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Healthy, hearty and delicious, this Italian Minestrone Soup will quickly become a weekly family staple. It’s loaded with vegetables, can be easily adapted a million different ways, couldn’t be easier to make and cooks in under 30 minutes. Keep things Paleo and grain-free with some cassava orzo, or add your favourite pasta and some grated Parmigiano Reggiano overtop for something a bit more indulgent.

Easy Minestrone Soup with grated parmigiano reggiano cheese and chile flakes

What is Minestrone Soup?

Minestrone is a hearty Italian soup, typically made with a variety of vegetables. The word derives from the Italian “minestra,” which is generally used to describe watery soups containing pasta, rice or beans. The combination of ingredients used in an Italian Minestrone Soup changes from family to family and season to season. In the spring, it’s common to add peas and asparagus. In the winter, heartier vegetables like cauliflower, kale and cabbage are used.

Just like the ingredients, everyone has their own technique for making minestrone. Sometimes the mirepoix (diced carrots, celery and onion) is first sautéed in olive oil alongside fresh garlic and tomato before the broth, vegetable medley and pasta are added. Other times, the vegetables are slowly boiled all together with no sautéing at all.

There are those who like to flavour the soup with herbs like basil and oregano, and there are others who choose to use potatoes instead of pasta. No matter the combination, Italian Minestrone Soup is a delicious, nutritious and easy recipe that will please a crowd. It’s also a great way to clear out your fridge and reduce waste!

Easy Minestrone Soup Paleo, Gluten-Free

Ingredients You Need for this Italian Minestrone Soup

  1. Aromatics: A combination of diced carrots, celery and onion (AKA mirepoix) form the flavour base of this minestrone. You can experiment with other aromatics depending on the season. For example, use fennel instead of celery or leek instead of onion. You can also add all of the above along with some bell pepper. The options are endless.
  2. Vegetables: The vegetables I use in my minestrones constantly changes depending on the season and what I have in my fridge. This time I added some chopped fresh spinach and asparagus, but I often add zucchini. Feel free to use whatever you like or have on hand.
  3. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: I like to first sauté the mirepoix in some extra-virgin olive oil to help flavour the broth and give the soup a nice mouthfeel. For something even more indulgent, add a knob of butter to the pan.
  4. Tomato Paste: I like to use a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste to colour and flavour the minestrone. You can substitute tomato passatta or canned diced tomatoes if desired. In the summertime, when tomatoes are abundant and actually flavourful, I like to dice up 2 or 3 tomatoes and sauté them with the aromatics. It gives the minestrone a more chunky texture.
  5. Broth: I used equal parts chicken bone broth and water here because I like the flavour and wanted some extra nutrients and collagen. Sometimes I use vegetable broth. And then there are those times when I have neither and just use water. The richness and flavour of the soup changes but can easily be adjusted with salt, pepper and herbs, like oregano, basil and thyme. Just keep in mind that the quality and taste of your broth will make or break the soup so go with something you know and love.
  6. Pasta: I used Jovial cassava orzo to keep things grain-free and Paleo, but you can substitute any small pasta shapes you like, such as ditalini or small shells. Jovial also makes cassava elbows, which work well.

    **NOTE: If using Jovial cassava pasta, DO NOT overcook it or it will turn to mush. I cook it for no longer than 7 minutes or until it is still al dente. The residual heat from the broth will carry over the cooking. The cassava pasta will also get very mushy and practically dissolve if you reheat it the next day.

    Another option is to use up those odds and ends of pasta that always manage to get left behind. When mixing pasta shapes, I like to add them to a clean kitchen towel, wrap them up into a bunch and beat them into small shards with a rolling pin. It makes for a rustic finished product that tastes great and reduces waste.
  7. Asparagus: I had a few stalks of leftover asparagus from this Bacon, Leek and Asparagus Quiche I made the other day so I added them to the minestrone. You can substitute zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, yellow squash, or green beans.
  8. Spinach: For some colour and nutrition, I almost always add a big bunch of spinach to my minestrone. Sometimes I’ll use fresh spinach but more often than not, I use frozen because it’s easy, convenient and more affordable. Feel free to substitute your favourite green, such as Tuscan kale, chard or escarole.
  9. Beans (optional): I absolutely love beans but omitted them from this recipe to keep things Paleo and Whole30 compatible. If using canned beans, add them at the same time as the pasta. If using dried beans, soak them over night in water before boiling them until tender along with an onion, bay leaves and cloves of garlic. Once the beans are fully cooked through, you can add them to the Minestrone at the same time as the pasta.
  10. Parmigiano Reggiano: Keep those parmesan rinds because they’re incredible flavour boosters in brothy soups like this Italian Minestrone Soup! And if you’re feeling extra indulgent, be sure to grate some more Parmigiano Reggiano overtop of your soup before serving.
  11. Chile Flakes: A dash of crushed red chile flakes are an absolute must on my minestrone. It gives the soup some spice but also a depth of flavour. If you don’t like it spicy, feel free to omit.
chopped carrots, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaves and rice on a cutting board

