One Pot Vegan Green Minestrone
Minestrone is a classic Italian hearty vegetable, bean and pasta soup that is wonderful on a cold day. I already have a very delicious classic minestrone soup recipe on the blog but not a green minestrone soup. It is perfect for the spring utilizing all the tasty spring green veggies and perfect for those rainy days of spring that warrant a warm bowl of soup - spring comfort food. Minestrone, this spring minestrone soup version included - is really easy to make vegan (I even included an easy vegan pesto recipe below) but if you prefer making it with all the classic minestrone add ins like pancetta, Parmesan rind and cheese for a non vegan version you absolutely can. I just love the idea using loads of green veggies and greens in soup. You all know how much I love my greens so this was the perfect soup for me to get on the blog, easily made vegetarian/vegan and a soup that any one will enjoy not only someone who is vegan. Plus I’m pretty much done with winter and wanted something green and something spring like on the blog, but hearty enough because although spring has sprung- spring-like weather is still several weeks away here in Canada. This recipe was originally created in partnership with GoGo Quinoa, an awesome Canadian company. I used GoGo Quinoa Lentil & Quinoa Rotini loaded with protein and fiber in this minestrone recipe and I also made with with regular pasta too as you can see from the updated photos - both work beautifully so feel free to use any short pasta you like.
Minestrone Soup Recipe Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make this minestrone soup recipe:
- Pancetta - it adds so much flavour. You could use bacon in its place or even Italian sausage, or ground turkey. If you are keeping this a vegetarian minestrone soup or vegan just leave out.
- Potatoes - I like to using Yukon gold potatoes but you can easily substitute with sweet potato, or any variety of potato you like
- Onion, carrot, and celery – These vegetables create the aromatic base of the soup, known as a soffritto in Italian also known as mirepoix. They get sautéed in with the olive oil and the pancetta before adding the other ingredients. Feel free to add in a pinch of oregano too if you prefer. Feel free to omit the carrot if you wanted to keep this strictly green
- Green beans - they are perfect in the soup and these could easily be replaced with asparagus or you could do a bit of both
- Green peas - perfect addition of colour texture and extra protein too - feel free to use fresh shelled peas or frozen
- Zucchini - feel free to add as little or as much as you like - my go to is about 2 small or medium ones or you could use yellow squash or any summer squash
- Garlic – It adds additional depth of flavor to the soup.I always use fresh. Add as little or as much as you like.
- Finley chopped tomatoes – For sweet, tangy flavor. I like to use a green tomato or a unripe one or I have even used a couple of small tomatillos too - feel free to use a regular ripe tomato
- White beans – Navy beans, cannellini beans, chickpeas and red kidney beans all work great! Canned is easiest but feel free to cook your own if you prefer.
- Broth – chicken broth or vegetable broth works well. Use store-bought, or homemade
- Bay leaves, rosemary, sage and thyme – this is my favourite blend and I use fresh herbs but you can easily use dried as well. You can also use a store-bought blend of Italian seasoning as well and use as little or as much as you prefer.
- Small pasta – I like to use elbows, little shells, rotini, orecchiette, or ditalini. I like to cook it right in the soup so that it releases its starches into the broth, making it a one pot meal. I use gluten free. if you wanted to swap the pasta for a grain feel free to use farro, barley or even pearled couscous. You may have to precook the grains.
- Fresh parsley and Fresh Basil - for the soup and for garnish - I like to do a blend of both but feel free to chose which fresh herb you like best
- Red pepper flakes – Optional, for heat.
- Parmesan cheese – This salty, umami garnish takes the soup over the top. I also like to add in a piece of parmesan rind to the soup as it simmers for extra flavour. Leave out for the vegan version
- Greens - I love to use fresh spinach or kale. You can also add in frozen if that Is what you have.
- Other veggies to add: chopped broccoli florets or shredded cabbage - you really could add just about any veggie you like. I like to use Napa or savoy but any green cabbage would work. You can substitute it for fennel too.
Tips, Make ahead, Storage & Freezing Instructions:
- Don’t simmer the soup for too long or it will overcook the pasta. When you are using a small cut of pasta like ditalini or small shells, they are going to cook super quick in the soup. It will only take a few minutes - 5 at the most - to get the pasta perfectly al dente. If you prefer to cook the pasta separately you definitely can just add it in before serving. That being said whether you add it before or after its cooked it will continue to swell or absorb liquid as it sits in the soup, so you will definitely need to add more broth when reheating.
- Switch up the veggies based on your family’s taste! Fresh or frozen works. Just keep the ratios the same and it will taste delicious!
- A Note about the Pasta: do not add the pasta in the soup too soon, to avoid super soft and mushy pasta. Some people cook the pasta separately and add it in to each serving bowl they dish the veggie broth into. That is a great idea and if you are really nervous about your pasta going too soft, that may be a great option for you. But in order for me to keep this a one-pot meal, I added the pasta to the pot at the last few minutes of cooking time, knowing that the pasta will still cook even after the pot is off the heat. The texture of the pasta was just perfect as I served it out.
