Vegetarian minestrone soup is made with fresh vegetables in a rich flavorful tomato broth and gets its heartiness from the addition of small pasta and buttery beans. Make a big batch for the an easy weeknight dinner and meal prep for the week!
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Homemade Minestrone Soup Recipe
Vegetarian minestrone soup is a hearty soup chock full of vegetables that can be flexible depending on what you’ve got in your fridge or whatever is in season. It’s made with tomato broth and is bulked up with pasta, chickpeas, and beans. No need for meat because this soup provides a ton of heartiness and protein as is!
This hearty Italian soup is easy to make with healthy, fresh, and simple ingredients. It’s perfect for a fuss-free vegetarian dinner and is the best when served with garlic bread for soaking up all that yummy broth.
Sometimes when we don’t speak a language we look for a literal translation of a word. It appears as though there is no direct English translation for the Italian word Minestrone, it simply means thick vegetable soup. And that’s exactly what this classic Minestrone soup is!
- Veggies & Aromatics: Sliced carrots, sliced celery, chopped onion, and minced garlic. Try your best to chop and slice everything to a similar size.
- Tomato paste & Diced tomatoes: Gives the broth a delicious tomato flavor and the chunks of diced tomatoes add to the texture of the soup. The tomato paste helps to intensify the tomato flavor and helps to thicken the liquids just a bit.
- Vegetable broth: Homemade or store-bought broth can be used. Low sodium or regular, it’s up to you. If using low sodium, consider adding a bit of salt to taste.
- Beans: Chickpeas and great northern beans both drained and rinsed.
- Seasoning: I use dried Italian seasoning which consists mostly of oregano, thyme, rosemary, and basil. You can also add a bay leaf if you’d like and discard it once the soup is ready.
- Pasta: I use ditalini pasta just because I like tiny pasta that won’t overpower the rest of this vegetarian minestrone soup.
- Olive oil: For sautéing the veggies to bring out their flavors. Use any cooking oil you prefer.
1. Other veggies to throw in there could be diced potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, zucchini, green beans, mushrooms, red bell pepper, etc.
2. Use orzo, pearl barley, penne, elbow macaroni, small shells, fusilli, or bowtie pasta instead of ditalini.
3. Add leafy greens like spinach, kale, Swiss chard, or collard greens for added nutrients.
4. Omit the tomato paste if you prefer a more subtle tomato flavor in your vegetarian minestrone soup.
5. You can use chicken broth instead, just remember it’s no longer vegetarian.
6. Use red kidney beans or other white beans like cannellini beans or white kidney beans, or a combination of a few different kinds.
7. To make it gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta or substitute white or brown rice instead.
7. Sprinkle red pepper flakes in for a little spice.
Add in a few sprigs of fresh herbs like fresh basil.
How to Make this Easy Minestrone Soup Recipe
This recipe will come together in just a few simple steps and 11 minutes of prep time. In under 1 hour, you’ll have a soup even better than the one you get at Olive Garden!
Step 1: Sauté the onion, celery, and carrots in olive oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the veggies are soft and translucent. I like to do this directly in the large soup pot or Dutch oven I’ll be using to make the soup.
Step 2: Next, add the garlic and tomato paste and cook for another minute.
Step 3: Add the vegetable stock, diced tomatoes, chickpeas, beans, Italian seasoning, and optional bay leaf. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil.
Step 4: Toss in the cooked pasta and cook according to the directions on the box. Approximately 8 minutes for ditalini, give or take depending on whether you want it al dente or not. Remember it will continue to cook in the heat.
Step 5: Remove the bay leaf, and serve with a side of crusty bread, Parmesan cheese, and a squirt of lemon juice if desired!
How to make this Minestrone Soup in the Slow Cooker or Instant Pot
This soup is easy to make in a slow cooker or instant pot. Follow the instructions below for each.
In the slow cooker, add all the ingredients EXCEPT the pasta and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours. Then aadd in the pasta and cook for an additional 25-30 minutes.
In the Instant Pot, add all the ingredients INCLUDING the pasta, seal the top and cook on Manual high or Soup mode for 5 minutes. Then natural release for 5 minutes then manual release immediately.
- Use canned beans to make life easier. It helps when making this during the busy week!
- To avoid mushy pasta, it’s helpful to cook it separately. That way you can cook it to al dente and keep it that way. The pasta absorbs liquid the longer it sits in it.
- If you plan to freeze a portion of the soup, you definitely want to cook the pasta separately. Do not add it to whatever you are freezing.
- Use fire-roasted tomatoes for a depth of delicious flavor!
The major difference is that minestrone has the addition of pasta and beans! It’s basically a vegetarian version of pasta fagioli, another Olive Garden fave!
Store leftover soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If you are going to freeze it, place it in a freezer-safe container for up to 2-3 months. Do so before adding the pasta. Otherwise, the pasta will get mushy.
Thaw it in the fridge overnight and add the pasta separately.
A single bowl can be reheated in the microwave. If you have a few servings to reheat, use a pot on the stove top over medium-low heat.
A few ways to add even more flavor would be to add a Parmesan rind into the broth as it cooks. Discard before serving. You can also roast the tomatoes (or any veggies) ahead of time, and adding some Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce for a bit of that umami flavor can also boost the richness of this vegetarian minestrone soup.
Vegetarian Minestrone Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 large carrots peeled and sliced
- 2 celery stalks sliced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 15 ounces diced tomatoes 1 can
- 15 ounces chickpeas 1 can drained
- 15 ounces great northern beans 1 can drained
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 bay leaf optional
- 8 ounces ditalini pasta
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, add the olive oil, onion, celery, and carrots and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft and the onion is translucent2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 large onion, 2 large carrots, 2 celery stalks
- Next, add in the garlic and tomato paste and cook for an additional minute.4 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Add in the broth, diced tomatoes, chickpeas, beans, Italian seasoning, and the bay leaf if using.4 cups vegetable broth, 15 ounces diced tomatoes, 15 ounces chickpeas, 15 ounces great northern beans, 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning, 1 bay leaf
- Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the soup to a boil
- Add in the pasta and cook according to the directions on the box (approximately 8 minutes for ditalini).8 ounces ditalini pasta
- Remove the bay leaf prior to serving.
Nutritional facts are estimates and are provided as a courtesy to the reader. Please utilize your own brand nutritional values to double check against our estimates. Nutritional values are calculated via a third party. Changing ingredients, amounts or cooking technique will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.
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