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.




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
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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

Kelli Catana
Kelli is a freelance writer who has covered the world of entertainment, pop culture, parenting, and lifestyle for various…
Is your baby not eating solid foods? Here’s what could be going on
Should you worry if the little one isn't eating solid foods? Find out here
Baby in a highchair at the table eating.

When babies are first introduced to solid foods, they tend to already prefer what they like. Some little ones like vegetables, while others prefer the sweet taste of fruits. Babies usually take to eating solid foods quite quickly and enjoy experiencing the new flavors. Let's face it, once a baby starts on solid food, all they want to do is eat everything you put in front of them. But what happens when your baby's not eating solids?

It can be confusing for a parent when their munchkin, who seems to enjoy food so much, suddenly refuses to eat solids. Or, when their little one begins eating solids, but then stops eating them entirely. This commonly happens with kids and isn't something to be too concerned about or cause panic. Let's go over why your hungry hippo is rejecting solid foods and if there's anything you should do about it.

Read more
15 super simple Christmas crockpot meals that are ideal for busy families
Save on prep time with these holiday meals
Tasty meatballs made in a crockpot

If you haven't discovered the wonders of crockpot cooking, the upcoming holiday season is the ideal time to start. November and December fly by in a rush of shopping, decorating, activities and crafts, and of course, entertaining. With entertaining comes more shopping, preparation, and lots of hours spent in the kitchen. Time is difficult enough to carve out during the holidays, which is what makes crockpot meals such a deliciously simple option.

Crockpots have been around for decades with the slow cooker being introduced to American kitchens in the 40s. It wasn't until the 70s though that crockpot cooking really started to heat up. Sure, grandma might not approve of making Christmas dinner in a crockpot, but believe it or not, Christmas crockpot meals are just as scrumptious as ones prepared on the stove or in the oven.

Read more
Baby’s first Christmas: How to commemorate and celebrate with your new addition
Here are some fun ways to honor your baby's first holiday
Baby in front of a Christmas tree

Baby's first Christmas is such a special time for the whole family. The holidays are always magical, but there's nothing better than celebrating the holidays with a new baby in the house. It's a memorable moment that every parent looks forward to, so you want to make it extra special.
There are many ways to mark the occasion of a baby's first Christmas. This is a unique time to start lifelong traditions or commemorate the first year with a new addition to your family. If you're looking for a special way to mark the holiday and celebrate with your new addition this festive season, we have some ideas that may provide inspiration.

Make a cookie plate
Go to a children's pottery studio or buy a DIY home kit and let your baby finger paint a plate that can become the annual plate to serve Santa's cookies and the reindeer's carrots. You can write the year and your baby's name as well as "Christmas" or "Santa's cookies" on the plate while your baby decorates the rest.

Read more