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Garden Minestrone

At Italian restaurants, I always order minestrone. After doing many trial-and-error batches, I developed a hearty veggie soup my whole family craves—kids and all. —Hillery Martin, Junction City, Kansas
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Cook: 30 min.
  • Makes
    10 servings (about 4 quarts)


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 7 medium carrots, chopped
  • 7 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 2 yellow summer squash (about 3 cups), chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 cans (15-1/2 ounces each) great northern beans, rinsed and drained, divided
  • 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cartons (32 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup uncooked ditalini or other small pasta
  • 12 cups chopped fresh spinach (12 ounces)


  • In a 6-quart stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add carrots, celery and onion; cook until tender, 6-8 minutes. Add zucchini, yellow squash and seasonings; cook and stir until squash is crisp-tender, 4-6 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.
  • Mash 1/2 cup beans with a fork. Stir mashed beans and tomatoes into vegetables. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 10-12 minutes.
  • Stir in pasta and remaining beans; return to a boil. Cook, uncovered, 7-9 minutes or just until pasta is tender. Discard bay leaves. Stir in spinach; cook until spinach is wilted.

  • Freeze option: Add remaining beans but not pasta and spinach. Cool soup; freeze in freezer containers for up to 3 months. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Place in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Stir in pasta; return to a boil. Reduce heat; cook, uncovered, for 7-9 minutes or until pasta is tender. Discard bay leaves. Add spinach and cook until wilted.
Nutrition Facts
1-1/2 cups: 209 calories, 4g fat (1g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 929mg sodium, 35g carbohydrate (10g sugars, 9g fiber), 12g protein.

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  • Maria
    Oct 23, 2019

    No comment left

  • annrms
    May 22, 2016

    This is an easy to make and wonderfully tasty soup! I did not have white beans so I added a can of lentils to the finished soup. I skipped the addition of the pasta and served it with garlic bread. Definitely a keeper!

  • HomeChefColleen
    May 20, 2016

    Simply lovely. Full of colour and loaded with healthy veggies. Full disclosure: I couldn't find any other variety of summer squash other than zucchini, so it's not in there (but with 3 zucchini and 3 cups of more squash-type vegetables, I'm sort of glad I didn't because it wouldn't have been too much squash); I couldn't find any dried sage so I put a bit of ground sage in; I used veggie broth - not chicken; and I used a can of diced tomatoes instead of crushed because I like to try to use up what I have in my cupboard and not buy stuff if I don't need to. At the end, it's a very, very nice minestrone. I think it could use more spices of some sort, the quantities are pretty small but I'm sure you could add more after it's in your bowl. But it's healthy, vegetarian, and I'm all for that!