This minestrone soup with parmesan croutons is a great vegetarian soup that’s hearty and makes a perfect lunch or dinner (that freezes well too!)
You can even make this minestrone soup gluten free by using a gluten free pasta or even rice or quinoa. Plus, this is an affordable meal option because you use in-season vegetables, plus basic pantry ingredients. It’s as simple as that! Another affordable vegetarian soup option? This tomato white bean and noodle soup!
What ingredients do you need to make minestrone soup?
- Yellow onion
- Cannellini beans – if you prefer black beans or garbanzo beans, that’s great too!
- Tomato sauce
- Vegetable broth – you can use any broth or even just water if you’d prefer
- Dried oregano
- Dried thyme
- Whole wheat elbow macaroni – or other grain such as rice, barley or orzo. Whole wheat noodles hold together better than regular noodles.
*Note: you can use any vegetables that you have on-hand/are in-season. You just want to be sure you use a total of 2 cups. For this recipe, I used eggplant and zucchini (and this pan). The onion, carrot, celery are the mirepiox and are the base to most great soups. A few ideas of other produce you could use: sweet potatoes, celery root or kohlrabi.
While this soup is a great vegetarian recipe, you can certainly beef it up a bit by adding your favorite meat. I would suggest an Italian sausage or kielbasa (like in this sausage and sweet potato soup). Plus you can use a chicken or beef broth if you feel so inclined. But, I promise, this soup is so hearty, you would never miss the meat!
Soup makes a great gift; especially one that freezes well like this one. I love making this for new moms. All I do is put everything everything except noodles in a freezer bag and then add a label with instructions:
- “Add 4 cups water and put in slow cooker. 7 Hours on low, add noodles last 1/2 hr. Or make via stovetop in a big pot, add noodles last 15 min.”
If you’re freezing this soup to enjoy at home, I would just take the block out of the freezer and put it in the slow cooker. Or you could put it in a big pot to warm it up. Add noodles at the end.
This minestrone soup is hearty and filling on its own, but if you want to make it even better, top it with parmesan croutons!! They are the perfect accompaniment. If you’re skipping the bread, just add shredded parmesan cheese to the soup. But, I promise, the croutons take this minestrone soup to the next level!
If you’ve never made croutons, let me tell you: they’re super simple to make! You can make them via oven or stovetop. You just mix together bread chunks, olive oil, garlic salt and shredded parmesan cheese. Then bake for 10 minutes. Yum!
Another great soup dipper is an amazing cheesy corn bread stick – recipe coming soon to the SweetPhi blog!
And if you’re wondering what makes this minestrone soup with parmesan croutons better than other recipes? Well, it’s the rich flavor in the tomato sauce! I prefer that richness, as opposed to diced tomatoes, which can tend to be slightly watery. Using tomato sauce makes for a rich flavored broth in this wonderful soup!
Minestrone Soup with Parmesan Croutons
- 2 Tbs. Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 medium carrots diced
- 2 medium celery stalks diced
- 1 small zucchini diced
- 1 small eggplant diced (or use a total of 2 zucchini and no eggplant)
- 1 can cannellini beans 15 oz. can, drained and lightly rinsed
- 2 cans tomato sauce 15 oz. each can
- 4-6 cups vegetable broth or chicken or beef broth
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- 1 cup whole wheat elbow macaroni or other grain like rice, barley or orzo
For the croutons
- 4 cups Italian bread use heaping cup fulls or 1/2 loaf, cut into cubes
- 4 glugs extra virgin olive oil or about 4 tbs
- 1 tsp. garlic salt
- 1 cup parmesan cheese finely shredded
To make the soup
- Cook extra virgin olive oil, onion and garlic for 3 minutes. Add in carrots, celery, zucchini and eggplant and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add in all other ingredients except for the pasta; bring to a boil. Boil for about 10 minutes. Turn heat to low, add in elbow macaroni and add lid and cook for 10-15 minutes, until pasta is al dente.
- Remove from heat and serve.
