Get ready for a soup that tastes amazing, fills you up, AND is good for you! This Minestrone Soup is loaded with garden vegetables, beans, and pasta to warm your soul. It is versatile to fit any taste and use whatever seasonable vegetables you have on hand.
This recipe is inspired and adapted from Blue Zones Sardinia Minestrone.
As I write this, it’s December 29th, 2020 and there is nothing my body is craving more than VEGETABLES! I love the holidays and all they offer, but there is something so nice about getting back to a routine of normal days and normal eating. Usually, the week between Christmas and New Year is a free for all of trying to eat up leftovers and whatever cookies are (somehow) still around. BUT NOT THIS YEAR – because everything is different in 2020.
Blue Zones Sardinia Minestrone
This is my husband’s #1 requested recipe in our house and I can’t disagree! It is so flavorful and filling, you don’t even realize how healthy it is. I came across this recipe after watching Down to Earth with Zac Efron on Netflix. In one episode, they go to the island of Sardinia which boats a high number of centenarians (people who live to 100+). They talk about the different aspects of their lives that lead to this long lifespan including what they eat (hint: this soup and lots of pasta). This is my adaption of that longevity minestrone soup!
The whole Blue Zones research is fascinating, and I encourage you to check it out! Here is a link to some information on Sardinia.
Ok, now back to the soup!
What Goes in Minestrone Soup?
The beauty of minestrone is how versatile it is! It can be made any time of year with whatever vegetables are seasonal or on hand. Here is a great list of what fruits and vegetables are in season and at what times of the year. For this recipe, I am using some of my favorites that I always have stocked in my party and fridge.
- The original recipe calls for dried Fava and Cranberry beans. I had never heard of these, but I wanted to stick to the recipe as closely as possible so I ordered a few bags from Nuts.com! They have lasted me around 3 months and I make this soup weekly. If you don’t want to make a special bean order, simply swap in your favorite canned beans. Pinto, kidney, great northern, and cannellini are great options.
- Onions, Carrots & Celery (Mirepoix)
- Aka the basis of any great soup! To me, the smell of this mixture takes me back to my Grandma’s kitchen instantly.
- Crushed tomatoes
- I used canned, but if you have fresh tomatoes, even better!
- Yukon Gold potatoes
- Feel free to experiment with whatever potatoes you have.
- Seasonal Vegetable Blend
- My favorites are zucchini, green beans, and cabbage! I usually hate leafy greens in soups or pastas, but cabbage keeps its crunch and adds a great texture to the soup.
- I really love Israeli couscous, which I find at Trader Joe’s. This is a larger version of typical couscous that has a bit more substance. You can use any other small pasta you have such as Ditalini, Stelline, Acini Di Pepe, or even mini shells.
How to Make Minestrone Soup
Let’s get cooking!
To save a lot of time while cooking the minestrone, I recommend cutting up and measuring everything out before. Then you just have to dump it in and let it simmer!
Once everything is prepped, start by heating 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch Oven over medium heat. Add in the chopped onions, carrots, and celery and saute until soft (about 5 minutes). Now my favorite part of any recipe – adding in the garlic! Stir and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Now add in the crushed tomatoes, diced potatoes, zucchini, cabbage, basil, soaked beans, tomato paste, and stir until well combined. This is where it comes in handy to have a large pot! Add in the vegetable broth and enough water to cover the veggies and beans by about an inch.
Raise the heat to high until the soup comes to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 1.5 hours, or until the beans are tender and the flavors have really come together.
Once everything is just about done, add in 2/3 cup of the pasta of your choice, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar.
For the pasta, I really love Trader Joe’s Israeli Couscous! It is the perfect size where it doesn’t take up too much space in the minestrone.
Continue simmering for another 10ish minutes until the pasta is cooked. Take a taste and see what you think! Feel free to season with more salt, pepper, or acid.
Serve in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of parmesan, and some crusty bread!
As with any soup recipe, they taste better the second day! This recipe makes quite a few servings, so it is perfect for lots of leftovers. It is good in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, but I doubt you will even have any left by that point!
Unfortunately, I haven’t tried freezing this recipe, but I’m sure it would work. Just let it thaw before heating up again in a large pot on the stove.
I truly hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does!
If you make one of my recipes, please tag me (IG @homemade_haley) or use the hashtag #homemadehaleyrecipes in your post or stories! I can’t wait to see how it turned out.
Thank you so much for your support. From my home to yours,
Minestrone Soup with Garden Vegetables
- Large Stockpot or Dutch Oven
- 1/2 cup dried fava beans peeled, can sub in dried or canned great northern or cannellini beans
- 1/2 cup dried cranberry beans can sub in dried or canned pinto or kidney beans
- 1/3 cup dried chickpeas or canned chickpeas
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium white or yellow onion about 1 cup chopped
- 2 medium carrots peeled, about 2/3 cups chopped
- 2 medium celery stalks about 1/2 cup chopped
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes about 3.5 cups
- 3 medium yellow potatoes I used Yukon Gold
- 1 medium zucchini chopped
- 1/2 medium head of cabbage sliced
- 1 cup green beans or 1 can
- 1 tbsp dried or fresh basil
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 4 cups water
- 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 2/3 cup Israeli couscous or any other small pasta
- 1 tsp salt more or less to taste
- 1 tsp pepper more or less to taste
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar can sub lemon juice or red wine vinegar, more or less to taste
- If using dried beans, measure them out and soak them in water for 8-16 hours or overnight. If you forgot to soak them overnight, place them in water, and bring to a boil. Take off heat and let soak for 3 hours.
- Chop all of your vegetables first and set aside for easy cooking.
- Heat up 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch Oven over medium heat. Add in your onions, carrots, and celery and saute until soft (about 5 minutes). Add and garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add in the crushed tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini, cabbage, basil, beans, and tomato paste until combined. If using fresh or frozen green beans, add them in now as well.
- Add in vegetable broth and enough water to cover the ingredients by about an inch.
- Raise the heat to high until the soup comes to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about and 1.5 hours or until beans are tender.
- Add in the 2/3 cup pasta, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, and cook for another 10ish minutes until pasta is cooked.
- Once the soup is done, taste to be sure you have enough salt, pepper, and acid. Adjust accordingly.
- To serve, drizzle 1/2-1 tablespoon of olive oil into a bowl, add the minestrone and enjoy! If you choose, top with a sprinkle of parmesan and a piece of toasted bread.
- Use whatever vegetables you have on hand or in the garden!
- I know you most likely can't find fava or cranberry beans in your local grocery store, but try Nuts.com or sub in whatever kind of bean you have.
Favorite Products Used in This Recipe
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Dutch Oven – This is my favorite pot for the stovetop. Unlike a large stockpot, the sides are shorter, but the base is wider so it’s much easier to see what you are doing and cook in. The best part, its oven proof!
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