Storing and Reheating Leftover Minestrone

  1. Cool Down: Allow the leftover minestrone to cool down to room temperature before transferring it to glass, air-tight containers.
  2. Refrigerate: Leftover minestrone will last up to 5 days in your fridge but after day 3 or 4, the texture of the vegetables and pasta, if using, will start to get a bit soft.
  3. Reheat Properly: I recommend reheat leftover minestrone in a pot on the stovetop until it’s steaming throughout, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. If the soup has thickened upon refrigeration, you may need to add a splash of water or broth to reach the desired consistency.
  4. Consider Freezing: If you have a large batch of leftover minestrone that you won’t be able to consume within a few days, consider freezing it for longer-term storage. Transfer the cooled soup to freezer-safe containers or bags, leaving some space at the top for expansion. Label the containers with the contents and date, then store them in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw the minestrone overnight in the refrigerator before reheating it as described above.
Big pot of Vegetable Minestrone Soup

Substitution Ideas

  1. Vegetables: Feel free to swap out any vegetables based on personal preference or what’s available. For example, you can use leeks instead of onions, or add bell peppers, squash, or green beans for variety.
  2. Beans: You can add cannellini beans, kidney beans, or borlotti beans to your minestrone. Or, you can use chickpeas, black beans, or any other type of beans you prefer.
  3. Broth: If you don’t have vegetable or chicken broth, you can use water instead. To enhance the flavour, you can add bouillon cubes, miso paste, or a combination of herbs and spices.
  4. Pasta or Rice: If you don’t have pasta, you can use potato, rice, farro, barley, quinoa, or any other grain you prefer. Adjust the cooking time accordingly based on the grain you choose.
  5. Herbs and Seasonings: You can customize the herbs and seasonings based on your taste preferences. Experiment with different herbs such as thyme, bay leaves, rosemary, or sage, and adjust the amount of salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Optional Ingredients: Get creative with some optional ingredients based on what you have on hand. Try sautéing some diced bacon or pancetta first for added flavour, or deglaze the pot with a splash of white wine for depth. You can also garnish the soup with a dollop of homemade basil pesto.
  7. Dietary Restrictions: If you have dietary restrictions, such as gluten intolerance or dairy allergies, make substitutions accordingly. Use gluten-free pasta or omit the pasta altogether for a gluten-free version, and skip the cheese to keep it dairy-free.
Easy Minestrone Soup with grated parmigiano reggiano cheese and chile flakes

What Broth Is Best for Minestrone

If you want to keep things vegetarian and light in taste, use a good vegetable broth. For a bit more flavour and slightly richer finished product, use a high-quality chicken broth. For an even deeper flavour and added nutrients, I use equal parts chicken bone broth and water. Ultimately, the choice of broth depends on your personal preference, what you have on hand and your dietary restrictions.

  1. Vegetable Broth: Vegetable broth is a popular choice for vegetarians and vegans, as it provides a flavorful base without any animal products. It complements the assortment of vegetables in minestrone and allows their flavours to shine through.
  2. Chicken Broth: Chicken broth adds a rich and savoury flavour to minestrone. It pairs well with the vegetables and adds depth to the soup. However, if you’re vegetarian or prefer not to use chicken broth, vegetable broth is obviously a more suitable alternative.
  3. Homemade Broth vs. Store-Bought: You can use either homemade broth or store-bought broth, depending on your preference and availability. Homemade broth allows you to control the ingredients and flavour, while store-bought broth offers convenience.
  4. Low-Sodium Broth: If you’re watching your sodium intake, consider using low-sodium or sodium-free broth. This allows you to adjust the salt content of the soup to your liking without oversalting.
Easy Minestrone Soup with grated parmigiano reggiano cheese and chile flakes

Is Minestrone Vegetarian?

This particular minestrone calls for using chicken broth, but it can easily be adjusted to be vegetarian. Simply substitute vegetable broth instead.

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5 from 2 votes

Italian Minestrone Soup – Paleo, Gluten-Free

Healthy, hearty, delicious and loaded with vegetables, this Italian Minestrone Soup will quickly become a weekly family staple.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery , roughly chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 quart chicken bone broth, substitute chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 quart water
  • 2 small Parmigiano Reggiano rinds
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach, substitute 1 cups frozen spinach or kale
  • 1 cup Jovial cassava orzo, substitute small pasta shape of choice
  • 1 bunch asparagus, roughly chopped, bottom ends discarded
  • 2 bay leaves
  • freshly-cracked black pepper, to taste
  • dried chili flakes, optional, for garnish
  • freshly-grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, for garnish

Instructions 

  • Preheat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add carrots, celery and onion and season with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until onions are translucent, around 5 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring, to incorporate, 2 minutes.
  • Add the chicken bone broth and water, raise the heat to high and bring the liquid to a steady simmer. Add the Parmigiano Reggiano rinds, spinach, orzo, asparagus and bay leaves and cook, stirring occasionally, until the orzo is al dente, around 8 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the heat, taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper as desired. Ladle the minestrone into individual serving bowls. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, dash of chile flakes and some grated Parmigianno Reggiano.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 299kcal, Carbohydrates: 41g, Protein: 18g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 0.3mg, Sodium: 371mg, Potassium: 712mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 8898IU, Vitamin C: 21mg, Calcium: 102mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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About the Author

Hi, i’m Ronny! In 2013, after a lifetime of struggling with my weight and body issues, I rehabilitated my relationship with food, lost over 40 pounds and completely changed my life.

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