Vegetarian Minestrone Soup

Minestrone is considered one of the cornerstones of Italian cuisine.  Historically, minestrone was a humble soup, made primarily from leftovers with the addition of whatever vegetables were available, often with the addition of pasta.  This soup was inexpensive, easy to make, filling, and could feed large groups.  It was a soup intended for every day and as a main course, not a starter.

What I love about minestrone in particular is that there is no “set recipe” for this hearty classic. This is why you see so much variation.  Made with or without meat, pasta, beans, and with variations in broth, you have lots of room for interpretation.

vegetarian minestrone soup

I was taught how to make this classic soup when I was working as a line chef in New York.  Even then, we used leftovers because a kitchen—which operates on razor-thin margins—can’t afford to waste anything. Traditional technique for making soup calls for all vegetables to be roughly the same size, so they cook evenly.  That right there takes time.   When I learned to make minestrone, I made large quantities at a time.

Despite having decent knife skills, I lacked the time to cut everything evenly.  I always used a mandolin, which is my most loved and feared kitchen tool.  I say this because mandolins are amazing and helpful, but I sustained one of my worst kitchen-related injuries using one.  After I stopped working as a line chef, I stopped making minestrone for many years, the injury was too vivid.  But that was years ago, my boys now enjoy a larger variety of vegetables, and so I’m back making this wonderful Italian soup once again.  I make mine vegetarian and like to use a piece of Parmesan rind to give it a richer flavor.

In this recipe, I prefer to use dried beans and a quick soak method to reduce the prep time considerably. You can use a canned bean, but I think you lose some flavor and texture in doing so, as the beans tend to break down more.  I also prefer a small ditalini pasta instead of an orzo, but that is simply my personal preference.  This is a great, healthy soup that is just perfect for a cold winter weekend evening.

vegetarian minestrone soup

About the Author

Andrea Potischman

I am a professionally trained NYC chef turned CA mom and food blogger. I post about real food, with doable ingredient lists that are family friendly.

3 thoughts on "Vegetarian Minestrone Soup"

  1. Avatar photo Yelena says:

    It looks like a fantastic soup.
    Must try it!
    Thank ypu for sharing with us.

    1. Thank you! It’s a favorite of mine. Do lmk how it goes if you make it. Happy cooking.

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