalfi Coast and Tellaro and picked up all sorts of food inspiration there. Traditional Italian pizza is our obsession (like this Margherita!), but soups fit more into our everyday way of eating.
If you like this minestrone soup, here are a few more Italian soup recipes you might enjoy:
- Vegetarian Tortellini Soup The definition of cozy in a bowl, this soup is easy to put together and its hearty flavor pleases everyone at the table!
- Italian Vegetable Soup with Gnocchi This one bursting with flavor and can be made in around 30 minutes, making it an easy weeknight meal.
- Tuscan Lentil Stew Here’s a cozy stew with kale, tomatoes and artichokes that’s full of Italian flavors.
This minestrone soup recipe is…
Vegetarian, plant-based, dairy-free, and vegan. For gluten-free, use gluten-free or legume pasta.