An Italian minestrone soup is a classic for any time of the year, but a hot bowlful of this rich red soup — a one-pot meal, really, packed chock full with veggies and beans and pasta — is a special treat in winter. A vegan, soy-free, nut-free and gluten-free recipe, can be oil-free.
Minestrone is one of those soups I cook year round, but I especially love cooking a big pot of it in winter, when I most crave something warm and comforting in a bowl for dinner.
A classic minestrone is a thick soup with veggies, beans and pasta, all cooked together in one pot. While it is usually vegetarian, it can sometimes contain a meat stock. Some people also serve it with a sprinkling of parmesan.
But it is by no means a difficult soup to veganize and all you need to do is swap out the meat stock with a good, favorful vegetable stock and — if you need the cheese — replace it with cashew parm.
This is indeed an easy soup to make and love. I usually cook it on the weekend and eat it all week with nothing more than some Italian bread to dip in.
Jay too likes it — it’s one of the few soups I can actually get him to eat, because he loves anything tomato-ey — so I suppose I can safely say it’s kid-friendly too.
Tips for making a delicious vegan minestrone soup:
My minestrone recipe is quite traditional, and it’s quite straightforward. I use the classic mirepoix of onions, celery and carrots, stir in green beans and cabbage, and then add beans and pasta. Here are some tips and tricks for making a really delicious soup:
- Chop your veggies in a fine dice. Shred the cabbage in fine shreds. Your veggies should not be much bigger than the cooked beans.
- You can use any veggie that cooks fairly quickly. Bell peppers would be fine here, I really like green bell peppers for the savory taste they add. Summer or winter squash is also great.
- I usually use white beans in my minestrone, like cannelini or navy beans, but use any bean that takes your fancy. Pinto beans, kidney beans and even chickpeas are fine here.
- I use orzo pasta in here because Desi loves it, but any small sized pasta is fine. Ditalini is widely used in minestrone and is great here. Small orecchiette or shells or elbows work just as well. Use gluten-free to make this recipe gf, but wholegrain or regular is fine as well.
- I love using San Marzano tomatoes in any recipe where you will really, really taste the tomatoes, just because they are so flavorful. I especially love them in this minestrone, so try and use them if you have them. Otherwise use any canned plum tomatoes. You will also need some tomato paste.
- Use a good quality vegetable stock in your minestrone, it makes all the difference.
- You need just some finely chopped parsley or basil for a garnish, but if you love sprinkling some cheese on, cashew parm tastes divine with this soup.
- This is a low-calorie soup and very healthy, but if you want to avoid any added fats, you can skip the olive oil and begin your recipe with vegetable stock.
- Bay leaf
- Green beans
- Vegetable stock
- Canned plum tomatoes (San Marzano are great, but any plum tomatoes work)
- Tomato paste
- Parsley (optional)
Looking for more vegan soup recipes?
- Vegan Leek and Potato Soup
- Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup
- Detox Turmeric Ginger Miso Soup
- Garlic Rasam, an aromatic South Indian Lentil Soup
- Mushroom and Wild Rice Bisque
Vegan | Gluten-Free | Nut-Free | Soy-Free
- Large stockpot
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (if you want to make this oil-free, use 1/4 cup vegetable stock instead of the oil)
- 1 large yellow onion (finely diced)
- 3 stalks celery (finely diced)
- 1 large carrot (finely diced)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 cups green beans (chopped)
- 2 cups cabbage (finely shredded)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp basil (if using fresh basil, use approx 2 tbsp of torn or chopped basil leaves)
- 28 oz plum tomatoes (canned. Pour into a bowl and crush whole tomatoes with your fingers. Use San Marzano tomatoes for a really nice color and flavor)
- 2 heaping tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp paprika (optional, adds nice color and flavor)
- 28 oz white beans (or kidney beans or pinto beans)
- 5-6 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup orzo (use gluten-free orzo or any small pasta)
- Salt and ground black pepper
- Parsley for garnish
- Cashew parmesan (for serving, optional)
- Heat the oil in a large stockpot (or stock if making this oil-free) and add the onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions become soft and translucent. You don't want to brown them.
- Add the green beans and cabbage along with the oregano and basil. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, paprika and beans and mix well. Add five cups of stock and bring to a boil.
- Once the liquid boils, add the uncooked orzo or any pasta you're using to the pot, cover and cook for 7-8 minutes or until the pasta is cooked. Thin out with more stock, if needed — minestrone is quite thick, but you can adjust the consistency to your liking. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.
- Serve hot in bowls with an Italian bread or by itself. Garnish with chopped parsley or cashew parmesan, as desired.