Copycat Olive Garden Minestrone Soup — This minestrone soup recipe takes just 30 minutes to make and it’s way better than what you get at Olive Garden! Homemade always wins in my book!
Copycat Olive Garden Minestrone Soup Recipe
I have fond high school and college memories of going to Olive Garden and ordering their minestrone soup, which hits the spot on chilly winter days. And of eating a basket of breadsticks by myself. I wish I could still eat a basket of breadsticks by myself without worry.
But I can eat as much of this soup as I want. And it tastes even better than the Olive Garden version that I remember. Homemade is always best!
It’s hearty, comforting, and filled with so many healthy vegetables, including carrots, celery, zucchini, tomatoes, spinach, and sweet Vidalia onions and garlic for flavor.
There are three kinds of beans, including red kidney beans, cannellini beans, and green beans. I prefer my soup on the thicker side, but you can add more vegetable broth if you prefer it thinner.
There are also quite a few herbs used, including bay leaves, basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, and parsley.
The recipe makes a ton. It filled up my Dutch oven to the max but I love having leftovers to freeze and I can pull them out on a chilly day.
Minestrone Soup Ingredients
This quick and easy minestrone soup recipe uses quite a few easy-to-find veggies and spices.
To make this accidentally vegetarian minestrone soup recipe, you’ll need:
- Olive oil
- Vidalia onion
- Vegetable broth
- Macaroni pasta
- Petite diced tomatoes
- Herbs and spices
- Lemon juice
- Fresh spinach
- Fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper
How to Make Minestrone Soup
This recipe makes a very hearty vegetable minestrone soup. It’s perfect for planned leftovers or dinner parties when you want to feed a crowd on a budget.
Here’s an overview of how the veggie minestrone is prepared:
- Add the oil to a large Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion, zucchini, carrots, and celery, and sauté until vegetables begin to soften.
- Add the garlic and sauté for another minute or two.
- Then, add the vegetable broth, macaroni, tomatoes and juice, kidney beans, white beans, green beans, herbs and spices and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and let the mixture bubble away until the macaroni is cooked through.
- Add the spinach, parsley, and lemon juice and continue cooking until the greens are just wilted and vibrant.
- Taste the soup and add more salt if needed, then serve immediately.
Can Minestrone Soup Be Frozen?
Yes, this easy minestrone soup can be frozen for up to 6 months. I like freezing my soups in smaller mason jars, that way I can reheat individual portions as needed.
Can I Use Another Type of Pasta?
Yes, any short, sturdy pasta should work in this vegan minestrone soup recipe. Avoid long, thin pastas like spaghetti.
Tips for the Best Minestrone Soup
I used dried herbs, but fresh may be substituted to taste. If you don’t have them all on hand or aren’t as fond of a particular herb, you can probably omit it. Your soup won’t taste exactly like mine, but it’ll be close.
Also, make sure to salt your soup to taste. I use low-sodium vegetable broth and the canned tomatoes and various beans are all no-salt-added versions.
I add bit of salt to my soup so I can control the overall salt level rather than having it be a salty surprise because some canned goods are just loaded with sodium. The saltiness of ingredients varies among brands and everyone’s personal preference for salt varies, so salt to taste.
What to Serve with Minestrone Soup
You don’t really have to serve this easy minestrone with anything. Between the beans, veggies, and pasta, it’s basically a meal in itself!
However, here are some great side dishes for vegetarian minestrone:
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Easy 30-Minute Minestrone Soup (Better-Than-Olive-Garden-Copycat)
This minestrone soup recipe takes just 30 minutes to make and it's way better than what you get at Olive Garden! Homemade always wins in my book!
- 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups sweet Vidalia or yellow onion, peeled and diced small (about 1 large onion)
- 1 1/2 cups zucchini, diced small (about 1 small/medium zucchini)
- 1 1/2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced thin (about 1 1/2 large carrots)
- 1 cup celery, sliced thin (about 2 stalks)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 64 ounces (8 cups) low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cups small macaroni shells or small shell pasta
- two 14.5-ounce cans petite diced tomatoes (I use no-salt added)
- one 15-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (I use no-salt added)
- one 15-ounce can great northern white beans or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (I use no-salt added)
- one 15-ounce can cut green beans, drained and rinsed (I use no-salt added)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups fresh spinach, tightly packed
- 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, optional
- salt, to taste
- freshly grated parmesan cheese, optional and for garnishing
- To a very large Dutch oven or stockpot, add the oil and heat over medium-high heat to warm.
