This colorful easy vegan minestrone soup — full of healthy veggies like carrots, leeks, cherry tomatoes and peas— can be made in just 30 minutes. Perfect for those end of summer cooler evenings.
Why you'll love this summer minestrone soup
- This recipe does not contain beans or pasta which is perfect for those on Whole30 or keto diets.
- This delicious soup is Whole30, paleo, keto, gluten-free, grain free, dairy free, sugar free, clean eating, real food (and of course, vegan!).
- This minestrone easily comes together using with your end of summer bounty (if you have a green thumb!). They are easily found at your local favorite market or green market. Mine typically start mine with onions, celery and carrots. I add in next whatever is in season and delicious.
Originally published in September 2019 and updated on March, 2023.
When we were in Italy just recently, my mother-in-law was making her minestrone with what they just gathered from their gorgeous garden.
My father-in-law wakes up every morning at the crack of dawn to head over to the garden to do his work. He has to make it out before the scorching summer sun hits. In the fall, he could go even later in the morning to pick out their potatoes and other root vegetables.
We know that most of you are experiencing those first crisp nights. The temperatures may be dropping just a little for you. Sad to say that in south Florida we are only experiencing those September breezes from tropical storms and hurricanes passing nearby. But there is the hope of fall around the corner. And this end of summer soup is just what we need to find comfort during stressful moments. So perfect to enjoy on those busy back to school nights.
These are the ingredients you need to make this delicious Italian summer soup:
- extra-virgin olive oil
- leeks (use onions if you don't have leeks on hand)
- yellow squash
- fresh thyme (or rosemary)
- cherry tomatoes sliced in half
- vegetable stock stock or water I used vegetable stock
- peas ( fresh or frozen)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
How do you make a Vegan Minestrone?
The first step to make this very easy end of Summer Minestrone begins with heating the extra-virgin olive oil in a Dutch oven or large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the leeks (or onion), celery and yellow squash to the pan. Saute' and cook for a few minutes.
Next step is to add in the cherry tomatoes and they are cooked for another few minutes.
The final step is to add in the vegetable broth (you could use water if you don't have broth or bouillon) and bring to a simmer. In the final minutes of cooking, the carrots and peas get added in. IF you are using pasta, you could also add them in at the end of cooking. IF you are using riced cauliflower or zucchini noodles to keep Whole30/Low-carb, add in the end. The whole thing comes together in less than 30 minutes!
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Which vegetables are best to use for this Summer Minestrone?
We used the vegetables were on hand that is loved by all. Feel free to mix up this soup and make your own using whatever end of vegetables you encounter in your market or that you may what you may have in the garden. We usually add spinach (fresh or frozen) to most of our minestrone, as the kids love it.
What pasta could be added into this Italian soup?
IF you are not following a Whole30, low carb diet, you could use orzo, ditalini or even broken up spaghetti. It’s even perfect as it is without any pasta.
And to keep it low-carb/Whole30 friendly, add in riced cauliflower or zucchini noodles.
This is a favorite vegan soup that is always on rotation all year round with whatever is in season.
- Use high-quality extra-virgin olive oil: Since olive oil is a key ingredient in this recipe, using high-quality oil can make a big difference in the flavor of the finished soup. Look for oil that is labeled "extra-virgin" and has a fruity, robust flavor.
- Sweat the leeks and celery: When sautéing the leeks and celery, be sure to cook them slowly over low heat until they are soft and translucent. This will help release their flavors and create a flavorful base for the soup.
- Add the vegetables in stages: To ensure that all the vegetables are cooked to the right degree of tenderness, add them to the pot in stages, starting with the ones that take the longest to cook (such as carrots) and ending with the ones that cook quickly (such as peas).
- Use fresh thyme or rosemary: Adding fresh herbs to the soup can really enhance the flavor. If you don't have thyme, you can use rosemary or another herb of your choice.
- Adjust the seasoning: Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Keep in mind that the amount of salt you need will depend on how salty your stock is.
- Use vegetable stock for a vegan version: If you want to make this soup vegan, use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. This will give the soup a rich, savory flavor without any animal products.
- Serve with crusty bread: To make a complete meal out of the soup, serve it with some crusty bread on the side. This will help soak up the flavorful broth and make the meal more satisfying.
Storing and Freezing Instructions for a traditional minestrone
Storing and freezing are two important aspects of food preservation that can help extend the shelf life of soups like minestrone. Here are some tips:
- Allow the soup to cool to room temperature before storing it.
- Transfer the soup to an airtight container, such as a plastic or glass container with a tight-fitting lid.
- Label the container with the date and contents.
- Store the soup in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
- Allow the soup to cool to room temperature before freezing it.
- Transfer the soup to a freezer-safe container, such as a resealable plastic bag or a freezer-safe container with a tight-fitting lid.
- Label the container with the date and contents.
- Store the soup in the freezer for up to 3-4 months.
- When ready to eat, thaw the soup in the refrigerator overnight, or use the defrost function on your microwave.