- Make Ahead: This soup is a delicious meal prep recipe idea because it just gets better with time so you can definitely make it ahead of time. If you know you’ll be enjoying the soup at a later date, you can cook the pasta a minute or two less than al dente as the noodles will continue to soak up the liquid as it sits, or cook it separately and add it in when you serve it.
- Storage: This minestrone soup will stay good in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Freezing: You can freeze this easy minestrone soup for up to 3 months in an airtight container. But - if you’re planning to freeze this soup, I do not recommend adding the pasta. The frozen pasta doesn’t hold up well when it’s reheated in the soup. If you know you’ll be freezing this soup, leave out the pasta when cooking it. Then when you reheat and serve the soup, add cooked pasta into each serving.
- Reheating: If thawing from frozen, allow to thaw in the fridge overnight. Then reheat soup stove top. You will likely need to add a little extra broth or water when reheating.
I love to serve my minestrone soup with a dollop or a swirl of pesto in it along with some crusty bread. I make my pesto with any greens I may have. This one I made with baby spinach but the classic basil pesto version is always great too. It adds even more flavour to the soup and makes it even more luscious. I have the simplest pesto recipe bellow that is just wonderful in anything you would use pesto in - pizza, pasta…..etc, and bonus for this recipe - you add more greens to an already green soup.
If you are looking for a way to switch up your minestrone, this is it. Not only is it healthy and full of veggies and greens, but simple to make, super flavourful and filling.
This post is in partnership with GoGo Quinoa. All thoughts and views are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that make Olive & Mango possible.
If you loved this veggie loaded soup, be sure to check out these ones:
- Lemony Lentil Soup
- Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
- Kale and White Bean Soup
- Easy Cream of Mushroom Soup
- A Simple Way to Make Vegetable Soup
- Greekstyle Chickpea Stew with Dumplings (Revithosoupa)
- Classic Minestrone Soup
- One Pot Borlotti Bean and Pasta Stew With Butternut Squash and Sage Pesto (Pasta e Fagioli)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4-5 ounces pancetta, thick cut prosciutto or bacon, chopped (omit for vegan version)
- 1 medium leek cleaned and sliced or 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 3 ribs celery, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped (optional if you want to keep everything strictly green)
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 2 small to medium zucchini, diced
- 2 Yukon gold potatoes peeled and diced
- 1 green tomato or regular tomato chopped
- 1-2 teaspoons chopped fresh herbs like thyme sage or rosemary
- ½ teaspoon dried chili flakes (optional)
- ¼ cup white wine (optional)
- 8 cups broth/stock, vegetable stock for vegan version or chicken broth
- 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
- 1 one-inch Parmesan cheese rind (optional - leave out for vegan version)
- 1½ cups rotini pasta or 1 cup ditalini pasta
- 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed, (cannellini or chickpeas)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 cup green beans or asparagus trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (approx ½ a pound)
- 1 cup fresh shelled peas or frozen
- 8-10 ounces fresh spinach coarsely chopped, or any other dark greens like Swiss chard, or Tuscan Kale, stems removed
- ¼ cup fresh chopped herbs, I use fresh chopped parsley and fresh basil plus more for serving
- 2 tablespoons of homemade or store bought pesto plus more for serving (simple vegan pesto recipe below)
- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Romano, for serving (optional- leave out for vegan version)
- Lemon wedges or freshly squeezed lemon juice for serving
- Heat olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat
- Add pancetta or bacon and cook and sauté until browned and crisp 5-7 min if using (omit for vegan version)
- Add leeks or onions, celery, carrots, garlic, potatoes, tomatoes zucchini, spices, bay leaf to the pot. Season vegetables with salt and pepper, to your taste. Saute vegetables 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in wine if using and cook for addition minute until reduced scraping bottom of pot to release any brown bits
- Add the broth, bay leaf and parmesan rind if adding and bring to a boil then reduce heat slightly to a simmer and simmer until veggies are just about tender 8-10 min
- Add pasta, white beans and green beans to the soup and cook 5-8 minutes, or until pasta is just tender or cooked Al dente.
- Stir in peas, and spinach to wilt, 1 minute.
- Stir in pesto and ladle soup into bowls.
- Top soup with chopped fresh herbs and serve with grated Parmesan cheese, lemon wedges and extra pesto
- One bunch of kale/basil/spinach
- ¼ cup almonds/pine nuts
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves
- salt / pepper
- Blend all ingredients together in a food processor or high speed blender until a smooth, green paste forms.
- Season with salt and pepper and thin out to your preferred consistency with a little more olive oil.
Adapted from The Food Network, The Kitchn and Cook Republic