What Is Minestrone Soup and What Actually Goes in It?

What’s your favorite soup? Perhaps this question is presumptuous. I’ll never forget the mother of one of my friends from high school announcing that she hated soup. Full stop, hated soup. This was, to me, pretty wild. I don’t even think of “soup, generally” as a type of dish you can hate—it’s merely a style of food. It’s not until you add the ingredients that you can make a judgment on it. 

So, perhaps you hate the very idea of simmered ingredients in some sort of broth. But if that’s not the case, what is your favorite soup? As someone who actually loves soup, there is one clear contender: minestrone. It’s such a satisfying, nourishing, tasty blend of textures and flavors. But what is minestrone soup, exactly? What’s it made of? Where does it come from? Let’s get the soup scoop and find out.

What is minestrone soup?

Minestrone is an Italian soup that contains vegetables and pasta or rice, or sometimes both. There is no set recipe for minestrone soup, because part of the idea was that you would use the vegetables and other ingredients you had lying around to make it. In fact, the word “minestrone” comes from the Italian world “minestra,” which simply means “soup.” So, in a way, minestrone soup is soup soup. 

What is in minestrone soup?

As noted above, there isn’t one definitive minestrone recipe. Oftentimes, ingredients will include onions, celery, carrots, beans, tomatoes, and parmesan cheese. A variety of stocks are used as well, including vegetable and chicken.

Is minestrone soup vegetarian?

The primary ingredients in minestrone are vegetables, legumes, and rice or pasta, so minestrone soup is vegetarian compatible. Keep in mind, however, that because there are many different minestrone recipes, and of them do contain meat. Sometimes people add meatballs or use chicken stock. So, read your labels. 

best canned minestrone

Best Canned Minestrone Soup

What’s the best minestrone soup you can buy? We tasted a bunch of the top brands on the market to find the best canned minestrone soup for your next meal.

Is minestrone soup vegan?

Just as minestrone can be made vegetarian it can also be made vegan. But there are some versions of minestrone that use chicken stock or other animal stock, and there are recipes that call for straight-up meat. In addition, parmesan cheese is a common ingredient. So, if you’re looking to avoid any animal based products, be sure to check the label of any minestrone you’re thinking of purchasing.

Does minestrone soup have meat?

If you are an avid carnivore and are looking for a minestrone recipe that will satisfy your protein cravings, you’re in luck. While minestrone is predominantly made with vegetarian ingredients, you can add ground beef, mini meatballs, shredded chicken, or really whatever kind of meat you want, since minestrone is such a versatile soup.

What goes with minestrone soup? 

While it’s a hearty enough dish that you could conceivably just eat it on its own, if you’re wondering what to serve with minestrone soup, there are no wrong answers, really. Minestrone is Italian, so other Italian-style dishes are often a good bet. Serve it as a course before some homemade pizza or pasta or roast chicken. Or go full Olive Garden and pair it with a side of never-ending breadsticks and the most standard salad you can imagine. 

That’s the info on minestrone! Now that you know there’s no wrong way to make it, what ingredients would you put in your minestrone soup?

About the Author

Matt Crowley

Matt Crowley is a comedy writer living in Los Angeles. He likes maple-flavored snacks, loves every kind of cheese, and is slowly learning to accept mushrooms.

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