A steaming bowl of this vegan minestrone soup is one of life’s simple pleasures. My recipe takes fun, fall twist of a traditional vegetable soup. We’re quickly entering a season where schedules are full, sleep is low, and immune systems are not at their best. Why not give our bodies a much needed immunity boost?
Where does minestrone soup come from?
The word minestrone actually means big soup. It originated in Italy, and typically uses celery, onions, garlic, carrots, tomatoes, olive oil, pasta. It’s often topped with Parmesan cheese, which is most often shredded, not powdered. It’s considered the ‘poor man’s soup’ as it doesn’t need meat, and therefore can be made with whatever you have on hand.
Even Italians have their own take on this hearty soup, because the ingredients vary depending on the region + season. I love that it was created to be made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, as well as be changed depending on what’s fresh.
What makes this minestrone soup vegan?
The base of this soup is traditionally vegetable broth, so no need for heavy cream. While some people put cheese on top of the finished product, I’ve opted to keep it simple and make a cheese-less variety. I’ve also swapped the traditional pesto for my vegan basil pesto… seriously, it’s SO good!
I feel better when I limit my dairy intake, and honestly, the veggies + spices in this soup pack a lot of flavor! Kale is another addition to this vegan minestrone soup recipe, as it gives the soup an earthy flavor, while also upping the nutritional profile.
I have two kids and know how far cheesy toast can go with a meal— so we’ve added that to make it more kid-friendly. If it takes cheesy garlic bread to get them excited to eat their vegetables, I’m cool with that!
If you’re trying to go 100% vegan or plant-based— you can always use vegan butter and garlic in your toast. Or skip it all together. The hero of this blog post is the Minestrone soup.
What if I don’t like an ingredient in this minestrone soup?
Soup holds the incredible super power of being insanely delicious and highly customizable, all at the same time. Sounds a lot like green smoothies, am I right?! One reason I love soup so much, is that I can change up the recipe depending on my mood or my pantry.
Here are some easy swaps that will make this vegan minestrone soup work for you, as well as your pantry:
- Don’t like butternut squash? Try zucchini, delicata squash, acorn squash, sweet potato, or white potato.
- Not a fan of kale? Use Swiss chard, spinach, beet greens, or really any other leafy green you have on hand.
- Instead of cannellini beans, use chickpeas
- Instead of basil pesto, try one of my many pesto recipes
Other tips for creating a delicious soup
Personally, I like soup with a kick, so I often add in some cayenne or hot sauce. To make this soup creamier, you can add in 1 can of full fat coconut milk 20 minutes before serving. Vegan minestrone soup has a lot of elements, so feel free to make it work with what you’ve got on hand.
Vegan Minestrone Soup
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion - diced
- 3 cloves clove garlic - minced
- 3 carrots - peeled and sliced
- 2 stalks celery - sliced
- 1 can cannellini beans - drained and rinsed, 1 ½ cups
- 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes in juice - do not drain
- 2 cups butternut squash - diced
- 1 quart vegetable broth - plus more if needed
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs
- 4 cups fresh kale - chopped
- 1/2 cup vegan basil pesto
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30-60 seconds.
- Transfer to a slow cooker along with the carrots, celery, beans, diced tomatoes and their juice, butternut squash, vegetable broth, and dried Italian herbs. Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or HIGH for 4-5 hours.
- Stir in the leafy greens and pesto. Taste and decide if you want more pesto (I always lean towards more is the way to go). The residual heat will cook the greens without turning them mushy. If the soup is too thick, add more broth.
- Cooked pasta can be added to the soup, if desired. Adding uncooked pasta to the slow cooker can also be done, but it may become too mushy with the long cooking time.
- You can also cook this on the stovetop. For step 2, just add the remaining ingredients to the pot. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes, or until butternut squash, carrots and celery are soft (break apart when you put a fork through them).
More plant powered soup recipes
Soup is one of my fav meals, so I’ve got a lot of soup recipes to share! If you’re looking for some soup inspo, look no further than this delicious list:
- Carrot ginger soup– Super creamy with just the right amount of spice, this soup is comforting and immune boosting.
- Vegetable barley soup– Similar to this vegan minestrone soup, my vegetable barley soup is hearty, flavorful, and full of veggies.
- Coconut Thai soup– I love the nutty coconut milk used in this fun soup recipe. This is one I often make for parties, and there are never any leftovers!
- Pumpkin soup– The ultimate fall soup. Make a big pot of this to go with your game day spread, or for a festive fall dinner party.
- Zoodles in a jar– This is my go-to fast food in a jar. Take real, whole food ingredients, delicious veggie broth, and a mason jar, and you’ve got yourself a packed lunch.
- Roasted red pepper soup– You’ll be shocked that there’s no dairy in this soup! Decadent and useful as a side or the main course, this soup is comfort, fall vibes, and satisfaction in a bowl.
- Split pea soup– This warming soup recipe brings up fond childhood memories. Add in any veggies on hand, and turn this into a hearty soup for a cold evening.