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overhead view of minestrone soup in white bowl with pesto and parmesan topping, slice of sourdough bread, and jar of pesto, all on black background.

Minestrone Soup

Easy, healthy recipe for Italian minestrone soup is a great way to get lots of fiber, protein and veggies. This recipe makes about 3 to 4 quarts of vegetable soup!
Course Soup
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 16 cups
Calories 171kcal
Author Marie


  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion , diced
  • 2 stalks celery , diced
  • ½ cup carrots , diced
  • 2 cloves garlic , smashed and finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized zucchini , diced
  • ½ small head or cabbage or 6 cups spinach , shredded (I used Savoy cabbage) (see NOTE 1)
  • 3 cans cannelloni beans (or white navy beans) (15.5 oz cans) (see NOTE 2)
  • 1 can tomato sauce (15 oz cans) (San Marzano or Muir Glen preferred) (see NOTE 3)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz cans) (San Marzano or Muir Glen preferred)
  • 32 oz chicken broth (about 4 cups)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • basil , handful chopped

For serving

  • parmesan cheese (see NOTE 4 and NOTE 5)
  • pesto


  • Chop bacon into small pieces and heat over medium-high heat in a deep saute pan for 2 to 3 minutes until the pieces begin to cook, drain fat (can also use saute function on Instant pot)
  • Add olive oil, onion, celery, and carrots to pan and continue to cook until vegetables soften slightly, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add garlic, zucchini, and cabbage or spinach and continue cooking for another 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and basil. Raise heat and bring to a boil.
  • Immediately reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
  • When finished cooking, season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve with pesto thinned with olive oil and grated cheese.
  • Soup will thicken over time if storing or preparing in advance
  • May be cooked on stove top (as instructed above), Instant Pot (after sautéing vegetables [steps 1 and 2] use manual pressure for 12 minutes to cook soup, then quick release), or using crockpot (high for 3 hours or low for 6 to 7 hours). If using crockpot, recommendation is to saute bacon and vegetables from step 1 and 2 on stove top.



NOTE 1: Feel free to customize this soup; you can use whatever vegetable or bean you'd like provided you enjoy it. The most traditional Italian ingredients are listed in the recipe. 
NOTE 2: May use dried beans that have been cooked in place of canned to reduce sodium. 
NOTE 3: Using high-quality tomatoes is a great way to ensure this soup comes out amazing very time!
NOTE 4: May add cooked pasta and/or cooked chicken to soup; for pasta, ½ cup per serving recommended. 
NOTE 5: Consider using homemade broth, bacon (or vegan bacon), parmesan cheese, and/or a tiny bit of pesto to really improve the flavor of your minestrone!


Serving: 2cups | Calories: 171kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 501mg | Potassium: 727mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 935IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 3mg