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This minestrone soup is a great Italian soup you can use for lunch or dinner. My recipe for how to make minestrone soup is simple, easy, and uses basic ingredients that any grocery store would have.
As is the case with many Italian soups, minestrone soup is flexible in which ingredients to add, making it a terrific soup for vegetarians and vegans alike. You can make it as healthy as you want… or not.
When you make minestrone soup, you may even enjoy it better the next day as leftovers for dinner or lunch since the flavors will blend even more. It goes great with a salad or pasta on the side along with some fresh authentic Italian bread, however you can check out my article here where I offer many more ideas for what to serve with minestrone.
What is Minestrone Soup
Minestrone soup is a warm, vegetable-based soup that is cooked with various chopped vegetables most notably carrots, celery, onion, tomatoes, garlic and green beans. It also contains common Italian herb seasonings.
It is not a blended soup, which means you simply chop everything and cook it together in a large pan or pot.
Minestrone is more common in the mid and southern parts of Italy vs the northern regions. The recipe I use is from my grandmother who migrated from the Lazio region which is located between Rome and Naples.
Is Minestrone Soup Healthy?
Typically, minestrone soup is healthy. It is not a cream-based soup so therefore won’t have the calorie laden ingredients from sources such as milk, cream and cheese often found in other soups.
Since it is not a cream based soup and has vegetables as its main ingredient, yes it is a healthy soup as long as you don’t load it up with bad fats and calories.
Is Minestrone Soup Vegetarian?
Minestrone soup is vegetarian as long as you don’t add any ingredients that contain meat such as beef or chicken broth. Some people will fry bacon and use it in the soup, however I do not do this. Some recipes will call for animal based broth for added flavor but this is not necessary.
Minestrone soup does not need to use meat and can easily be considered a vegetarian soup. The main ingredients for this delicious soup are vegetables, making it a perfect choice for vegetarians.
You can bulk it up with as many vegetables as you’d like and have a wonderful hearty dish. Serve with some bread for dipping as a great compliment.
Is Minestrone Soup Vegan?
Minestrone soup can be vegan by eliminating any animal or mammal products. Vegans only eat plant based foods and therefore to make a minestrone soup suitable for vegans, you need to ensure that only plant based foods are used.
If you wanted to make this soup vegan, than the most common ingredient you’d have to remove is cheese or animal based broth. Although cheese is not a main ingredient, it’s often used sprinkled on top of the soup for added flavor. If it were me, I’d just omit the cheese and proceed with the recipe.
What’s in Minestrone Soup?
One nice thing about minestrone soup is that you can be very flexible and creative with whatever vegetables you want to use based on what you like, or what you have on hand. This is common in Italian cooking and in previous generations where vegetables that were grown in the garden were added to the soup.
Whatever you had in season is what you used. My grandmother from Italy used whatever she had including noodles, beans and greens.
I keep mine more simple, limiting it to more vegetables and not adding meat as I’ve seen some do.
To make sure it’s still a hearty dish, you can bulk it up with at least some cannellini beans, or other white bean. If you start adding too many beans, you may end up making pasta fagioli soup!
Common ingredients found in this Italian minestrone soup are:
- Green beans
- Kidney beans
- White beans
- Pasta noodles such as ditolini or orzo, avoid thick or long pasta noodles
How to Make Minestrone Soup
If it’s hard or difficult, you can “fuh-get it“. This recipe is very easy.
This delicious soup doesn’t take long as a whole. You have the prep time of chopping all the ingredients about 20 minutes, and then letting the soup cook over low-medium heat for approximately 60 to 90 minutes.
However, the longer the better as more flavors can blend together which is a good thing. Too little time and it will be too watery.
My step by step instructions are below but in general you prepare the vegetables and then saute the vegetables in some olive oil for about 5 minutes over medium heat stirring frequently. Add them to a pot of boiling water or broth and cook over low-medium heat for 90 minutes.
If using pasta, cook separately and add to individual serving bowls. If using rice, add the rice after the soup is done and cook for 20 minutes longer. Stir in some cheese at the end or serve on the side to accommodate any vegans.
Minestrone Soup Recipe
A classic Italian minestrone soup recipe. Simple with simple ingredients and lots of flavor. Enjoy!
- 4-6 cups chicken or veggie broth or water if using water, add recommended herbs for flavoring
- extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large carrots chopped fine
- 2 large celery stalks chopped fine with the leaves
- 2-3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 onion chopped fine
- dash of salt and pepper
- 1 16 oz. canned chopped tomatoes or use fresh
- 1 16 oz. canned beans such as kidney or cannellini beans rinse beans before adding to soup
- 2 tsp parsley if using water instead of broth
- small noodles like orzo or ditolini cook separately and serve individually
- 3 Tbsp grated Romano or Parmesan cheese stir in at the end or serve on the side
Pour 2 Tablespoons or so of olive oil in saucepan and heat over medium heat.
Saute chopped vegetables until soft over low-med heat (about 10 minutes).
Add chopped celery and garlic and saute some more until fairly soft.
Add in the broth/water and your can of tomatoes. Use fresh tomatoes if you have them!
Add in your can of beans if using
Cook over Low heat for about 60 – 90 minutes
Cook noodles separately, drain and set aside if soup is not yet done. Add to individual soup bowls. Cooking noodles in with the soup will make the noodles too mushy unless you like it that way.
If using rice, add into the soup after the soup is done cooking and cook for 20 minutes longer or until rice is cooked.
Add any herbs towards the end of cooking the soup
Add cheese to soup or serve seperately
Tip #1: Noodles are not necessary. I like them because they bulk up the soup. However you can add cooked beans such as canned cannellini beans.
Tip #2: Sprinkle Romano cheese on top of soup for extra flavor and saltiness.
Side Dish Suggestions: Italian bread ( sourdough bread is good too) Italian Green Salad with Olive Oil Pasta such as angel hair
That is how you make minestrone soup. It is a deliciously simple soup with simple ingredients. It can be as complex as you’d like or as basic. The key to many soups is the quality of ingredients so keep that in mind. If you find the soup to runny or weak, add more herbs, a can of tomatoes or even tomato paste. Or add in a few more cans of beans.
I hope you enjoy!
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