- Add the onion, zucchini, carrots, celery, and sauté for about 10 minutes, or until vegetables begin to soften. Stir intermittently.
- Add the garlic and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the vegetable broth, macaroni, tomatoes and juice, kidney beans, white beans, green beans, bay leaves, basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, pepper, and bring to a boil.
- Allow mixture to boil gently for about 15 minutes or until macaroni is cooked through. At any time while making the soup, if the overall liquid level is lower than you like and you prefer more broth, adding a cup or two of water or additional vegetable broth is okay. At the end you will adjust the salt level.
- Add the spinach, parsley, optional lemon juice (brightens up the flavor), and boil 1 to 2 minutes, or until spinach and parsley are wilted and vibrant.
- Taste soup and add salt to taste. I added about 1 tablespoon but this will vary based on how salty the brand of vegetable broth, tomatoes, and the various beans are, and upon personal preference.
- Make any necessary seasoning adjustments (i.e. more salt, pepper, herbs, etc.), remove the bay leaves, optionally garnish with parmesan, and serve immediately.
Soup will keep airtight in the fridge for 5 to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 522Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 5786mgCarbohydrates: 86gFiber: 16gSugar: 21gProtein: 24g
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Really good recipe. I loved it.
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad you loved it!
Made this soup this afternoon, and it is my new fave. Unbelievably delicious and hardy! The only thing I changed was, I tripled the amount of garlic, as we love garlic in my family. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe. Wonderful!
Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad this is your new fave soup!
It’s really wonderful recipe, I like it.
Wow! I made my first Minestrone and it was great! I didn’t have all the dried herbs but I did have Italian seasoning so I added that instead. Turned out very good! I also added more spinach than called for. All in all, thank you! I’m making this again and again, lol!
Thanks for the 5 star review and I’m glad you love the soup and will make it again and again!
The nutrition info said this made 14 servings, how small are the servings that it makes 14 of them?
It’s a computer generated program and it’s clearly not perfect. I would say if you’re looking for numerical values, I would probably double what it says there for you to have seven servings. However everyone’s appetites are different so it’s sometimes hard to put a number to a serving size.
Made this recipe tonight & it’s delicious! I used protein plus pasta to add even more protein & I love all the veggies in this! Perfect for this time of year too. I enjoy the minestrone soup at OG but I like this one so much more. Looking forward to trying your other recipes!
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad you like my recipe better than Olive Garden’s minestrone!
Nice to have this. I did make the pasta by itself as I want to add it fresh after I have thawed it. Good. It was a horrible day and nice to come make/eat this soup.
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad it was a nice ending to your long day.
This was delicious and easy! Will definitely make again!
Thanks for trying the recipe and glad to hear you’ll make it again!
I made this soup for dinner tonight. I used fresh green beans and chopped my zucchini in a bigger chunk (we prefer it more al dente). I used beans I had cooked from dry. I added more spinach than the recipe called for. I’m so glad I added the lemon, it shouldn’t be skipped. This makes a nice big pot. It’s delicious and I’ll make again. Thank you for the recipe!
Glad you loved it and I agree the lemon shouldn’t be skipped. I finish almost all soups with a dash of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to help balance the flavor profile. Glad you’ll make again!
It’s a great recipe Averie. I’ve made this soup and I loved it ♥.
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you!
OMG, i did this for the first time and it was divine!!! even my 2 yr old and hubby loved it (and he is not a soup eater)!!!
Quick, simple and tasty.
It is definitely a keeper in my recipe book
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! Glad it’s a keeper, even for the 2 y.o.!
Minestrone soup is my favorite! The colors and all the veggies! I’ve actually never had Olive Garden’s Minestrone soup, but I’m sure yours is much better… and prettier :)
So colorful and tasty! I’m definitely including this recipe to my household’s dietary list.
