Easy 30-Minute Minestrone Soup (Better-Than-Olive-Garden-Copycat)

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

To make this copycat Olive Garden minestrone soup recipe, you’ll need: 

  • Olive oil
  • Vidalia onion
  • Zucchini
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • Vegetable broth
  • Macaroni pasta
  • Petite diced tomatoes
  • Beans
  • Herbs and spices
  • Lemon juice
  • Fresh spinach
  • Fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper

How to Make Minestrone Soup

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 I Freeze Minestrone Soup? 

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 minestrone soup recipe. Avoid long, thin pastas like spaghetti. 

Tips for Making This Minestrone Soup Recipe

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.

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!

Yield: 12 to 14 cups
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

    1. To a very large Dutch oven or stockpot, add the oil and heat over medium-high heat to warm.
    2. Add the onion, zucchini, carrots, celery, and sauté for about 10 minutes, or until vegetables begin to soften. Stir intermittently.
    3. Add the garlic and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Make any necessary seasoning adjustments (i.e. more salt, pepper, herbs, etc.), remove the bay leaves, optionally garnish with parmesan, and serve immediately.

Notes

Soup will keep airtight in the fridge for 5 to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 522 Total Fat: 10g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 7g Cholesterol: 1mg Sodium: 5786mg Carbohydrates: 86g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 16g Sugar: 21g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 24g

More Easy Soup Recipes: 

Easy 30-Minute Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup — Classic, comforting, and tastes just like grandma made but way easier and faster! This soup is amazing and it’ll be your new favorite recipe!

Easy 30-Minute Homemade Chicken Tortellini Soup — A fun spin on classic chicken noodle soup using cheese tortellini! Fast, easy, comfort food that just hits the spot! You’ll make it over and over again!

Easy 30-Minute Homemade Chicken Tortilla Soup — Chicken, tomatoes, corn, black beans, avocado, cheese, and addictively crunchy tortilla strips! Fast, easy weeknight meal, and better than from a restaurant!!

Easy 30-Minute Homemade White Chicken Chili — Hearty, healthy, loaded with tender chicken, and packed with bold flavor! Fast and easy comfort food that everyone loves! It’ll be on rotation all winter!

Loaded Cheesy Chicken Potato Chowder — Potatoes, chicken, carrots, corn and more! Thick, creamy, rich, and wonderfully cheesy! Fast and easy comfort food that everyone loves!

The Best Broccoli Cheese Soup (Better-Than-Panera Copycat) – Make the best soup of your life at home in 1 hour! Beyond words amazing!

Creamy Tomato Soup (vegan, GF) – Panera copycat that’s fast, easy, and healthy!

Skinny Carrot Potato Soup with Honey Cream — Healthy, hearty, fast, and easy! Packed with flavor and you’ll never miss the fat and calories!

Immune-Boosting Vegetable Soup and Broth – (vegan, GF) – Easy soup that’s healthy, nourishing, and keeps you healthy!  Bye-bye germs!