Vegan minestrone soup is easy to make and uses basic ingredients to create a warming, hearty soup. It’s loaded with vegetables, beans and pasta for a filling and balanced meal. Serve as an appetizer, side dish or meal on its own!
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Is Minestrone Soup Vegan?
Minestrone soup is a classic Italian recipe made with pasta or rice, vegetables and broth. Beans and tomatoes are also frequently used in the soup. None of these ingredients are inherently non-vegan, but non-vegan minestrone soup recipes are common.
Recipes often use chicken broth and/ or call for Parmesan cheese to be cooked in. However, with a couple basic substitutions, this soup can easily be enjoyed by vegans!
While the base can easily be made vegan with vegetable broth, it may be more difficult for vegans to replace the Parmesan cheese. Not to worry, you can easily make vegan Parmesan cheese!
Vegan Minestrone Soup Ingredients
This recipe uses basic ingredients to create a delicious soup. While the ingredient list is longer, all those tasty and nutritious vegetables, herbs and spices come together beautifully!
- Onion, garlic, celery, carrot: These tasty veggies create a base layer of flavor for the soup.
- Olive oil: You’ll cook the above vegetables in some oil. This adds loads of flavor and healthy fats for a satisfying soup! Any type of cooking oil can work for this recipe.
- Vegetable broth: Instead of water, use vegetable broth for extra flavor in this soup. I use no-salt-added broth so I can add salt to my taste, but you can use any type of broth you like. Add an extra cup or two of broth if you find the soup too thick.
- Tomato puree: Minestrone typically contains tomato and I like to use tomato puree (a can of crushed tomato). Pureed tomato melds into the broth to create a flavorful liquid for this soup. You could also use diced tomatoes (canned or fresh), especially if you want a chunkier texture.
- White beans: Beans are a great addition to minestrone soup. I like using smaller white beans, but any type of bean can work. I use canned beans for convenience and simply drain and rinse them before adding to the soup.
- Green beans: You can use any vegetables you want in this soup so select whatever you like, what’s in your fridge or something in season! I chose green beans for this recipe as they’re one of my favorite veggies!
- Small-shaped pasta: Minestrone is typically made with pasta or rice. Small shape pasta is best for this recipe as it’ll cook easily; just measure the pasta before using. If you add too much pasta, you’ll end up with minestrone stew or even minestrone pasta (with no broth left at all)! Both those options are tasty, but if you want soup, don’t add any extra pasta. I used small shells for these pictures but orzo, macaroni, ditalini, orecchiette, or similar types are good choices.
- Nutritional yeast: People often top this soup with parmesan cheese for extra flavor. Nutritional yeast is a delicious vegan alternative that adds cheesy taste and works great in this soup.
- Dry oregano, basil and thyme: These herbs are staples in my spice cupboard and add beautiful flavor to the soup.
- Bay leaves: Along with the herbs above, a couple bay leaves add a great boost of flavor to any soup.
- Herbamare: This specialty ingredient is a blend of sea salt, herbs and vegetables. It has a savory, salty flavor that works wonders in many recipes, especially vegetable soups. If you don’t have this ingredient and don’t want to buy it, substitute for ½ teaspoon of sea salt and ½ teaspoon herb blend of your choice (an Italian herb blend, extra basil, thyme or oregano).
- Salt and pepper: Add these to your taste! Depending on your vegetable broth you may not need extra salt.
- Spinach: This is the last ingredient you’ll put in the soup, adding a nice flavor, texture and of course, lots of nutrition! You can use any leafy greens you like. Kale is another great option (but takes longer to cook). You can also add frozen leafy greens at the end (cook until heated through).
How to Make Vegan Minestrone Soup
This soup is incredibly easy to make and comes together quite quickly. Read the detailed directions below to learn how to make vegan minestrone!
Step 1: Prep Vegetables and Other Ingredients
As with any recipe, it’s best to wash and prepare all the ingredients before you start cooking.
Peel then dice the onion and carrots. Dice the celery and mince the garlic. You’ll also need to trim the green beans and cut into 1-inch long (bite-sized) pieces. Drain and rinse the beans and get out all the other ingredients.
The size and shape of your vegetables impact soup texture. Smaller pieces become softer during cooking while larger ones keep some of their texture (remain firmer) and create a chunkier soup.
