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holding a bowl of minestrone soup

Classic Minestrone Soup

  • Author: Brooke
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cups 1x


This easy and healthy minestrone soup is loaded with vegetables, beans, and pasta.  This stovetop version tastes the best when served with a crusty Italian loaf to soak up the flavorful broth.  You can’t beat a homemade Italian soup!



  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (reserve 1/2 tablespoon for the pasta)
  • 1 3/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 teaspoons dried basil leaves
  • 3 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
  • 3 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 3 1/2 cups fresh zucchini, chopped
  • 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, no salt added
  • 28-ounce can petite diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 6 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese rind, chopped (34g)
  • 15-ounce can Great Northern beans, rinsed
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 1 cup dry ditalini pasta (130g)

For the Garnish

  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (20g)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped


  1. Pour the olive oil into a large pot over medium high heat.  Let it heat up for a minute, then add the onions, carrots, and celery.  Mix well to coat in oil, then cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
  2. Add the spices and the zucchini and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Pour in the canned tomatoes with their juices, the chicken broth, and the cheese rind, then bring it to a boil over medium heat.  Turn the heat down to medium low and let the soup simmer 15 minutes with the lid askew, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the rinsed beans and the kale.  Mix well, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. While it is simmering, cook the pasta separately for about 10 minutes, until al dente.  Drain and toss the pasta with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
  6. Just before serving the soup, remove the two bay leaves.  Taste and adjust seasonings to taste.
  7. To serve, add 1/4 cup cooked pasta to the bottom of each bowl, then ladle 1 1/2 cups on top.  Stir and garnish with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, and a grind of fresh black pepper.  Serve hot with a crusty loaf, like this Italian bread.


  • I choose to cook the pasta separate from the soup.  This allows each guest to add as much or as little pasta as they like.  It also keeps the pasta from absorbing the broth and swelling up.  If you choose to add it directly, add it in with the beans and kale.
  • If you want to make this vegetarian, swap out the chicken broth for vegetable broth.
  • If you want to add meat, cook 1/2 pound of hamburger until it’s no longer pink.  Drain.  Add to veggie mixture after step #2.
  • This soup will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.  It also freezes well in an airtight container or a heavy duty freezer bag.
  • Want to know my secret ingredient?  Cube up the Parmesan rind and throw it in.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: minestrone soup, Italian, vegetarian

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