Easy Minestrone Soup

$5.96 recipe / $0.99 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.86 from 28 votes
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As we move from colder weather to warmer days, a good soup like Minestrone is a must. This hearty, vegetable-filled Minestrone Soup recipe is warm and soothing, but light enough to not make you feel weighed down as you’re out enjoying these beautiful days. Plus, this Easy Minestrone Soup ticks all of my Budget Bytes boxes: easy, inexpensive, flexible, and meal prep-friendly!

Close up overhead shot of vegetarian minestrone in the pot with a ladle

What is Minestrone Soup?

Minestrone is a hearty and rustic Italian soup that features vegetables, beans, and pasta and has a light broth flavored with a Parmesan rind. It’s super budget-friendly, naturally nutritious, and so easy to make. Our version is not traditional, as we’ve swapped more beans (chickpeas) for the pasta and left out the Parmesan to keep it vegetarian, but it’s still super filling and delicious!

Ingredients for Minestrone

Here’s what you’ll need to make this “souper” easy Minestrone Soup recipe:

  • Onion and Garlic: Sautéed onion and garlic give the soup a deliciously savory base flavor.
  • Olive Oil: Olive oil is used to sauté the vegetables and it gives the soup a little bit of body.
  • Vegetables: This soup features a medley of colorful vegetables like carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, and green beans. The vegetables give the soup tons of flavor, texture, and color to keep it exciting to both the eyes and the palate!
  • Beans: We use a combination of kidney beans and chickpeas for this interpretation of minestrone. We’ve used chickpeas to replace the traditional pasta, which tends to get mushy when the soup is stored and reheated.
  • Vegetable Broth: The broth for minestrone is made with a base of vegetable broth which combines with the juices from the tomatoes and fresh vegetables to create a deliciously complex flavor.
  • Tomato Paste: Tomato paste helps give the broth a little more richness and a punchy tomato flavor.
  • Italian Seasoning: We opted for an easy one-and-done Italian seasoning blend to keep this soup fast and easy enough for a weeknight meal.
  • Lemon Juice and Parsley: Adding lemon juice and parsley to the soup at the end creates a fresh top note to the flavor profile that brightens the soup up perfectly.

Where’s the Parmesan?

There are a lot of interpretations of Minestrone soup out there, but they often include a Parmesan rind to infuse more umami flavor into the broth. I didn’t have a Parmesan rind on hand so this particular recipe is a vegetarian minestrone. But by all means, if you have a Parmesan rind on hand and aren’t concerned about keeping the soup vegetarian, add it to the soup before it simmers! You won’t be disappointed.

Some people also add a little bit of meat to their Minestrone. Pancetta or bacon are great options (brown in the pot before adding the vegetables) for adding a touch more flavor.

Where’s the Pasta??

Minestrone soup traditionally has some sort of pasta or grain to make the soup extra hearty. Since pasta can get mushy when it swims around in soup for too long, I decided to avoid that issue and just sub some extra beans (chickpeas) to add that extra heartiness without having to deal with soggy pasta.

If you want to add some pasta to your minestrone, just choose any small shaped pasta like ditalini, small shells, or orzo. Add about 1 cup of the uncooked pasta and an extra 2 cups of water to the soup, then boil until the pasta is tender.

What Else Can I Add to Minestrone?

My favorite thing about Minestrone is that it is SUPER flexible. If you don’t like one or more of the vegetables in my recipe below, feel free to use one of these instead:

  • Celery
  • Sweet Potato
  • Russet Potato
  • Fennel
  • Turnips
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Butternut Squash
  • Peas

What to Serve with Minestrone

Minestrone soup is a true meal in a bowl and covers all of the bases on its own, but if you like to have a little something on the side I would suggest some hearty bread, like our no-knead bread, or maybe our Cheddar Drop Biscuits. A grilled cheese sandwich would probably also be awesome on the side!

