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Minestrone Soup

Introduction & method

If you had to name one soup from Italy, minestrone would be it. A richly-flavoured collection of beans and vegetables in a tomatoey base, minestrone soup makes a wonderful, filling and nutritious lunch or supper. And it's very easy to make.

Minestrone Soup Recipe


No two cooks will make minestrone the same - even from day to day the same chef will use different ingredients. The main reason for that is that they will use whatever vegetables are in season so you might have some cabbage, or courgettes, maybe some green beans. Minestrone always includes legumes, but the choice of bean is up to you - here I'm using cannellini, but borlotti, garbanzo, haricot or pinto could also be used. Another optional thing is meat - pancetta, guanciale, bacon or none. And you may add some small pasta - orzo or broken-up vermicelli, or rice. There's a lot of flexibility in this recipe, so don't be afraid to experiment.

To make the minestrone soup base

We start with an Italian soffrito. Peel and finely dice the onion and carrot. Finely dice the celery. Heat the olive oil on medium heat and cook the onions, carrot and celery in it until they are a bit browned. add the crushed garlic for the last 2 minutes. If you are using meat, it needs to be diced quite small. Stir it in the pan to get it browned all over. Add the tomatoes, stock, passata, bay leaves, oregano, black pepper and finely chopped or torn basil leaves and stir well. Stir in most of the grated cheese and if you have any Parmesan rind, put that in. Put a lid on the pot and reduce heat to simmer for 40 minutes.

To finish the minestrone

The final stage takes 10-20 minutes. Peel/dice/shred your seasonal vegetables and add them to the pot along with your ready-cooked beans. If you are using dried beans, you will have soaked and cooked them in advance, won't you. If you're using pasta, typically it won't need more than 10 minutes cooking, so add it near the end. If you've made enough soup to last for several meals, you might not want to add all of the pasta at this stage because it will end up very mushy. So cook it separately and only add the amount you need, 1 tbsp per person,  at the end.

To serve your home-made minestrone soup

Pour soup into bowls, garnish with a grating of Parmesan cheese, a basil leaf and accompany with a dollop of pesto, some crusty bread and a glass of full-bodied red wine.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Minestrone Soup on YouTube.

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Ingredients & Info

 400 grams can chopped tomatoes
 500 ml chicken or vegetable stock
 110 grams pancetta or bacon
 230 grams cooked cannellini beans
 6 tbsp orzo pasta
 6 tbsp frozen peas
 some seasonal vegetables
 1 large carrot
 1 stick of celery
 1 medium onion
 1 bay leaf
  a few basil leaves
 2 tbsp tomato passata
 half a tsp ground black pepper
 3 tbsp olive oil
 60 grams parmesan cheese
 a pinch of salt
 2 cloves garlic


Pesto to serve.

US Customary/Imperial

Serves about 6 -8
Prep time: 10 minutes.
Cooking time: 1 hour.
Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes.