Skip to main content

How to make minestrone soup perfect for any weeknight

Steps to make minestrone soup that's sure to please the whole family

Whether you're cooking for a large family or simply want to have a quick hot and healthy meal option available for yourself to grab and go, minestrone soup is a perfect addition to your weekly dinner menu. Loaded with vegetables, this hearty and healthy soup is sure to be a hit with the whole family.

Related Videos




30 minutes

What You Need

  • Vegetable or meat-based stock

  • Seasonal vegetables

  • Rice, pasta, or lentils of choice

  • Soup pot

  • Stove

Minestrone soup is great for a delicious meal at any time of the day, and super convenient since it doesn’t take too long to make. Even better is that it can be made ahead and put in the freezer for when you need a quick and healthy weeknight meal. There are many different recipes online to choose from when making a minestrone soup, but there are some tips to ensure you’re making a minestrone soup your entire family will love.

Cooking soup in kitchen

What’s the difference between minestrone and vegetable soup?

While the two soups do have a lot of similarities, the biggest difference between minestrone soup and regular vegetable soup is the addition of heartier ingredients in minestrone. Vegetable soup contains just that — vegetables. Minestrone contains vegetables but also uses hearty ingredients such as pasta, rice, lentils, or beans to make the soup more of a meal.

Minestrone soup made in Instant Pot

What’s minestrone soup made of?

The beauty of a good minestrone soup is that it can be made with a variety of ingredients so everyone in your house will be happy with the recipe. As Simply Recipes points out, minestrone soup is typically made with in-season vegetables as well as the addition of pasta or rice. You can choose vegetables such as beans, onions, celery, carrots, and tomatoes to make your minestrone and use either a vegetable stock if you want to make your soup vegetarian, or a meat-based stock like a chicken stock if you’re open to including meat in the recipe.

The best part of making minestrone soup is that you never have to make the same recipe twice unless you find one you love. You can always change up which vegetables you use, you can experiment using different stocks as your base and you can switch up rice or pasta depending on what you prefer or have on hand.

Person adding carrots to a pot on stove

Why is minestrone soup good for you?

Many of us struggle to eat the recommended dose of vegetables each day, which is one reason why minestrone soup is so good for you. It allows you to get a healthy serving of a variety of vegetables in just one meal. Nutritionist Valentina Schirò explained to La Cucina Italiana that minestrone soup has multiple health benefits. “It lets you fill up with a variety of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, and other nutrients that help you stay young and healthy, strong and full of energy.”

She went on to add that most minestrone soup is high in fiber so eating it “slows gastric emptying and the absorption of sugars in the blood.” The fiber also helps you feel fuller, longer. She also notes that the ingredients in classic minestrone help to “remove excess fluid responsible for fluid retention and swelling.”

Bowl of Minestrone soup

How to make a great minestrone soup

Anyone can cut up vegetables and add them to some stock along with some pasta to make a yummy soup in a pinch, but if you’ve been looking to make your minestrone soup a signature dish that the whole family will love, here are a few tips:

Step 1: As The Kitchn points out, cooking your vegetables in stages allows them time to cook properly without overcooking. They suggest starting with your carrot/celery/onion base to help bring out the flavor of your stock, then adding in vegetables like potatoes or squash, that take longer to cook. Finally, you add in the vegetables that are more quick to cook, like zucchini. This allows you to really bring out the flavor of each vegetable without overcooking them.

Step 2: “The greater the variety of vegetables, the better it is,” Schirò explained about why you should use as much variety as possible in your minestrone. “Red vegetables such as radishes and tomatoes, for example, are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that is great for a healthy cardiovascular system. Orange vegetables such as carrots and squash are a veritable mine of carotenoids, including beta-carotene, essential for healthy skin and vision.”

Step 3: If you want to make a big batch of minestrone so you have some to put in the freezer for a quick, weeknight meal, you may want to skip the pasta. Cook it Real Good notes that pasta doesn’t freeze well, so it’s best to leave it out if you’re planning to freeze your soup. That doesn’t mean that you can have pasta in your minestrone, it just means you need to wait to add it until you’re ready to eat.

Chef enjoying the smell of freshly cooked soup

Give it a try

If we’ve inspired you to make your own minestrone soup, this recipe by Ina Garten is definitely one to try. If you want to keep your minestrone vegetarian, here’s one by La Cucina Italiana that looks amazing, while this recipe from Taste of Home is loaded with healthy vegetables, beans, and chickpeas.

It can be hard to find healthy and quick recipes the whole family will love which is why minestrone soup is so great. You can customize it to add in the vegetables your family loves while even sneaking in a few extra veggies without the kids even knowing it. Top it with some shaved parmigiana and serve it with a loaf of crusty bread and dinner is served.

Editors' Recommendations

Adorable DIY smash cake recipes for your baby’s first birthday
Rock your kiddo's first birthday with a smash cake
Baby boy enjoys his smash cake on his birthday

Baby's first birthday is such an exciting occasion. It's also usually the first time baby actually gets to eat cake. Celebrating with a smash cake baby can dig into with their hands is a social media post that doesn't get old. Never heard of a smash cake for baby's first birthday? A smash cake is a small cake about 4 inches in diameter that's just for baby to enjoy with their hands to celebrate a first birthday.

Smash cakes actually have a long history and date all the way back to the ancient Egyptians. The popularity of the smash cake recipe has ebbed and flowed, but today smash cakes are all the rage, and if you think about it, it’s a perfect idea for 1-year-olds because they can dig right in and eat it with their hands.

Read more
9 healthy air fryer recipes that will replace fast food and takeout
Forget expensive and unhealthy takeout - try tasty air fryer cooking
Mom making dinner using an air fryer

Busy afternoons following work and school often result in fast food or takeout for dinner. It's quick and convenient when the family is rushing around with activities and playdates, but it's not healthy. Of course, the kids love the takeout, especially when it's pizza night. Parents, however, understand the lack of nutritional value in fast food, not to mention the toll eating out takes on the family budget. Instead of opting for takeout on those busy nights, save eating out for special occasions and embrace air fryer cooking.

Making family favorites like fries, chicken tenders, hot dogs, and more in an air fryer are healthier than conventional frying in a pan or deep fryer. Even better is the plethora of healthy air fryer recipes that will make the kids forget about their favorite fast-food and takeout stops. If you haven't tried air fryer cooking, now is the time. So, what is an air fryer and why is it healthier? Let's find out.

Read more
6 healthy sheet-pan dinners that make cleanup a breeze
Learn to love your oven with sheet-pan cooking
Delicious sheet-pan dinner for busy families

Making home-cooked dinners is a lot healthier for the family and certainly budget-friendly, but it can be hard for busy parents to find the time. Dinner preparations and cleanup can be difficult when you're running off to practices and other after-school activities. Who wants to clean a sink full of dishes and pans after soccer and hockey practice? Lack of time is often why many on-the-go families opt for the convenience of takeout on those crazy weeknights.

Ultimately, home-cooked dinners are best for the family because they are healthier. However, not everyone wants to invest in an Instant Pot or a slow cooker to help get evening meals on the table quicker. There are other dinner options that don't take a lot of time or effort.

Read more