This easy minestrone soup recipe will prove that soups don’t have to simmer for hours to taste good! This vegetarian and vegan minestrone soup is loaded with fresh produce, a rich broth, and plenty of beans. It’s filling, healthy, and delicious! And before you go thinking that healthy minestrone soup is going to be bland and boring, it’s not! It’s a delicious way to eat your veggies and still manages to taste like comfort food. Thanks to a few kitchen shortcuts, this homemade minestrone soup is ready in just 30 minutes.
Comfort food has a bit of a bad reputation for being really high in fat and calories, but it doesn’t have to be over the top.
In fact, I think some of our favorite comfort foods can easily be healthier, or as my mom calls it, nutrified! I love the concept, because these foods truly bring us comfort and a feeling of coziness. And with a few small tweaks – and really it’s more about adding nutrition IN, rather than removing fat/calories/etc. – you can and should feel really good about serving comfort food, vegan minestrone soup included! I use this philosophy when making homemade chili, quinoa chicken casserole, and baked chicken tacos.
This vegan minestrone soup recipe was originally published in November 2017 and updated in October 2020 to include step-by-step instructions, minestrone recipe FAQs, and helpful tips.
What is Minestrone Soup?
Traditional minestrone soup recipes are made up of a thick, vegetable-based soup that’s usually served with pasta or rice. Most minestrone recipes contain beans, onions, celery, carrots, stock, and tomatoes.
What’s in Minestrone Soup?
There are just 10 minestrone soup ingredients in this recipe. You might have all of them in your refrigerator and pantry already! This homemade minestrone soup recipe is traditional, but also has a few extra ingredients that make it extra-special:
- Onion – I’ve used white onion, but you can also use yellow onion.
- Olive oil
- Red Kidney beans (Beans are a favorite kitchen shortcut of mine!)
- Garbanzo beans
- Broth (Chicken or vegetable)
- Marinara sauce – This is the secret ingredient! Marinara sauce is used instead of diced tomatoes and I think it makes for a richer soup.
- Parmesan cheese – Optional topping
- Sea salt & black pepper
- Red pepper flakes – Optional if you like some heat
In this vegan minestrone soup recipe, I used a jar of marinara sauce instead of the traditional canned tomatoes (which is totally something I saw on a tv commercial!). This helps add a deeper, more developed flavor in less time and it also creates a smooth base for the soup instead of a brothy-base with tomato chunks, which I think is the trick to making this the best minestrone soup.
How to Make Easy Minestrone Soup:
This homemade minestrone soup takes just 10 ingredients and 10 minutes to prep. Here’s how we make it:
- Prep ingredients. Dice onion, celery, carrots, and zucchini. Mince garlic. Drain beans and rinse.
- Sauté mirepoix. Heat oil in a dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat and add onion, celery, and carrots to pot. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the cloves of garlic and zucchini and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
TIP: Mirepoix is the aromatic base (usually a mix of onion, celery, and carrots) which helps give soups, stews, and other dishes flavor. You can easily dice your own, but many stores also carry a pre-cut and prepped version which you can also definitely use if you’re looking for a kitchen shortcut.
- Simmer soup. Add beans, broth, and marinara to dutch oven and stir together. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Taste. When the soup is done simmering and ready to serve, give it a taste. Does it need more salt? Some pepper? A little heat? Adjust the seasonings, transfer into bowls and then garnish it with a good sprinkle of parmesan and drizzle of olive oil. It’s ready for your spoon!
Healthy Minestrone Soup FAQs:
Why is it called minestrone soup?
Minestrone soup is traditionally an Italian soup that is made with vegetables like beans, onions, celery, carrots, tomatoes, and broth and often with the addition of either pasta or rice. (source)
Is minestrone soup vegetarian?
Yes, this is a vegetarian and vegan minestrone soup! If you want it fully vegan, don’t add any Parmesan while serving, or use your favorite vegan Parmesan alternative.
Is minestrone soup vegan?
It will depend on the recipe, this easy minestrone soup recipe is both vegetarian and vegan, just make sure to use vegetable broth!
Is minestrone soup gluten-free?