Step 2: Prepare Soup
In a large pot, warm some olive oil over medium heat then add chopped onion, celery, carrot and minced garlic. Cook, stirring regularly, for about 5 minutes. Your vegetables should begin to soften and smell amazing! This is the base flavor for the soup so don’t skip this step.
Next, simply add the remaining ingredients to the pot, except for spinach. Stir until well combined.
Bring the soup to a boil over high heat with a lid on the pot. Remove the lid and lower heat to a simmer. Cook the soup until your pasta is almost done, about 12-15 minutes.
Stir regularly while your soup cooks as pasta likes to stick to the pot.
When the pasta is almost done, add spinach and let it wilt into the soup.
Step 3: Serve
Once the spinach and pasta are cooked, you’re ready to serve. Remove the bay leaves before serving the hot soup!
How to Create a Balanced Vegan Meal
This delicious soup has it all! There’s protein in white beans, carbohydrates in beans and pasta, healthy fats from olive oil and plenty of vegetables!
Minestrone Recipe Variations
With soup recipes there are endless variations, and the result is always delicious!
While the combo of veggies used in this recipe is delicious, you can use basically any vegetable you like. Kale is a great alternative to spinach, while zucchini is a tasty alternative to green beans. Get creative and use it as an opportunity to cook veggies that may spoil if you don’t use them within the next few days.
While it won’t change the flavor, you can mix the shape of pasta you use for some fun texture variations. Any small-shaped pasta can work. Just measure it first, or you might get a minestrone stew!
Another easy variation is to use caned or fresh chopped tomato instead of pureed tomato. I find the soup has plenty of texture without tomato chunks, but it’s a nice variation especially if you have lots of fresh tomato on hand.
How to Refrigerate and Freeze Leftover Soup
Cool leftover soup to room temperature, then refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week. Reheat in a microwave or in a pot on your stove, over medium heat, until warmed through.
You can also freeze this soup in any freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw in your fridge overnight before reheating the same as above.
If you make this recipe, please rate and comment below to help others benefit from your experience!
Vegan Minestrone Soup
- 1 cup onion , diced
- 4 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 cup celery , diced
- 1 cup carrots , diced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cups vegetable broth , low or zero sodium
- 2 cups tomato puree (crushed tomatoes)
- 1 ½ cups white beans (canned, drained and rinsed)
- 2 cups green beans , cut into 1-inch pieces
- ½ cup pasta , small-shaped (macaroni, small shells, etc.)
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 ½ teaspoons dry oregano
- 1 ½ teaspoons dry basil
- 1 teaspoon dry thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon Herbamare seasoning *
- salt (to taste)
- black pepper (to taste)
- 5 cups spinach , loosely packed
Step 1: Prep Vegetables and Other Ingredients
- Peel and dice your onion and carrots. Dice the celery and mince the garlic.1 cup onion, 1 cup carrots, 4 cloves garlic
- Cut your green beans into 1-inch-long pieces.2 cups green beans
- Drain and rinse the can of white beans.1 ½ cups white beans
- Have the other ingredients on hand and ready to use.
Step 2: Prepare Soup
- In a large pot, warm olive oil over medium heat.3 tablespoons olive oil
- Add the onion, garlic, celery and carrot. Cook, stirring regularly for about 5 minutes.1 cup onion, 4 cloves garlic, 1 cup celery, 1 cup carrots
- Next, add the remaining ingredients, except for spinach.4 cups vegetable broth, 2 cups tomato puree, 1 ½ cups white beans, 2 cups green beans, ½ cup pasta, ¼ cup nutritional yeast, 1 ½ teaspoons dry oregano, 1 ½ teaspoons dry basil, 1 teaspoon dry thyme, 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon Herbamare seasoning, salt, black pepper
- Stir until you’ve combined everything.
- Place a lid on the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, remove the lid and simmer on medium heat.
- Simmer the soup, stirring regularly, until your pasta is almost cooked – about 12-15 minutes.
- Add spinach and let it wilt into the soup.5 cups spinach
Step 3: Serve
- When you've cooked the spinach and pasta, you’re ready to serve.
- Remove the bay leaves and serve hot!
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About Nicole Stevens
Nicole is a vegan Registered Dietitian (RD) and founder of Lettuce Veg Out.
She helps people thrive on a vegan diet with balanced recipes and easy-to-understand nutrition science.