Thick & Hearty Minestrone Soup

This thick and hearty minestrone soup satisfies! Full of healthy veggies and bursting with savory, comforting flavor. Recipe on

Since it’s bread bowl month and all…

it only makes sense to share a new soup recipe too. 🙂

This thick and hearty minestrone soup satisfies! Full of healthy veggies and bursting with savory, comforting flavor. Recipe on

I’m not really sure if I should call this minestrone, but I’m rolling with it. I made it the other week and we both loved it more than I anticipated. I mean, it’s vegetable soup. It’s not flashy in the slightest. Still, I’m singing its praises because it’s not only healthy, warm, and wholesome, its savory flavors and thickness keeps me full and satisfied. And I made it again since then! We’ve absolutely loved it on these cold winter days, especially served in giant homemade bread bowls.

Figured you’d appreciate this recipe too!!

How to make thick and hearty minestrone soup on

Spinach for minestrone soup on

What makes it different? This minestrone soup is much heartier than what we’re used to, almost like a chili, which is why I love it so much. Not super brothy, know what I’m sayin? I’m not a huge fan of pasta (I KNOW I KNOW… WEIRD), so I use rice. The rice soaks up a lot of liquid, which helps thicken it up. I add an 8-ounce can of tomato paste, which is typically more than most minestrone soup recipes. I also throw in fresh zucchini, carrots, celery, and spinach plus lots of canned beans. Those are all pretty typical in minestrone. There’s also garlic, onion, diced tomato, and a hefty dose of seasoning. There’s so much color and texture in 1 spoonful, how can you not be satisfied?!

This soup is pretty forgiving. Play around with the veggies based on what you like. I loved big butter beans in this soup, but I want to try it with chickpeas next. Maybe instead of spinach, a little kale? Why not. Skip a can of beans and add frozen peas? Worth a shot. Maybe a cup of corn? Let’s do it.

Whichever veggies you use, I recommend sticking with the seasonings, tomato paste, and veggie broth– these all make up the flavorful tomato base of the soup.

And in addition to breaking out of my baking comfort zone this year, I’m working on breaking out of my photography comfort zone too! Here’s my attempt at falling food.

This thick and hearty minestrone soup satisfies! Full of healthy veggies and bursting with savory, comforting flavor. Recipe on

This was shot number, like, 38. Less is more when it comes to these types of photos. We were working with way too much cheese in the beginning and it looked like a big cheese dump, rather than a pretty sprinkle. 😉 I’ll keep practicing these!

This thick and hearty minestrone soup satisfies! Full of healthy veggies and bursting with savory, comforting flavor. Recipe on

Stay warm, have fun baking the bread bowls, and let me know if you enjoy this thicker style minestrone!

Thick & Hearty Minestrone Soup


  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion (1/2 of a large onion)
  • 1 cup sliced or diced carrots (1-2 large carrots or a handful of baby carrots)
  • 1 cup sliced or diced celery (2-3 stalks)
  • 1 cup sliced or diced zucchini (about 1 small)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • a bunch of Italian seasoning (I used a generous Tablespoon)*
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 5-6 cups vegetable or chicken broth*
  • 2 cups water
  • 2-3 teaspoons red wine vinegar*
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (14 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed*
  • 1 (14 ounce) can butter beans, drained and rinsed*
  • 1 (14 ounce) can green beans, drained and rinsed*
  • 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 and 1/3 cups uncooked rice or pasta*
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • parmesan cheese, for serving


  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a 4 quart (or larger) pot or dutch oven. Add the onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and thyme. Stir and cook for 6-7 minutes as the vegetables soften up and let out some juices.
  2. Add broth, water, red wine vinegar, bay leaf, all the beans, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, then add uncooked rice or pasta. Cover and simmer for 35 minutes. Stir in the chopped spinach and simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove bay leaf.
  3. Serve soup warm in homemade bread bowls (or regular bowls, of course!) and top with fresh parmesan cheese, if desired.
  4. Keep leftovers in a large tupperware in the refrigerator for up to a week. To reheat, simply pour into a pot over medium heat and cook until warm. Feel free to add more broth to the leftovers as it cooks if it is too thick-- I always do. (It thickens in the refrigerator as the veggies and rice soak up the liquid.)

