Minestrone Soup

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please see our affiliate policy.

Italian Minestrone Soup is hearty and comforting, packed full of greens, chickpeas, and vegetables in a delicious and bright tomato broth. You can customize this recipe to use up pantry staples and clean out your crisper drawer, too.

Minestrone soup in a teal bowl.


 

This best Minestrone Soup recipe has an unexpected umami ingredient: porcini mushrooms. These little dried Italian mushrooms may not look like much (and you don’t need a lot) but they’re the backbone of this amazing soup while keeping it 100% vegan.

Even though there are no strict rules about what goes in this rustic recipe, the basics are covered here. Of course, you can improvise depending on what you have on hand: leftover herbs, fresh tomatoes, potatoes, or even collard greens.

Any way you simmer it, it will be a bright and delicious vegetarian Minestrone soup you won’t be able to stop thinking about.

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for minestrone soup.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient notes

  • Porcini mushrooms: Dried porcinis are sold in small packets, usually in the spice aisle, with the Asian ingredients, or in the produce section. They are sold whole, in pieces, or in powder form. You can also substitute a different dried mushroom such as Shiitakes (used in my chicken ramen). I buy dried porcinis on Amazon (Culinary Hill may earn money if you buy through this link).
  • Kale: Curly red, green, or deep, dark cavalo nero. Or any hearty, leafy dark green, like escarole, chard, etc.
  • Chickpeas: Borlotti beans are the classic bean in the soup, but you can use any type of beans or even lentils: cannellini beans, Northern beans, red kidney beans, any of them.
  • Orzo: Or any other small pasta: ditalini, rotini, or couscous. Minestrone can also be made with rice.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, add dried mushrooms and boiling water. Let sit until soft and pliable, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Dried porcini mushrooms soaking in a bowl of hot water to hydrate.
  1. Transfer mushrooms to a cutting board and mince. Using a fine-mesh strainer lined with a paper towel, or a coffee filter, strain liquid into a medium bowl. Set minced mushrooms and mushroom liquid aside.
Rehydrated dried porcinis on a cutting board, chopped.
  1. In a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat, add olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add onion, carrot, celery, minced mushrooms, and salt and pepper to taste (I like ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper). Sauté, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have softened, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Cooking onions, celery, and carrots in a saucepan.
  1. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in strained mushroom liquid and water, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
Cooking onions, celery, carrots, and broth in a saucepan.
  1. Add tomatoes and their juice, kale, and chickpeas and stir to combine (add kale in batches if it doesn’t immediately all fit in the pot). Bring to boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer until kale is almost tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Adding chickpeas, kale, and tomatoes to Minestrone soup.
  1. Stir in orzo and simmer until the pasta is tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Adding orzo to Minestrone soup.
  1. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I like 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper). Garnish with red chili flakes or fresh parsley if desired.
Minestrone soup in a teal bowl.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This Minestrone Soup recipe makes about 12 cups of soup, enough for 8 servings, 1 ½ cups each.
  • Storage: Store leftover soup in the refrigerator and enjoy the leftovers within 4 days.
  • Make ahead: I love this soup the best on the day it’s made when the pasta is perfectly al dente. If you need to make it ahead, hold the pasta back and add it when you reheat the soup.
  • Freezer: This soup is a great candidate for freezing. Portion, label, and date. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before gently reheating on the stove.
  • More veggies: Substitute or add veggies to use up what you have or showcase whatever is in season. Try zucchini, green beans, spinach, butternut squash, or sweet potatoes.
  • Spice it up: Prepare your soup with fresh basil, dried oregano, extra red chili flakes, or a bay leaf.
  • Parmesan cheese: You can store leftover Parmesan rinds in the freezer for future soup-making and pull them out to add to soups like this. Major flavor! Add a piece along with the tomatoes in step 5 of this recipe.
  • Pancetta or chicken broth: Some classic minestrone recipes make the soup with chicken broth or beef broth or cooks might add some pancetta, a cured Italian bacon, to the pot along with the vegetables. Italian sausage tastes great too. This is a kitchen-sink-style recipe, so everyone improvises a little bit depending on what they have.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Minestrone soup and vegetable soup?

Minestrone is a heartier version of vegetable soup. Both are chock full of vegetables, but Minestrone also has beans and pasta.

How do you make gluten-free minestrone?

Choose a gluten-free pasta or just leave it out and add more veggies.

More hearty soups

Join Us

HUNGRY FOR MORE? Sign up for our weekly newsletter and follow along on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram for our latest recipes! Tag all your glorious creations #culinaryhill so we can eat vicariously through you.
Minestrone soup in a teal bowl.

Minestrone Soup

Italian Minestrone Soup is hearty and comforting, packed full of greens, chickpeas, and vegetables in a delicious and bright tomato broth. You can customize this recipe to use up pantry staples and clean out your crisper drawer, too.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8 servings (1 ½ cups each)
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Calories 200
5 from 12 votes

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • In a medium bowl, add dried mushrooms and boiling water. Let sit until soft and pliable, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Transfer mushrooms to a cutting board and mince. Using a fine-mesh strainer lined with paper towel, or a coffee filter, strain liquid into a medium bowl. Set minced mushrooms and mushroom liquid aside.
  • In a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat, add olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add onion, carrot, celery, minced mushrooms, and salt and pepper to taste (I like ¼ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon pepper). Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have softened, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in strained mushroom liquid and water, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
  • Add tomatoes and their juice, kale, and chickpeas and stir to combine (add kale in batches if it doesn't immediately all fit in the pot). Bring to boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer until kale is almost tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Stir in orzo and simmer until the pasta is tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I like 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper). Garnish with red chili flakes if desired.

Notes

  1. Porcini mushrooms: Dried porcinis are sold in small packets, usually in the spice aisle, with the Asian ingredients, or in the produce section. They are sold whole, in pieces, or in powder form. You can also substitute a different dried mushroom such as Shiitakes (used in my chicken ramen). I buy dried porcinis on Amazon (Culinary Hill may earn money if you buy through this link). 
  2. Kale: Curly red, green, or deep, dark cavalo nero. Or any hearty, leafy dark green, like escarole, chard, etc.
  3. Chickpeas: Borlotti beans are the classic bean in the soup, but you can use any type of beans or even lentils: cannellini, Northern beans, etc.
  4. Orzo: Or any other small pasta: ditalini, rotini, or couscous. Minestrone can also be made with rice.
  5. Yield: Approximately 12 cups of soup.
  6. Storage: Store leftover soup in the refrigerator and enjoy the leftovers within 4 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cupsCalories: 200kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 6gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 48mgPotassium: 338mgFiber: 4gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 6941IUVitamin C: 55mgCalcium: 164mgIron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @culinaryhill on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! #culinaryhill
Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.

Quick & Easy Meals in Under 30 Minutes!
15 simple recipes for busy weeknights.

You May Also Like

Questions and Comments

Thank you for your comments! Please allow 1-2 business days for a reply. Our business hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 am PST to 5:00 pm PST, excluding holidays. Comments are moderated to prevent spam and profanity.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. Hello, this soup looks delicious! I don’t see parmesan cheese rind listed in the ingredient list but it is referred to in the notes. Wondering if/when to add it to the soup? Thank you.

    1. Hi Lisa, thank you so much for your question! I’m so sorry for the confusion. It can be added along with the tomatoes in step 5 of the recipe. I’ve clarified it in the notes. Thank you so much again! I hope you love this soup! – Meggan

  2. Amazing. So basic, but masterful. It made me a hero… They are raving about my Soup… An Irish guy impressing our Sicilian side of the family… Can not ask for more than that.5 stars