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.