There may not be a more classic Italian soup recipe than minestrone—the rich, often slightly chunky tomato broth base is usually made with Tuscan beans, onion, celery, and carrots, and is often topped with macaroni or rice (but hey, you can switch it up however your heart desires). Hearty minestrone soup recipes are perfect for dinner in the dead of winter because they’ll rid you of your perpetual chill and they smell oh so good simmering in the pot. We swear that the mouthwatering aroma will cause you to take a few “tastes” before it’s officially done, but try to hold off until the very end, where you can dip in a piece (or three) of crusty sourdough bread.
As we mentioned, each recipe for this dish varies based on which veggies happen to be in season (and your tastes of the moment), and this versatility is one of the main reasons we like it so much. Craving chicken and quinoa? Great—throw them in. Want to try it with some homemade pesto croutons? Give it a go. Or maybe a vegetarian option packed with collard greens and zucchini is more your style? Let your imagination soar this season by whipping up minestrone soup recipes that fit your mood. Below are eight of our very favorites for inspiration, but feel free to mix and match ingredients as you see fit. It’s time to get cooking.
Hearty Tuscan Soup
If you want to start with a fairly traditional minestrone, then this take on the dish from Pickled Plum will be right up your alley. Garlic, thyme, and vegetable broth are fancied up with fire-roasted tomatoes, cannellini beans, onion, carrot, zucchini, spinach, and elbow pasta. Best of all, it only takes about 30 minutes from start to finish.
Minestrone With Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
Leave it to Tieghan of Half Baked Harvest to give us a modern twist on minestrone. By adding sun-dried tomato pesto (store-bought or homemade), rainbow carrots, sweet corn kernels, kale, and orecchiette pasta, the broth takes on a whole new life. And oh yeah, simmering a Parmesan rind in the broth might have something to do with the tasty flavor, too.
Crockpot Italian Chicken, Quinoa, and Vegetable Soup
Minestrone can be made with any type of meat—or kept vegetarian—but chicken is a rare yet appreciated addition to this recipe. Add all the regular veggies, some chicken breast slices, your favorite flavored or unflavored quinoa, some fire-roasted tomatoes, and Italian seasoning mix to a pot. You’ll know it’s done when the chicken is cooked through and shreds easily and the quinoa has “popped.”
Instant Pot Minestrone Soup
This version of minestrone from A Pinch of Yum relies on a slow cooker to do most of the work for you. Its significant additions include bulgur (instead of pasta), marinara sauce, and basil pesto. Finish with some smoked paprika, or go all out and just add bacon to get the real deal.
Just because this recipe on Hello Glow, taken from The Book of Greens, is called Summer Vegetable Minestrone doesn’t mean we can’t make it year-round. It owes its delectable taste to fennel pollen, Arborio rice, fresh tomatoes, and bell pepper (among the rest of its delicious ingredients). If you’re not in the mood for collard greens, feel free to substitute them for kale or spinach.
One-Pot Vegan Minestrone
You didn’t think we would leave out our vegan and gluten-free friends, did you? In this recipe, nutritional yeast subs in for Parmesan, and gluten-free fusilli rounds out the dish. Tons of chopped carrots, zucchini, fire-roasted tomatoes, and green beans will give you your veggies for the day (and did we mention it cooks up in just one pot?).
Springtime Crockpot Minestrone
Ah, another “springtime” soup? Don’t let the name throw you—it just refers to the delicious spears of asparagus that appear in this super-simple slow-cooker minestrone recipe. (Throw the veggies in at the end with peas and spinach so they don’t get overcooked.) What’s more, the vegetable stock and ditalini pasta-based take will cook up while you’re at work… It needs about six to eight hours for maximum tastiness.
Vegetable Soup with Cilantro Pesto Croutons
If you want to serve your minestrone soup recipe for dinner and need something a little more filling, this version from Hola Jalapeño should be your go-to. Top your broth of leek, onion, celery, crushed tomatoes, cubed potatoes, green beans, zucchini, vegetable stock, and water with massive homemade croutons slathered in cilantro pesto (let them float around like mini boats). Word to the wise: Don’t forget to add toasted pumpkin seeds to the croutons—delish.
Next, read about vegetarian soup recipes we love.