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Minestrone Soup (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

minestrone-soup-(gluten-free,-vegan)

Our best-ever Minestrone Soup is one of our favorite ways to fill up on colorful plant-based goodness in chilly months. This delightful combination of nutrient-dense veggies, beans, pasta, and seasonings comes together for a hearty bowl that will leave you feeling both cozy and energized. Make it exactly how you need it to be, with our easy instructions for gluten-free and dairy-free modifications, as well as Instant Pot directions if you need it even quicker.

This recipe was originally posted February 25, 2019; Updated October 18, 2021.

The best, easy minestrone soup recipe

This plant-based soup hits all the right marks. We’ve loaded the pot with a winning mix of nutritious and colorful vegetables, beans, pasta, and seasonings so that each bowl is filling, cozy, and delicious every time.

Plus, below we’ve included foolproof directions for adding the pasta so that your minestrone soup comes out perfect each time without soggy noodles. This little step ensures that everyone loves their bowl of minestrone and enthusiastically eats any leftovers.

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Ingredients to make gluten-free minestrone soup

We love this soup because it is filled to the brim with healthy, body-nourishing ingredients. Here’s what you need to make a comforting pot today:

  • Carrots – can use chopped parsnips or turnips instead
  • Celery – can sub sliced leeks or fennel, if desired
  • Mushrooms – use your favorite variety, such as cremini, portobello, button, shiitake; these add a nice “meaty” texture to the soup
  • Onion – use a yellow or white onion
  • Zucchini – can sub yellow squash
  • Kidney beans – kidney beans are classic in minestrone soup, but you can swap in another bean variety, such as chickpeas or white beans, if desired; fully drain and rinse the beans before adding to the minestrone soup
  • Crushed tomatoes – you’ll need a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes; we like Muir Glen
  • Garlic – use minced fresh garlic or sub 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • Water or Broth – to keep this soup vegetarian, use vegetable or mushroom broth; can use chicken broth if vegan is not necessary
  • Italian seasoning – if you don’t have Italian seasoning, you can instead use a mix of 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • Pasta – use your favorite regular, gluten-free, or grain-free pasta, depending on your needs; for gluten-free and grain-free, we like Jovial (made from cassava root) or Banza (made from chickpeas)
  • Oil – use avocado oil or olive oil
  • Parsley – fresh parsley adds a flavorful finish to each bowl
  • Parmesan cheese – another flavorful and classic garnish for minestrone soup; omit if vegan or dairy-free
  • Salt and Black pepper

How to make minestrone soup

We’ve included directions in the recipe below for you to make this soup on the stovetop or in an Instant Pot. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Sauté the onion, garlic, celery, carrots, and mushrooms for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the zucchini, crushed tomatoes, water or broth, kidney beans, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  3. Simmer the soup for 20-25 minutes or until the carrots and celery are tender.
  4. While the soup is simmering, cook the pasta in a separate pot. Drain pasta and set aside until ready to serve the soup.
  5. Add cooked pasta to bowls then ladle soup over pasta. Garnish servings with parsley and Parmesan cheese, if desired.

The Health benefits of minestrone soup

You can’t go wrong when so many nutritious vegetables come together in one pot. The mix of carrots, celery, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes, and garlic provides a rainbow of polyphenols, carotenoids and chlorophylls (aka beneficial plant pigments) with anti-inflammatory benefits to ward off sickness, as well as better aging and healthy skin.

When you add beans to the mix, it only gets better. The kidney bean in this minestrone soup recipe (when combined with all those nutritious veg) provide an amazing 10 grams of fiber in every serving – that’s nearly half your daily needs of this digestion-promoting and heart-healthy nutrient.

How minestrone Soup fits in your special diet

The beauty of serving this delicious and healthy soup is that nearly everyone can enjoy each nourishing bowlful. Here’s how Minestrone Soup can work for people who have food allergies or are following a special diet.