To make parmesan croutons
- Preheat oven to 375.
- In a bowl mix bread cubes, a few glugs olive oil (about 4 Tbs worth) and shredded parmesan cheese. Stir to combine. Spread out on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 10 minutes, stir/flip halfway. Croutons are done when outside of the bread cubes are starting to brown. Allow to cool and then serve with soup.
Linda Bick says
I love all soups! Another favorite is chicken tortilla!
I love all soups too, so hard to choose!!
Naomi Winkel says
I love to make potatoe soup. You put cream cheese in the soup toward the end and cheese and it is so yummy.
Yum, I love a good potato soup too!
Jann M. says
How can I pick just one favorite? Split pea with ham, vegetable, butternut squash with apples and carrots. Yummy all. My mom made a lot of homemade soups when I was a kid that I probably didn’t appreciate enough at the time. Yet for some reason, she never made chicken noodle soup and when I went off to live on my own, it was the first soup I taught myself to make and one of the easiest. And one I am always sure to finish to the last bowl full. I never make it exactly the same but it is always delicious so I guess I will pick this as my favorite. Love your column, your recipes, your adorable kids, and your book suggestions!!!
Thank you so much for your lovely comment Jann, really appreciate it – and all those soups your mom made sound amazing!
It’s tough to pick a favorite—Chicken with Wild Rice is one, I love an authentic bowl of New England Clam Chowder too.
It’s so hard to choose a favorite soup, I agree! I love both those!!
Kathryn Lambert says
Hello Phi, I so enjoy reading your recipes and the photos of your children are so sweet!
My favorite soup that I enjoy cooking, is my Carrot Asian Soup. Onions and carrots and either water or chicken broth, and turn up the flavors with sautéed garlic and ginger and you purée it in a food processor (I use several batches) and you add in peanut butter and lime juice and you add 1% milk to smooth it all out. I often add a little hot spice to it. The great thing is there is practically no fat (except for the olive oil and the peanut butter) and the flavors work either in a hot bowl of soup or in a cold bowl of soup. I prefer warm soup. I love making this in the fall! Perfect for Halloween parties or a fall dinner. Easy to make and it’s delicious! I guess with low-fat coconut soup easily available people who are vegan could try that instead of milk.
I love your photos of this veggie soup. Looks yummy.
Best to you and your family,
Thank you so much for the lovely comment and sharing that delicious soup, it sounds so incredibly delicious!
Jennifer Joyce says
My favorite soup is one handed down by my mother-in-law. Her chicken cheese soup is the entire family’s favorite. My children and grandchildren don’t want any other soup!
Kim Henrichs says
I love a good chicken tortilla soup!!!
Oh yum, I haven’t had a good chicken tortilla soup in ages, now I’m craving it!
Amy Cooley says
There probably isn’t a soup I don’t like! It’s the perfect meal. I found a recipe for potato soup that uses frozen hash browns and it’s so yummy. That’s my current favorite soup.
I love soups in the fall and winter too, any and all 😉
Denise L says
I love pasta fagioli soup – so easy to make. And the whole family loves it.
Yum, so good (and affordable too!)
Susan Craig says
Hard to pick a favorite soup! My current favorite is a roasted tomato soup. I roast a jalapeno with the tomatoes so the soup has some kick.
Oh I love the sound of that added kick! Sounds delicious
Monica M says
This time of year I like Butternut Squash Soup, with Tomato Soup coming in a close second. I am not a big soup lover, but after not having it all summer, I look forward to it – with the cooler weather coming.
Butternut squash is one of my favorites (as of last year, when I made some and all the kids loved it so I kept making it, so great with a grilled cheese)
Mary W says
My favorite soup is Scotch Broth Soup traditionally made with lamb. I love lamb in a soup!
Nancy S. says
Your minestrone soup looks delish. My favorite soups are Italian wedding and spinach bisque.
My fave soup is French Onion…that someone else makes for me 🙂
Love that answer, and couldn’t agree more…that someone else makes!