Overhead view of a bowl of vegetarian minestrone with a spoon in the middle
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Easy Minestrone Soup

4.86 from 28 votes
This easy Minestrone Soup recipe is a hearty, budget-friendly meal full of vegetables and perfect for meal prep or weeknight dinners.
Overhead view of a bowl of vegetarian minestrone with a spoon in the middle
Servings 6 about 1.5 cups each
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 35 minutes
Total 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 4 carrots ($0.32)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste ($0.10)
  • 1 28oz. can diced tomatoes ($1.00)
  • 1 15oz. can kidney beans ($0.75)
  • 1 15oz. can chickpeas ($1.00)
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning ($0.30)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth ($0.52)
  • 1 zucchini (about 1/2 lb.) ($0.71)
  • 1 cup frozen green beans ($0.30)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice ($0.06)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley (optional) ($0.10)
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Instructions 

  • Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and slice the carrots. Add the olive oil, onion, garlic, and carrots to a large soup pot. Sauté over medium heat until the onions become soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the tomato paste to the pot and continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes more, or until the tomato paste begins to coat the bottom of the pot (do not let it burn).
  • Rinse and drain the kidney beans and chickpeas, and then add them to the pot along with the diced tomatoes (with juices), Italian Seasoning, and vegetable broth. Give everything a good stir, place a lid on top, and allow it to come up to a simmer. Allow the soup to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • While the soup is simmering, slice the zucchini into quarter-rounds. After the soup has simmered for 20 minutes, add the sliced zucchini and frozen green beans (no need to thaw first). Stir and simmer the soup for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the zucchini just begin to soften.
  • Finish the soup by adding lemon juice and chopped parsley. Give it a taste and add extra salt if needed (my soup did not need any extra salt, but it may depending on the type of broth used). Serve hot with crusty bread for dipping!

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Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cupsCalories: 313.55kcalCarbohydrates: 48.08gProtein: 14.1gFat: 8.55gSodium: 1008.55mgFiber: 11.32g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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Video

Overhead view of a pot full of vegetarian minestrone

How to Make Minestrone Soup – Step by Step Photos

Chopped onion, carrots, and garlic in a soup pot with olive oil

Dice one yellow onion, mince two cloves of garlic, and slice four carrots. Add the onion, garlic, and carrots to a large soup pot with 2 Tbsp olive oil and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).

Tomato paste in the pot with vegetables

Add 2 Tbsp tomato paste to the pot and continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes more, or just until the tomato paste begins to coat the bottom of the pot.

Beans, herbs, tomatoes, and broth added to the soup pot

Rinse and drain one 15oz. can of kidney beans and one 15oz. can of chickpeas. Add the beans to the pot along with one 28oz. can diced tomatoes (with juices), 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning, and 4 cups vegetable broth. Give everything a stir, place a lid on top, and allow it to come up to a simmer. Simmer the soup for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Sliced zucchini on a cutting board

While the soup is simmering, slice one zucchini (about ½ lb.) into quarter-rounds.

Zucchini and green beans added to the soup

Once the soup has simmered for 20 minutes, add the sliced zucchini and 1 cup frozen green beans (no need to thaw first). Stir everything together and let it continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes more, or until the zucchini just begins to soften.

Chopped parsley and lemon juice added to the soup

Finish the soup off with 1 Tbsp lemon juice and about a tablespoon of chopped parsley. Give the soup a taste and add salt if needed. I did not add any extra salt to my soup, but you may need some depending on the salt content of your broth.

Front view of a bowl full of vegetarian minestrone with a spoon lifting a bite

So much vegetable goodness!!

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Comments

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  1. Huge fan of this one. I adore home made minestrone soup and this hit perfectly on these cold winter nights we are having. Yum!

  2. Love the recipe and I love the way you broke it down To the very basics, including the prices, couldn’t be easier and look healthier and more yummy. Thank you so much

  3. This is one of my favorite soup recipes! I add a pound of ground turkey though (shrug). I also substitute the green beans for peas just because I’m not a fan of green beans in soup.

  4. I’ve been making this recipe about every other week to bring to work for lunch. Such a good recipe. I make changes to it such as adding sausage or other veggies and it is always great!

  5. This minestrone soup is the bomb! I subbed cannellini beans for the chickpeas and used frozen Italian green beans (the wide flat ones). I was hesitant to use the lemon juice, then was amazed at how it made the soup taste light and fresh. Not missing the pasta normally used in minestrone. This soup will also be good in the warmer months…

  6. Recipe was a hit with my family! I am a vegetable lover but some family not so much. They tastes this recipe and loved it! Paired with the crusty bread, just wow! We just made on a Friday, no leftovers and want a repeat today, Saturday!! And so budget friendly.

  7. This is one huge pot of serious soup.

    I also added in a couple of ribs of small dice celery along with the onions/carrots, three small russet potatoes small dice, and at the second simmer, about an eighth of a cup of quick pearled barley adding a small amount of water.

    Glad soup season is here!