(Better Than) Olive Garden Minestrone Soup Recipe
Copycat Olive Garden Minestrone Soup – An easy recipe for classic vegetarian (and vegan!) soup brimming with seasonal veggies and hearty beans. This flavorful dish is quick to prepare in 40 minutes, and is excellent to make ahead!
Mmmminestrone soup… With a thin tomato broth, fresh veggies, pasta, and beans, minestrone soup is one of those magical dishes that manages to be both light and hearty at the same time.
The classic restaurant chain Olive Garden is most well-known for its Italian-esque pasta dishes. However, they also offer a great minestrone soup that is incredibly popular! Who else gets torn between starting with a small bowl before the entree or going big and having a large bowl as the entree?
Today we’re sharing with you our version of Olive Garden Minestrone Soup that we think you’re going to like it even more than the OG goodness. It’s an easy vegetarian and vegan recipe that is sure to satisfy, and of course, pairs perfectly with breadsticks and salad!
Copycat Olive Garden Minestrone Soup
This Olive Garden-inspired Minestrone Soup recipe is wonderfully simple and doesn’t deviate too far from the classic dish you know and love. Ours has the same iconic small ditalini pasta, fresh veggies like zucchini and spinach, and a savory tomato broth.
But we also include tomato paste in addition to canned diced tomatoes to really bring that deliciously bright tomato flavor to this vegan soup. Plus, a pinch of red pepper flakes for a kick of delightful heat! (Don’t worry, the red pepper is optional if you’re not a fan.)
From prep to serving you only need about 40 minutes, and everything is cooked together in one pot. So it’s terrific to make it as a quick yet comforting dinner even on a busy weeknight. Get ready to fall innamorato with the easiest, tastiest, and most authentic copycat Olive Garden Minestrone Soup recipe!
This is one of those recipes that has just the right balance of fresh ingredients and pantry staples. To make our copycat Olive Garden Minestrone Soup from scratch you need:
- Olive oil – or preferred high heat cooking oil
- Onion – peeled and chopped
- Carrots – sliced into discs
- Celery – thinly sliced
- Garlic – minced
- Vegetable broth – or bouillon and water
- Tomatoes – canned or fresh, diced
- Tomato paste – the secret ingredient for the best Minestrone Soup recipe
- Italian seasoning – store bought or homemade
- Crushed red pepper – optional for some yummy heat
- Canned kidney beans – rinsed and drained
- Canned great northern beans – rinsed and drained
- Green beans – frozen
- Dried pasta – small shape like ditalini (what we use here), macaroni, or shells
- Zucchini – halved and sliced into half moon shapes
- Baby spinach – fresh, washed and dried
- Fresh – chopped
How to Make Minestrone Soup (Better Than Olive Garden!)
Like just about any and every great soup recipe, this here is a one-pot wonder dish.
After you chop and prepare all of the ingredients, set a large 6-8 quart saucepot over medium heat.
Add the olive oil to the pot. Once hot, add the chopped onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Generously salt and pepper to taste. Then sauté for 4-6 minutes just to soften. You don’t want them to get burned or mushy!
Next add the vegetable broth, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper.
Increase the heat if necessary and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, stir in the kidney beans, great northern beans, green beans, and pasta. Stir well and lower the heat if needed back to medium or medium-low. Simmer for 8-10 minutes, partially covered.
Make sure to stir every 2 minutes, so the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom.
Lastly, add in the sliced zucchini, spinach leaves, and parsley.
Get the Complete (Printable) Copycat Olive Garden Minestrone Soup Below. Enjoy!
Stir and simmer for 2 more minutes.
If the soup seems extra thick, add 1-2 cups of water and bring it back up to a simmer. Cook for another minute or so, then salt and pepper again if needed.
Remove from the heat and ladle the minestrone soup into bowls with a sprinkling of more fresh parsley.
Serve warm with your favorite savory side dishes.
Frequently Asked Questions
For the full Olive Garden experience, you of course need a basket of warm homemade breadsticks and a fresh green salad on the side. Yum! You also can enjoy bowlfuls with other carb-a-licious sides like garlic knots or cheesy garlic pull-apart bread.
Simply use your fave GF-friendly pasta to easily make this a vegan and gluten-free minestrone soup recipe! Just remember, gluten-free pasta doesn’t usually hold its shape as long as wheat pasta, so serve it immediately.
Sure! Check out our recipe for Chicken Minestrone Soup for another version of this traditional Italian soup. Or feel free to use chicken broth in this recipe.
This soup recipe is great to make ahead and keep in the fridge or freezer! Once the soup has cooled, transfer it to an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To freeze, wrap the container in a layer of aluminum foil and keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge and reheat on the stovetop or microwave.
Looking for More Satisfying Soup Recipes?
- Vegetarian Navy Bean Soup
- Chunky Vegan Chili
- Tuscan Lentil Soup Recipe
- Tomato Potato White Bean Soup
- Rustic (Vegan) White Bean and Kale Soup
(Better Than) Olive Garden Minestrone Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion peeled and chopped
- ¾ cup sliced carrots
- ½ cup sliced celery
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced
- 32 ounces vegetable broth
- 14 ounces diced tomatoes
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ – ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper optional
- 15 ounces canned kidney beans drained
- 15 ounces canned great northern beans drained
- ¾ cup frozen cut green beans
- ½ cup small dried pasta shells, ditalini, macaroni
- 1 small zucchini halved and sliced
- 2 large handfuls fresh baby spinach
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
- Chop and prepare all necessary ingredients. Set a large 6-8 quart saucepot over medium heat.
- Add the olive oil to the pot. Once hot, add the chopped onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Generously salt and pepper. Sauté for 4-6 minutes to soften.
- Add the vegetable broth, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, stir in the kidney beans, great northern beans, green beans, and pasta. Stir well and simmer for 8-10 minutes, partially covered. Make sure to stir every 2 minutes, so the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom.
- Finally, add in the sliced zucchini, spinach leaves, and parsley. Stir and simmer for 2 minutes. Taste, then salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm.
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