It's important to note that when reheating frozen soup, it's best to do so on the stovetop over low heat, stirring occasionally until heated through. Avoid using high heat, as it can cause the soup to scorch or burn. Additionally, if the soup has been frozen for a long time and has developed freezer burn or an off-flavor, it's best to discard it rather than risk eating spoiled food.
Substitutions/Variations for authentic minestrone
- Leeks: If you don't have leeks, you can use a regular onion instead. Simply chop the onion into small pieces and sauté it with the celery as directed.
- Yellow squash: If you don't have yellow squash, you can use zucchini instead. Simply chop the zucchini into small pieces and add it to the pot with the other vegetables.
- Thyme: If you don't have fresh thyme, you can use dried thyme instead. Use about half the amount of dried thyme as the recipe calls for fresh.
- Stock or water: If you don't have stock on hand, you can use water instead. Just keep in mind that the soup will have a milder flavor if you use water.
- Peas: If you don't have fresh or frozen peas, you can use another vegetable instead, such as green beans or chopped spinach.
- Add protein: To make the soup more filling, you can add some protein such as cooked chicken, tofu, or beans. Simply add the protein to the pot when you add the other vegetables and cook until heated through.
- Make it spicy: If you like your soup spicy, you can add some red pepper flakes or diced jalapeño to the pot.
- Add grains: To make the soup more hearty, you can add some grains such as quinoa or barley. Simply cook the grains separately according to the package instructions, then add them to the pot with the other vegetables.
- Use different herbs: Instead of thyme or rosemary, you can use other herbs such as oregano, basil, or parsley.
- Make it creamy: To make the soup creamy, you can add a splash of heavy cream or coconut milk at the end of cooking. This will give the soup a rich, velvety texture.
Vegetable soup and minestrone are similar in that they both contain a variety of vegetables, but minestrone usually includes beans and pasta, whereas vegetable soup may not. Additionally, minestrone typically has a tomato-based broth, while vegetable soup may have a clear broth or a creamy base.
There are several ways to add richness to vegan soup. One way is to use vegetable broth instead of water as the base. Another option is to add coconut milk or cashew cream to the soup. Nutritional yeast can also be added for a cheesy flavor.
Minestrone is a hearty Italian soup that typically includes vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions, and potatoes, as well as beans, pasta, and sometimes meat or sausage.
The main difference between minestrone and vegetable soup is the addition of beans and pasta to minestrone, as well as its tomato-based broth. Vegetable soup may have a clear broth or a creamy base, and it may or may not contain pasta or beans.
The name "minestrone" comes from the Italian word "minestra," which means soup. Minestrone soup has been a popular dish in Italy for centuries and has since spread around the world.
Minestrone soup is a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It is also low in fat and calories, making it a healthy choice for those watching their weight.
Whether or not minestrone soup contains potatoes depends on the recipe. Some versions may include potatoes, while others may not.
Yes, minestrone soup typically contains pasta, often in the form of small shells or macaroni. However, the amount and type of pasta used can vary depending on the recipe.
Other soup recipes we enjoy:
- Kale and Chickpea Coup (so hearty!)
- Zuppa di Fagioli (Italian bean soup) is delightful on cooler fall evenings.
- Paprika Cauliflower Soup-Karfiol Leves
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- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 2 leeks washed and thinly sliced use an onion if you don’t have leeks
- 3 celery stalks chopped
- 2 small yellow squash cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (or rosemary)
- 1 cup of cherry tomatoes sliced in half
- 4-6 cups stock or water I used vegetable stock
- 4 carrots peeled thinly sliced lengthwise (you could use a mandoline)
- 1 cup peas you could use fresh or frozen. I used frozen from fresh that I had in my freezer
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, celery, yellow squash, and thyme. Cook 2-3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook 3-4 more minutes; season with salt and pepper.
- Add stock or water and bring to a simmer (start with 4 or 5 cups of stock. Depending on how thick you want your minestrone, add another cup if you want it less thick). Cook simmering, covered, for 10 minutes (leave the lid slightly off the pan and keep checking and stirring to make sure it doesn’t boil too much).
- If you are adding orzo or a broken pieces of a thin spaghetti, bring soup to a boil and add them in now. When the pasta is almost done, add in the peas. If you aren’t adding pasta to the soup, keep the soup on a simmer and add in the carrots and peas and cook for about 10 minutes (or until the peas are tender).
- If you did add the pasta, cook until the pasta is al dente (it will keep cooking in the soup because it is very hot, so check to make sure it doesn’t become too mushy).
- Adjust seasonings and serve immediately. Could be served with chopped fresh Italian parsley (leaves only). Garnish with additional thyme (optional).
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information presented below is an approximation and may vary depending on the exact ingredients used.
I love how fully loaded with veggies this soup is! Great way to make use of what I have leftover in the fridge too.
This recipe is just what I've been looking for thank you for sharing.
Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert says
I'm drooling this is everything I love!
Sara Welch says
Love this classic recipe! I am adding this to my dinner line up for the week! Looks amazing!