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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- 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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