This Copycat Minestrone Soup is the perfect veggie-filled soup that can be made in under an hour! There’s no need to leave your house to make this easy and nutritious soup that tastes just like you’re at the Olive Garden.
Easy Copycat Olive Garden Minestrone Soup
This is one of our favorite copycat recipes! You know the soup we’re talking about, right? It’s Olive Garden’s famous, veggie-filled, rich, and hearty Minestrone Soup. The ingredient list is a little long, but that’s what we love about this recipe…ALL.THE.VEGGIES.
The soup is full of healthy vegetables, herbs, noodles, and beans, which makes it a one-bowl well-rounded meal. You could easily serve this soup with a Herb Crescent Rolls, or a simple side salad, and call it dinner.
Another great thing about this soup is that it’s ready in under an hour and there’s no need to let it simmer all afternoon. The flavors develop in just about a half hour of cooking time and then the soup is ready to be served.
Making this on a weeknight and need an easy dump and go recipe? Try our Crockpot Minestrone Soup!
What Is Minestrone Soup?
Minestrone Soup is a traditional Italian soup. It usually has a thick tomato-based broth, an assortment of vegetables and herbs, plus rice or pasta. It also can have beans like kidney beans or Great Northern beans.
Here is what you need to make Minestrone Soup. Keep in mind that the exact amounts for each ingredient are down below in the recipe card.
- Olive Oil: This is for cooking the vegetables in the beggining. You can use a different cooking oil if you’d like (like avocado oil or vegetable oil).
- Yellow Onions, Carrots, and Celery: Also known as “mirepoix”, which is the French term for these three vegetables when they are used as a base for a sauce or soup.
- Garlic: We highly recommend using fresh garlic for this recipe.
- Canned Diced Tomatoes
- Vegetable Broth: You could also use water, but we suggest letting it a little longer so that the vegetables cook with the water long enough to create it’s own broth.
- Bay Leaves
- Italian Seasoning: Or a blend of dried parsley, oregano, and/or basil.
- Dried Parsley
- Red Pepper Flakes: You can add a few more pinches if you like a little heat.
- Beans: We used kidney beans and Great Northern Beans.
- Pasta: We used small shell macaroni but you can use any small noodle that you’d like.
- Zucchini: Or yellow squash will also work.
- Baby Spinach: An alternative to spinach would be baby kale.
- Salt and Pepper
- Parmesan: We love to add fresh shaved parmesan as a garnish at the end. You can also add a parmesan rind to the soup while it’s cooking to add extra flavor, just remember to pull it out before serving.
- Fresh Parsley: This is another tasty garnish to sprinkle on after cooking the soup.
Out of one of the ingredients? Or do you want to add some of your own flavors? Here are some varation and ingredient suggestions.
- Do you need a low carb soup? You can simply omit the pasta to make it low carb. Or use a lower carb pasta, like chickpea pasta.
- Use rice instead of pasta. It’s best to cook the rice seperately and then add it at the end before serving.
- Any kind of bean will work. You can use whatever you have in your pantry or whatever beans taste best to you.
- Add other fresh herbs. Some other great flavors to add would be fresh basil, chives, or scallions.
How to Make Minestrone Soup
Here are the simple steps for making this classic Olive Garden copycat recipe.
First, cook the onions, celery, and carrots. After about 3 minutes, add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. And now you can start adding the other ingredients like the diced tomatoes.
Then add the broth, bay leaves, Italian seasoning, dried parsley, and red pepper flakes. And simmer for about 20 minutes.
Add the beans, pasta, and zucchini. These items are added last because they are more delicate and don’t take as long to cook.
The final step is to add the spinach. You’ll do this right before you want to serve the soup. And then once the soup is in the serving bowls you can garnish with fresh shaved parmesan and parsley.
Tips for Success
Follow these helpful tips when making this Copycat Minestrone Soup.
- Use rice instead of pasta. This will add a different texture to the soup and is a great way to use leftover cooked rice.
- When to add the pasta: When you add pasta or rice to a soup, and then have leftovers, the pasta absorbs a lot of the broth. A great way to help with this is to boil the pasta separately and serve it on the side. People can add as much pasta to their bowl as they like and the leftovers won’t get as thick.
- How to thin out the soup: If the soup does get thick in the refrigerator add more vegetable broth or a little water.
What To Serve With Homemade Minestrone Soup
Here are some of our favorite suggestions for what to serve with this soup recipe.
- Rolls or Crusty Bread: We love some warm crusty bread to dip into this soup (like the Olive Garden breadsticks!) or you can also make our melt-in-your-mouth Herb Crescent Rolls.
- An Easy Side Salad: It can be as simple as some mixed greens, your favorite fresh vegetables, and a drizzle of our favorite refreshing Orange Salad Dressing.
- Great Sandwiches: We like to serve BLTs or our Air Fryer Pesto Grilled Cheese on the side because sandwiches are great for dipping into the soup.
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
Any leftover Minestrone Soup can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Keep in mind that the noodles will absorb some of the broth which may soften the noodles and make the soup thicker.
You always have the option of making the soup without the noodles and then cooking them separately. Then, you can add them as you reheat the soup. Reheating the soup is best done in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Can I Freeze This?
You can freeze this soup without a problem. It’s a great soup to make a big batch and then freeze smaller portions for a quick lunch and dinner.
The one thing that we should note is that when you freeze something with noodles the texture of the soup may change a little bit. The noodles tend to soak up a lot of the broth. So, you have a few options.
You could omit the noodles and then add them as you reheat the soup. Or you could simply add more broth to the soup when you reheat.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
- 32 oz vegetable broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 15.8 oz can great northern beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 15.5 oz can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup small shell macaroni
- 1 zucchini, sliced into half moons
- 2 cups baby spinach
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Shredded Parmesan, optional garnish
- Fresh parsley, optional garnish
- In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrots and sauté for 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more.
- Stir in the diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, bay leaves, Italian seasoning, parsley and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer over medium to medium-low heat and cook for 20 minutes.
- Add the northern beans, kidney beans, shell macaroni and zucchini. Bring the heat up a little to a steady simmer and cook until pasta is tender, about 8-10 minutes.
- When ready to serve, stir in the spinach leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with parmesan cheese and parsley for garnish, if desired.