Thanks for this great recipe! I left out the spinach and zucchini and it was still incredible! Great flavor and definitely rivals the Olive Garden version. Make a double batch because your family will eat this up in days like mine did!
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! And that you gobbled it up in no time!
This soup is gorgeous and so full of yummy veggies – way better than any restaurant version! My husband and I used to go to OG all the time when we were dating and their soup was one of my favorites – along with their breadsticks :) It’s been so cold and rainy where I am so soup is all I’m craving!
I have to say it was so much better than any restaurant soup and made some minestrone lovers out of my family who didn’t think they like minestrone previously!
You can save a lot of money and control the salt even better by cooking your own beans. To hot-soak them, just put your dry beans in the pot and cover with boiling water. Put the lid on the pot and let it stand for an hour. If you have a pressure cooker, you can cook dry beans, but I find that the hot-soak method is fine. If you remember you can just soak them in cold water the night before; pour off the soaking water in either case and they’ll be much more digestible and less “fragrant”. Dry beans and split peas can be bought in bulk markets for a fraction of the cost of those cans and jars, and you control the ingredients, freshness and texture–so often I find canned beans mushy.
I miss unlimited carbs without consequences!! This soup is gorgeous. A must make – it was only 50 degrees today!
I just came in from running, couldn’t run until later because I was buried in work, and just FROZE. That sea air, so biting and chilly, and I’ve been cranking my heat like crazy!
Unlimited carbs…oh what I wouldn’t give!
Your photos though…especially second from the top….wow. :)
This looks so delicious! Perfect for a warm winter meal :)
Dani | http://www.styledvariety.com
I LOVE olive garden minestrone!! Yours looks 100000x better :) Can’t wait to make this soup now that it is getting chilly in SF!
It’s chilly in San Diego so I can only imagine how cold it is in SF!
Pass me a spoon please!! I’ve been craving soup recently, so maybe I’ll whip this up. Looks delicious!
Thanks, Brandon! It was so good and we’re finally having soup weather in San Diego!
This soup looks incredible!
I like thicker soup, too. Olive Garden’s soups are so good, but heavy on the salt–that’s the beauty of cooking it yourself–getting to control your ingredients! Plus, it makes the house smell yummy. If only I had a maid to clean up after me!
After you’re done with your maid, send her over to my kitchen. You wouldn’t believe how I can destroy a kitchen after cooking, and then a photo shoot!
And the salt in most restaurant soups is bonkers! I really won’t eat soup when I’m out anymore because I drink water like a camel for 2 days!
Oh, I LOVE the OG’s Minestrone soup! And the breadsticks, obviously. I used to get the soup/salad there all the time. I got it so often, I’d notice little differences, like sometimes the soup had pasta, sometimes it didn’t. Sometimes there were kidney and white beans, sometimes just kidney. At least it is probably homemade, right? Or maybe they forget to add things? Who knows.
I need to make some!
Isn’t it funny when you go to certain restaurants so often that you notice what’s missing or different? I’m not surprised that they had some ‘variances’ in their soup.
Those breadsticks. I could eat those things forever and never get sick of them!
It’s been years since I’ve had minestrone and yours looks much more vibrant than a restaurant version! I’ve never made it so this is a great idea for something different. A big pot of hearty soup with leftovers is such a tasty convenience!
It had been years since I had it too and when I told my family what I was going to make they were less than excited. My daughter never had had minestrone and other reactions included, ‘I don’t like minestone, never have.’ So I had an uphill battle before I even started it! But everyone turned out to love it and it’s one of my daughter’s new all-time favorites now!
So I’m totally loving all the colors in this soup and how it is packed with veggies! You are so right, it looks hearty and delicious, this one would fill me up for sure. Tis’ the season for soup soup soup and this soup is going on my list of makes ASAP!
I loved the colors in this soup too!
I love a good bowl of soup…nothing beats it. I can’t eat at Olive Garden because everything just tastes way too salty for me but making this soup at home is definitely going to happen…love all those yummy vegs.
I was just replying to someone else that the salt in most restaurant soups is crazy through the roof! I really won’t eat soup when I’m out anymore because I drink water like a camel for 2 days!
If you make this, let me know!