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Contest-Winning Easy Minestrone

This minestrone soup recipe is special to me because it’s one of the few dinners my entire family loves. And I can feel good about serving it because it’s full of nutrition and low in fat. —Lauren Brennan, Hood River, Oregon
  • Total Time
    Prep: 25 min. Cook: 40 min.
  • Makes
    11 servings (2-3/4 quarts)


  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cans (8 ounces each) no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup uncooked whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 11 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese


  • In a large saucepan, saute the carrots, celery and onion in oil and butter until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
  • Stir in the broth, tomato sauce, beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, cabbage, basil, parsley, oregano and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add macaroni; cook, uncovered, 6-8 minutes or until macaroni and vegetables are tender.
  • Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with cheese.
    Freeze option: Before adding cheese, freeze cooled soup in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally and adding a little broth or water if necessary.

Minestrone Soup Tips

What goes with minestrone soup?

Crisp salads, a warm loaf of bread or fresh, Italian-inspired sandwiches like this basil-tomato grilled cheese are all tasty sides that go with minestrone soup. Also, be sure to check out these soup side recipes. They will turn your minestrone soup into a full-blown meal.

What is the difference between vegetable soup and minestrone soup?

When comparing these two types of soup, there are a few qualities to look out for. Minestrone soup is heartier than traditional vegetable soup. While minestrone contains similar vegetables to vegetable soup, the addition of pasta and beans makes it more filling. That being said, both are considered healthy recipe options, as they're under 200 calories per cup. Looking for a different spoonful? There are plenty more soup recipes to check out.

Can I add other vegetables to minestrone soup?

Yes, you can add other vegetables to minestrone soup. As one of our favorite vegetarian recipes, the more veggies the merrier. We recommend throwing in peas and zucchini for extra goodness.

How do you thicken minestrone soup?

You can thicken minestrone soup by adding 2-4 tablespoons of tomato paste. A larger amount of beans, cheese or other veggies can also help thicken the soup up.

How long does homemade minestrone soup last in the fridge?

You can keep minestrone soup in the fridge for up to a week. Or freeze minestrone if you'd like to enjoy it longer. Before adding cheese, cool the soup in freezer containers. Label and keep in the freezer for up to six months. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally and add a little broth or water if necessary. Enjoy!
Nutrition Facts
1 cup: 180 calories, 4g fat (1g saturated fat), 4mg cholesterol, 443mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 7g fiber), 8g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 1 lean meat.


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Average Rating:
  • JoanieK53
    Mar 23, 2020

    Delicious! Nice adding chopped or shredded zucchini.

  • Mary
    Feb 24, 2020

    Absolutely delicious! I will definitely make it again. I substituted spinach for the cabbage, cannellini beans for chick peas,added zucchini, and used ditalini macaroni. Thanks for posting this recipe.

  • Michelle
    Dec 2, 2019

    Superb! My husband and I were crazy over this soup, it tastes so savory delicious! I was happy I read the reviews and saw how people made substitutions. I knew my husband wouldn't eat it as it was, so I used two bags of frozen vegetables for soup that we like, substituted spinach for cabbage, and added two more cups of broth to make a huge pot of soup. It was awesome!!!

  • llheath
    Jun 11, 2019

    We happen to be great fans of the Olive Garden's minestrone soup. The only criticism of it is it's a little bit high on the sodium side. This recipe taste so much like what we enjoy at this great Italian restaurant. However, we can control the sodium content putting it together. ourselves. This is a great favorite with hot crusty rolls or French bread. It's delicious, filling, and as the author mentioned, loaded with veggies that are good for all of us. Give it a try I think you'll like it if you're a minestrone fan!

  • BayAreaRob
    Feb 28, 2019

    This is terrific. The only thing I changed was using spinach for the cabbage as I didn't have any on hand. If you plan on having leftovers you should NOT add the pasta to the soup, but ladle it into individual bowls upon serving; otherwise the pasta will expand and become mushy.

  • Patrick
    Feb 16, 2018

    This turned out very well. I was really impressed with the flavor it packed, and it was super healthy to boot. There were a few adjustments I made. First off, I hate cabbage, so I simply substituted a mixture of kale and spinach in place of the cabbage. Additionally, I had a zucchini on hand, and I decided to slice it up and add it with the rest of the veggies. Third and probably a result of having the extra zucchini, I added some extra chicken stock to the soup because it needed some more liquid. Other than that, the only differences were that I added a tiny amount of red pepper flakes and some dried porcini mushroom powder that I had on hand. Overall, the soup was fantastic, and I will be making this again. Thanks for the recipe!

  • georgysmom
    Nov 21, 2017

    Decided to take a bag of soup out of the freezer and it happened to be this soup. Not my usual Minestrone recipe but decided to try a new one. So glad I did. Loved it. I use the ditalini pasta, instead of the elbow macaroni and I also added some 1/4'd pepperoni slices to give it just a little more zip. So good!

  • Tracy
    Feb 23, 2017


  • xxcskier
    Feb 19, 2017

    Great flavor, easy to make. We also added shredded zucchini!Great on a cold New Hampshire day!

  • pols005
    Feb 2, 2017

    Good recipe. I added some salt and used vegetable broth. I think this will be even better after sitting in fridge for a couple of days.