  • Gluten-Free – make this minestrone soup recipe gluten free simply by using gluten-free pasta (see note below for when and how to add the pasta)
  • Grain-Free – if following a grain-free diet, select a grain-free pasta, such as Jovial (made from cassava root) or Banza (made from chickpeas)
  • Plant-Based (Flexitarian, Vegetarian, Vegan) – Whether you follow a vegan diet or simply want to eat more plant-based meals, this nutritious minestrone soup recipe is a great option to provide you with some of the healthiest plant-based foods on the planet. If vegan, omit the Parmesan cheese option
  • Dairy-Free – This minestrone soup is naturally dairy-free; simply omit the Parmesan cheese option
  • Nut-Free – this minestrone soup is naturally nut-free; use olive oil for sautéing the vegetables

Tips for Adding pasta to minestrone soup

Here at The Real Food Dietitians, we have all had our fair share of minestrone soup. You could say we’re connoisseurs of this nutritious stew, and there’s nothing we dislike more than soggy noodles in our minestrone. That’s why we’ve developed a fool-proof method to help you make the best pot of minestrone soup you’ve ever served.

The key is to cook the pasta separately from the pot of soup. If you add the noodles, especially gluten-free noodles, directly to the pot, you run the risk of having pasta that falls apart and doesn’t maintain its integrity. While the veggies and beans are simmering, cook the pasta just until al dente (tender, but still a bit chewy) in a separate pot of water. Sure, this does add one more pot to the stovetop, but the results are 100 percent worth it.

how to serve, store & freeze minestrone soup

If you plan to serve the whole pot of soup at once, go ahead and add the cooked pasta to the soup pot just before serving. But if you’re planning for leftovers, keep the soup and the cooked pasta separate. Add cooked pasta to individual bowls and ladle the hot soup over top.

Store the cooked pasta and the minestrone soup in separate containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. When reheating, place the cold pasta in a bowl and ladle the reheated soup over top; the soup will warm the pasta. Also, you can freeze the cooked minestrone soup (without the pasta) in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months. If freezing, plan to make a fresh batch of cooked pasta just before serving the thawed and reheated minestrone soup.

Recipe

Minestrone Soup (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

The perfect combination of veggies, beans, pasta, and seasonings come together in this better-than-classic Minestrone Soup that can be easily modified for gluten-free and vegan diets.

Prep: 15 minsCook: 30 minsTotal: 45 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
  • ½ large white or yellow onion, diced
  • 7 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup (4 oz) mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 1 (14-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon dry Italian seasoning*
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt (plus more to taste)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper (plus more to taste)
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) dry pasta of choice, gluten-free if needed, cooked al dente**
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • Fresh grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Instructions

Stovetop Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, pot, or Dutch oven over medium heat, heat the oil. Add onion, garlic, celery, carrots, and mushrooms; sauté for 5 minutes.
  2. Add zucchini, crushed tomatoes, water or broth, kidney beans, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Bring soup to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low to maintain a steady simmer. Place lid on the pot and cook 20-25 minutes or until the carrots and celery are tender.
  4. While the soup is simmering, bring a pot of water to a boil. When water boils, add the pasta and cook until pasta is al dente. Drain pasta and set aside until ready to serve the soup.***
  5. Remove from heat. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper as needed.
  6. Add cooked pasta to bowls then ladle soup over pasta. Garnish servings with parsley and Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Instant Pot Directions:

  1. Select ‘Saute’ function. Add oil. When oil is hot, add onions, garlic, celery, carrots, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until veggies start to soften, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add zucchini, crushed tomatoes, water (or broth), kidney beans, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Lock lid into place and flip valve to ‘sealing’ position. Cook under high pressure for 12 minutes.
  3. When cooking time is up, allow for 5-10 minutes of natural pressure release before flipping valve to ‘venting’ position to release residual steam.
  4. Add cooked pasta to bowls then ladle soup over pasta. Garnish servings with parsley and cheese, if desired.

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Notes

*In place of Italian seasoning, you can use a mix of 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

**Use your favorite regular, gluten-free, or grain-free pasta, depending on your needs; for gluten-free and grain-free, we like Jovial (made from cassava root) or Banza (made from chickpeas). Cook until al dente, just until tender but still chewy (slightly undercooked).

***For best results, place the cooked pasta in bowls and ladle soup over top rather than adding the pasta to the pot of soup. This prevents the pasta from becoming too soft and mushy.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 1/6 recipe
  • Calories: 230
  • Fat: 5 g
  • (Sat Fat: 1 g)
  • Sodium: 507 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 38 g
  • (Fiber: 10 g
  • Sugar: 7 g)
  • Protein: 11g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Dietary

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Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Jess of Plays Well with Butter

All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!

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