This hearty minestrone soup is thicker than most minestrone soup recipes. It’s filled with delicious colorful vegetables, plenty of spices, and has a unique rich texture. You’ll make this minestrone soup recipe again and again!
I’m not really sure if I should call this minestrone soup, 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 this minestrone soup recipe on cold winter days, especially served in giant homemade bread bowls. Figured you’d appreciate this recipe too!
What Makes This Minestrone Soup the Best?
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 saying? 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. Just as we do when making this vegetable pot pie, play around with the vegetables you use based on what you like. I loved big butter beans in this soup and 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 vegetables you use, I recommend sticking with the seasonings, tomato paste, and vegetable broth– these all make up the flavorful tomato base of the soup.
How to Freeze Minestrone Soup
This thick and hearty minestrone soup freezes wonderfully! Freeze in a large freezer-friendly container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator the day before eating, then reheat on the stove until warm.
How to Make Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup
If you want the minestrone soup to cook all day, here are the slow cooker directions. I also pasted these in the recipe below. 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.
Serve in bread bowls or alongside soft dinner rolls, artisan bread, brown butter sage dinner rolls, homemade breadsticks, or olive bread. For a deliciously cheesy accompaniment, you can even serve with pizza pull apart rolls!Print
This hearty minestrone soup is thicker than most soup recipes. It’s filled with delicious colorful vegetables, plenty of spices, and a unique rich texture. You’ll make this minestrone soup recipe again and again!
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve soup warm in homemade bread bowls (or regular bowls, of course!) and top with fresh parmesan cheese, if desired.
- 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.)
- Make Ahead Instructions – 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.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Large pot or dutch oven
- Italian Seasoning: If you don’t have Italian seasoning, you can use any combination of Italian spices that you like. Dried basil, rosemary, oregano, etc.
- Broth: Anywhere between 5-6 cups of broth is great. I use 6. The rice or pasta soak up a lot of liquid.
- Vinegar: The vinegar balances out all the flavor. A few splashes of a dry-ish red wine works too!
- Beans: 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!
- Rice / Pasta: 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 Instructions: Prepare the soup through step 1 on the stovetop. Transfer to a slow cooker (affiliate link), 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.
Keywords: minestrone soup