Yes, this soup is gluten-free. Many minestrone recipes contain pasta (more on that below), which would make them not gluten-free, but this minestrone soup recipe without pasta doesn’t contain any gluten.
How to Store Leftover Vegan Minestrone Soup:
Store leftover vegetarian minestrone soup in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a sauce pan until heated through.
Can you freeze minestrone?
Yes, you can also freeze minestrone. Store soup in the freezer in an airtight container (souper cubes or glass storage containers work well!) for 2-3 months and let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Freezing note: The zucchini texture may change a bit if you freeze it, but it works.
How to Serve Homemade Minestrone Soup to the Whole Family:
If you find yourself thinking, “This sounds really good, but there is no way my kids will eat it!” … you aren’t alone! I’m a big believer in ONE family meal as I think it’s beneficial for raising healthy and adventurous eaters, squashing picky eating, and oh yeah, making sure you don’t turn into a short-order cook, you need to transition to one family meal.
- For younger eaters, serve more chunks and less broth so it’s easier for them to eat with a spoon
- Serve with bread, fruit, and a glass of milk. Even if they don’t eat much of the soup, it’s the key to one family meal.
Homemade Minestrone Soup Nutrition + Substitutes:
I left the pasta out of this homemade minestrone soup, which is traditional in many minestrone recipes, not to cut carbs or cut minestrone calories, but to choose my carbs more wisely. And I don’t mean this in a “which carb is healthier” type of way, but which carb do I enjoy more with this easy minestrone soup…and a warm, crusty loaf of bread won hands down.
There are 43 carbohydrates in minestrone soup, and 12 grams of fiber! (That’s almost half of what you should aim for each day.)
If you want to cut down on the sodium, make sure you are rinsing your beans and use a low-sodium marinara and broth. This will help cut down the sodium a lot!
If you want to add in even more vegetables, stir in some spinach, kale, or swiss chard to the soup a few minutes before serving.
Is minestrone soup healthy?
Yes! This soup is incredibly healthy as it’s loaded with fresh veggies and protein and fiber-rich beans.
How many calories are in minestrone?
Wondering about vegetable minestrone soup calories? Each serving of this minestrone recipe has:
- 315 calories
- 10 grams fat
- 43 grams carbs
- 12 grams fiber
- 15 grams protein
What to Serve with Minestrone Soup:
This vegetarian minestrone soup doesn’t need much as it’s already loaded with veggies! You can keep it super simple with some hot bread, or add some more veggies on the side.
- Crusty Bread – Grab take-and-bake rolls or a baguette or simply toast up some garlic bread with whatever bread you have.
- Green Salad – Pile salad greens with some fresh veggies and your favorite dressing or try my simple green salad or lemon kale salad that are favorites at our house!
- Veggie Side – Serve the healthy minestrone soup with a simple veggie side like broiled asparagus, French green beans, or even raw veggies and Greek yogurt dill dip.
More Easy Soup Recipes:
If you like this minestrone recipe, you might also like some of my other easy soup recipes:
- Pasta Fagioli Soup – This simple soup is loaded with flavor (thanks to my secret soup ingredient!) and is easy to make-ahead. I’ve gifted this meal to friends and family and everyone always loves it.
- Sausage Lentil Soup – Now this is a pantry meal! Most lentil soups will take more than an hour, but this one is ready to eat in less than 45 minutes.
- Mexican Chicken Taco Soup – This soup takes all of the best taco flavors and turns it into a satisfying soup that’s ready in 30 minutes.
- Chicken Pho – Making pho at home? Yes, it’s possible! (And a shortcut ingredient makes it super easy.) This one takes just 30 minutes.
- Lasagna Soup – Satisfying, lasagna flavors without the boiling and layering. Ready in 30 minutes and uses just 10 ingredients.
- Homemade Chili – This easy recipe has won multiple chili cook-offs! Plus, it doesn’t need to simmer all day, it’s ready to eat in 30 minutes.
Helpful Tools to Make Homemade Minestrone Soup:
- Dutch Oven – Cook up this vegan minestrone soup in a dutch oven. This one is pretty enough to take from stove to table.
- Souper Cubes – Store any leftover soup in these containers that can freeze in individual portions.