This satisfying and hearty minestrone soup features a classic combination of fresh herbs, vegetables, beans, and pasta. It is a recipe that can easily be tweaked to use up any extra fresh herbs and veggies you have in your kitchen, making it perfect not only for the autumn but all the year-round. The soup is rounded off with a peppery kick of arugula and tastes absolutely delicious.
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Hearty Minestrone Soup
I love making soups – especially in the autumn and winter months. There is something so cozy and welcoming about a hot bowl of freshly made soup that warms the soul on a cold day. Add a chunk of crusty bread, maybe some cheese too, and you’ve got yourself a great meal! Or why not serve smaller portions as a dinner party starter? (Or even just for a regular night’s dinner!)
This minestrone soup takes just under an hour to make – but most of that is it simmering away on the stove. While its cooking, you can get on with doing other things, returning only to give the pot a quick stir. It is also a soup that you can very easily customise by using different vegetables, herbs, beans, and pasta shapes.
If you don’t like an ingredient – don’t use it. I cannot abide celery so never use it in any of my cooking! However, I have listed celery as an ingredient because it does add flavour (she says grudgingly!) Fun fact though, there is only one dish that I can just about eat celery in, and that’s my dad’s Cypriot chickpea stew.
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What is minestrone?
Minestrone is a thick vegetable soup from Italy. It is actually a dish that doesn’t have a set recipe, and so, it is made in several different ways, using different ingredients depending on the region and/or season. Which essentially means that there is no wrong minestrone recipe!
Common ingredients, and what I think of when I make a minestrone soup are tomatoes, carrots, pasta, and beans with some broth/stock; but can also include meat, rice, and a variety of other vegetables.
The history of minestrone has its roots with the Ancient Romans, and I found the Wiki entry about it, a fascinating read.
Minestrone soup ingredients
This hearty minestrone soup contains garlic, onions, carrots, celery, [canned] diced tomatoes, cannellini beans, green beans, fresh herbs – rosemary, thyme, oregano, and bay leaves, and red pepper flakes for a bit of heat. There is also a peppery kick from arugula (which in the UK we call rocket) that is added towards the end of the cooking time.
You can use whatever pasta shapes you like in your soup. The pasta is cooked separately, which I know is an extra step, but it means that you eliminate the extra starch from your soup. Plus, it prevents the pasta from becoming too soft and mushy, meaning more appetizing leftovers!
You can switch the fresh herbs out for dried herbs if that is what you have in your kitchen – make sure to use less as dried herbs are more potent than the fresh kind.
Olive oil is of course needed – I don’t think a single Italian recipe is without it – and you’ll also need vegetable broth/stock. You could use chicken stock if you prefer.
An optional extra is a adding a small piece of Parmesan rind to the cooking pot. This will impart its flavour throughout the soup, and take your minestrone to the next level.
This recipe uses American cup measurements. Since I use this type of measurement often, I find it handy to have a set of measuring cups in the kitchen.
Make It A Meal!
If you are looking for mealtime inspiration, here are some recipes for you to take a look at. You can make these to go along with the minestrone soup recipe in this post, or just because you are looking for something else to cook for dinner.
- Main Dish: One Pan Chicken Cacciatore – Italian Hunter’s Stew
- Side Dish: Garlic & Thyme Grilled Polenta + Roasted Veggies
- Side Salad: Giant Couscous Antipasti Salad
- Beverage: Cucumber Cantaloupe Mint Fizz
- Dessert: Tiramisu – With A Twist!
There are 500+ Recipes, including more soup recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy! Please feel free to check them out too.
More Recipes Using Fresh Herbs
Related Reading: 8 Herbs that You Can Grow Indoors
More Soup Recipes
Once you’ve made this yummy minestrone I know you’ll be looking for more soup recipes – here are some of my favorites to try:
- Cuban Black Bean Soup
- Slow Cooker Spicy Pumpkin and Butter Bean Soup
- Spicy Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Soup
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- ½ medium yellow/white onion, finely chopped
- 3 medium carrots, finely chopped
- 3 large stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (15.5 oz) can cannellini beans
- 4 cups organic vegetable broth/stock*
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dried)
- 1 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves (or 1 tsp dried)
- ½ Tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- 3” Parmesan cheese rind (optional)
- 2 cups Fusilli pasta
- 2 cups fresh green beans, cut into ½” pieces
- 2 cups fresh arugula
- ¼ cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and garlic in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté garlic, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or just until garlic starts to turn golden brown.
- Add chopped onion, carrot, and celery and cook for another 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until vegetables are soft and tender.
- Add diced tomatoes, cannellini beans, 4 cups vegetable broth, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and red pepper flakes to pan and stir to combine. Add Parmesan cheese rind, if using, and season with salt and black pepper, to taste.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 20-25 minutes.
- While soup is simmering, cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid before draining pasta. Rinse pasta and transfer to a medium bowl and toss with remaining olive oil. Cover and set aside.
- Remove lid from pan and add the green beans and the reserved pasta cooking liquid. Stir to combine and continue cooking, uncovered, another 20-25 minutes or until green beans are tender.
- Add arugula and additional vegetable broth, if needed, and stir to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until arugula begins to wilt.
- To serve, divide cooked pasta among individual serving bowls and top with hot soup. Top with chopped
parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve with crusty bread for a hearty meal. Enjoy!
For my UK readers, please note the following: The canned tomatoes would be 2 x 400g cans, and the beans would be 1 x 400g. Arugula is known as rocket in the UK.
*Use additional vegetable broth/stock to reach desired consistency, if needed
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 271 Total Fat: 8g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 931mg Carbohydrates: 42g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 9g Sugar: 8g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 11g
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