Minestrone Soup

Minestrone soup is hearty, comforting and packed with vegetables. My version is made with onion, carrots, celery garlic, potatoes, cabbage, beans, tomatoes and then topped with fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese.

Bowl of Minestrone soup

Soup holds a very special place in my heart. It’s soothing, comforting and can either be a first course or a complete meal. Minestrone soup is an Italian classic, and if you search for the recipe, you’ll be blown by how many variations there are of this simple soup.

This soup is hearty, robust, rustic and would go perfectly with a crusty chunk of bread. It’s also full of nutrients and is very healthy. When I first tried it, I was reminded of Russian Shchi, cabbage soup.


Ingredients for Minestrone Soup
  • oil or butter for sautéing the vegetables
  • onion
  • carrots
  • celery
  • garlic
  • potatoes (any potatoes will work in this recipe, I usually use yellow/gold potatoes or Russet potatoes)
  • cabbage – you can also use any cabbage, like green cabbage or Savoy cabbage. Red cabbage will make the make the soup a bit more maroon colored.)
  • chicken broth – instead of chicken broth, you can use vegetable broth
  • tomatoes – I use diced canned tomatoes, but fresh tomatoes work really well here too.
  • beans and chickpeas – you can use any type of beans for this recipe and use either canned beans or fresh beans, but you’ll need to either cook them first or cook the soup much longer. If you don’t like beans or chickpeas, you can omit them.
  • Parmesan cheese – Not only do I garnish the soup with grated Parmesan cheese when serving, I also add a Parmesan rind to the soup while it’s cooking to give the broth more flavor.
  • fresh herbs – parsley is the typical herb to use, but many other fresh herbs can be used too, such as dill, green onions, rosemary, thyme, basil.
  • salt, pepper, seasonings – I add dry bay leaves to just about any soup that I make. You can also add a variety of dry herbs to add more flavor to the soup, such as Italian seasoning, poultry seasonings, dry onions/chives, parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, marjoram.

This recipe makes a really big batch. It reheats really well, but if you want to make a smaller portion, feel free to halve all the ingredients.

How To Cook the Minestrone Soup

  1. Prep all the vegetables.
  2. Sauté the onion, carrots, celery and garlic (season with salt and pepper) in a large pot or dutch oven until they become tender, 5-7 minutes, on medium heat, covered. If the vegetables start to stick to the pot but are not softened, pour in a small amount of water and continue cooking.
  3. Add the potatoes, cabbage and bay leaves. (At this point, you can also add some dry herbs, if you want.)
  4. Pour in the broth and water. (You can also add the Parmesan rind, if using.) Season with salt and ground black pepper, to taste. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 7-10 minutes, until the potatoes and cabbage are almost cooked through.
  5. Rinse the beans and chickpeas and add them to the soup, along with the canned diced tomatoes, with the tomato liquid from the can. Season with more salt, if needed. At this point, you can also add more water if you want the soup to be less thick. Cook on low heat, covered, at a simmer, for another 15 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and remove the Parmesan rind.
  6. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs.

Cooking Tip From Olga:

I like buying Parmesan cheese as whole chunks, not pre-grated. It seems pricey, but it actually isn’t since it lasts so much longer than if you buy the pre-grated kind. The FLAVOR is amazing. When I’ve grated as much goodness out of it as possible, I save the rinds (keep them in your freezer) and add them to soups like this one. It adds complexity and a savory flavor to the broth. It will become soft as it cooks. You can eat it or just discard it. 

Minestrone Variations:

Minestrone Soup

How to Make Minestrone Soup Vegetarian/Vegan:

Instead of using chicken broth, use vegetable broth. Omit the cheese.

Other Vegetables to Use in Addition or Instead of the ones I used:

Leeks, zucchini, corn, parsnips, kale, spinach.

Other Options:

Pasta works so well with this soup. My favorite kind of pasta to use in Minestrone is ditalini or orzo.

You can also add crisp and crunchy croutons to garnish the soup.

Storing and Reheating Minestrone:

Store the soup in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.

When reheating soups, I recommend taking out the portion that you will serve and place it into a small saucepan/pot and reheat on the stove just until warmed through. Every time you reheat soup, it will absorb more of the liquid, the ingredient will get softer and if you do it multiple times, by the end, the soup will be really thick and the ingredients tend to get blown up and lose their texture and shape. Add more fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese every time you serve.


Minestrone Soup

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Minestrone soup is hearty, comforting and packed with vegetables. My version is made with onion, carrots, celery garlic, potatoes, cabbage, beans, tomatoes and then topped with fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese.

  • Author: Olga’s Flavor Factory
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Soup


  • 11/2  Tablespoons butter or oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 potatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 small cabbage head, cut into chunks
  • 1 can (15 oz) red beans, such as kidney, drained
  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas or butter beans, drained
  • 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes, with the liquid
  • 8 cups broth chicken or vegetable
  • 24 cups water (more or less, depending on how thick/thin you like soup)
  • salt, ground black pepper, to taste
  • 12 dry bay leaves
  • 1/21 Tablespoons dry herbs, optional (such as Italian seasoning)
  • Parmesan cheese, rind, plus grated for garnishing
  • fresh herbs, for garnishing (parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary, dill, etc)


  1. Prep all the vegetables. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven on medium heat, adding butter or oil. Add the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook on medium low heat for 5-7 minutes, until all the vegetables soften. (If the bottom of the pot starts to get dry and the vegetables start to stick, add 1/4 cup of water, stir and continue cooking until the vegetables soften.
  2. Add the potatoes, cabbage, bay leaves, Parmesan rind and dry herbs, if using. Pour in the broth and some water, if you want to thin out the soup more. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed. Cover the pot, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 7-10 minutes, until the potatoes and cabbage are almost cooked through. 
  3. Drain and rinse the beans and chickpeas, then add to the soup along with the canned tomatoes, including the liquid. Add more water, salt and pepper, if needed. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and continue cooking on low heat for 10-15 minutes. 
  4. Remove the bay leaves and Parmesan rind. Garnish the soup with fresh herbs and grated Parmesan cheese. 
  5. Store the soup in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. 


This recipe makes a big batch of soup, so feel free to halve the ingredients. 

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This recipe was originally published on August 12, 2012. I updated the photos and clarified the instructions, although the recipe is still the same. 


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