Freezing: Soup freezes wonderfully! Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator the day before eating, then reheat on the stove until warm.

Recipe Notes:

*If you don't have Italian seasoning, you can use any combination of Italian spices that you like. Dried basil, rosemary, oregano, etc.

*Anywhere between 5-6 cups of broth is great. I use 6. The rice or pasta soak up a lot of liquid.

*The vinegar balances out all the flavor. A few splashes of a dry-ish red wine works too!

*Play around with the beans you use. I loved the big giant butter beans, but feel free to use the more traditional cannellini beans instead. Or try chick peas!

*Use brown or white rice or any dry pasta you like best. Stick with smaller shaped pasta so it fits on your spoon. 🙂

Slow cooker directions: Prepare the soup through step 1 on the stovetop. Transfer to a slow cooker, then add everything else except for the rice/pasta and spinach. Allow to cook for 2 hours on low, then add the rice/pasta and spinach. Cook on low for 1 more hour.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

How to make homemade bread bowls on

This thick and hearty minestrone soup satisfies! Full of healthy veggies and bursting with savory, comforting flavor. Recipe on



  1. Norma on January 28, 2018 at 10:12 pm

    Hi Sally! I took this recipe and combined it with one we have from my mother-in-law from years ago (she has since passed away). She called for pretty much the same ingredients except tomato sauce in lieu of paste, no red wine vinegar, no green beans and no butter beans, but she had salt pork in her recipe. So what I did was brown the salt pork, drain the fat, add in the rest of your ingredients and used tomato juice instead of either sauce or paste. It turned out soooo good! My husband was really happy with the soup and we had cold winds today so it was the perfect time for soup and homemade bread! (Didn’t make your bread bowls as my husband doesn’t like those, but we had homemade bread just the same.) We used pasta in the soup, too. We were really happy with the soup and so glad you shared the recipe!!

    • Sally on January 29, 2018 at 6:20 am

      Your variation sounds fantastic! My husband would love the salt pork in it. I’d love to try it that way sometime. Thank you so much for sharing!

      • Wendy on May 30, 2018 at 4:16 am

        I use Italian sausage in my Minestrone. I cook the dittalini or small shells separately in beef broth. My soup is thick due to the sausage, beans, veggies & fresh parmesan. I like my pasta to remain al dente, which is why I don’t add it to the soup. I simply place pasta in serving bowls, cover with the hot soup & top with freshly shredded Parmesan, Assiago & Romano. Bon App!

  2. Nancy on January 30, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    Love minestrone soup so much and will definitely be giving this a try…but I am SUPER excited to try your bread bowl recipe! You make it seem so “doable” — I’m going to give it shot over the weekend! Thank you Sally!

    • Sally on January 30, 2018 at 1:57 pm

      They really are much easier than you think!! Let me know how they turn out 🙂

  3. Beki Allen on January 31, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    I made this last weekend and it was delicious! I used fire roasted tomatoes because that’s what I had on hand, and it gave it a really good flavor with a little heat. The leftovers made for great, quick weekday lunches too. This is a keeper! 

  4. Steph on February 6, 2018 at 1:40 am

    Super keen to make this. Just wondering does the bread go soggy once you add the soup?

    • Sally on February 6, 2018 at 1:13 pm

      Not really. Unless you are a super slow soup eater!

  5. Dara on February 6, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    This looks amazing! Any tips on adjusting for an Instant Pot?

    • Sally on February 7, 2018 at 11:02 am

      Hi Dara! I don’t have an instant pot, so I’m not the best person to ask. Let me know if you try anything! I’m thinking of getting one. 🙂

  6. Theresa on February 26, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    Made this soup tonight – delicious!!



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