Italian Minestrone Soup with Pesto combines lots of veggies, white beans, and orecchiette pasta with a bold tomato broth and a touch of pesto. This flavorful soup will warm your belly and get you coming back for seconds!
While food is my love language, soup is my cool-weather love language if that’s a thing. When fall weather comes, or even a little earlier (cuz TEXAS), I’m making all the soups. Following a recipe is a good thing when you are susceptible to making soup for 20 instead of four. I mean, if vegetables are good for you, let’s just add more! Which is why creating these soup recipes (thus putting a limit on ingredients) is so important for me so we can avoid eating the same thing five nights in a row. You’re welcome, family.
There are so many reasons to love a pot of soup.
- It’s a great way to use up those veggies that aren’t looking so great anymore.
- There are so many different versions of great healthy eating.
- One pot cooking saves time and dishes.
- Leftovers are great as long as we’re being reasonable.
- It’s a cheaper way to cook, especially the meatless versions (like this one).
Let’s make soup, ya’ll! 😀
Ingredients needed for Italian Minestrone Soup with Pesto:
The ingredient list seems long, but there are nine types of fresh veggies in this soup! It’s really easy to make, but does include some chopping. 😀
- Olive Oil – Needed to sauté the veggies below!
- Base Veggies – Onion, garlic, carrots, celery, cabbage slaw (or use regular cabbage).
- Other Veggies – Sweet Potato, yellow potatoes, zucchini. You can substitute other veggies here, if desired, to equal about four cups.
- Seasonings – Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, Italian Seasoning, and onion powder.
- Tomatoes – Diced (fire-roasted) tomatoes and tomato paste.
- Broth – Lower-sodium chicken broth. You could also use beef or veggie broth.
- Beans – One can of white beans, like cannelloni or great northern.
- Optional Ingredients – A parmesan rind and two bay leaves add a lot of flavor, but could be skipped if you don’t have them.
- Pesto – I used my homemade pesto, but store-bought is fine too.
- Pasta – Just over a cup of small pasta noodles is all you need. I used orecchiette, but orzo or ditalini would work too.
- Spinach – Add a bunch of spinach after the soup is done cooking. It will wilt fast.
- To serve – Grate some fresh parmesan cheese, and add another dollop of pesto, if desired.
How to make the best Minestrone Soup:
- Sauté veggies. In a medium to large stock pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add all the veggies (except the spinach) to the pot – the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, cabbage mix, sweet potatoes, yellow potatoes, and zucchini. Add seasonings – salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and onion powder – and stir. Cook for 7-8 minutes, or until veggies become fragrant and start to soften.
- Add broth ingredients. Then add the diced tomatoes, tomato pasta, chicken broth, white beans, parmesan rind, and bay leaves. Bring to a bubbling simmer, and cook until the potatoes are fork tender, approximately 20-30 minutes. You may want to add additional salt and pepper here as well.
- Add pesto and pasta. When potatoes are just tender, add the pesto sauce and the pasta, and continue to cook until the pasta is al dente.
- Remove from heat. Remove the pot from heat, and remove the parmesan rind and the bay leaves. Add the spinach and stir until wilted.
- Serve. To serve, add some freshly grated parmesan cheese to individual bowls of soup, along with a dollop of pesto sauce (if desired). Enjoy with some crusty bread!
What is a parmesan rind?
A parmesan rind is the rind (the end part) of some authentic parmesan cheese. These have tons of parmesan flavor, but are hard to actually eat because they are hard. So think twice next time you go to toss one in the trash. Save it! Use it in all your Italian soup recipes!
Other meatless soups for you to enjoy:
Italian Minestrone Soup with Pesto
For the sauteed veggies:
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion – diced
- 3 cloves garlic – minced
- 3 large carrots – diced
- 2 medium celery stalks – diced
- 2 cups cabbage slaw mix – bagged version
- 1 medium sweet potato – peeled and diced
- 4 small yellow potatoes – diced
- 1 medium zucchini squash – diced
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste (season in layers)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
For the broth and additional ingredients:
- 30 oz. fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 4 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 6-8 cups lower-sodium chicken broth – You will need extra broth for leftovers.
- 15 oz. white beans – cannellini or other white bean, rinsed and drained
- 1 parmesan rind – optional
- 2 bay leaves – optional
- 1/2 cup basil pesto sauce – store-bought or homemade
- 1 1/4 cup orecchiette pasta – or other small pasta, such as ditalini, orzo, or small elbow
- 3 cups baby spinach leaves
- freshly grated parmesan cheese and extra basil pesto sauce – for serving
Saute the veggies:
- In a medium to large stock pot, add olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, cabbage mix, sweet potatoes, yellow potatoes, and zucchini squash. Stir and then add the seasonings – salt and pepper to taste, Italian Seasoning, and onion powder.
- Cook for approximately 7-8 minutes, or until veggies begin to soften.
Add broth ingredients:
- Next add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, 6 cups of chicken broth (add more as needed), white beans, the parmesan rind, and the bay leaves. Bring to a bubbling simmer, and continue to cook for 20-30 minutes, or until potatoes are just fork tender or slightly before.
- Then add the pesto sauce and the pasta, and cook until pasta is al dente.
- Remove from heat, and add spinach. Stir until wilted. Remove the parmesan rind and the bay leaves.
- Serve the soup with some freshly grated parmesan cheese, extra pesto sauce, and some crusty bread.
- Don’t be scared of the long ingredient list. It’s mostly just veggies!
- You will most likely need at least 8 cups of broth, as leftovers usually require a touch more.