30-minute Italian Minestrone Soup for those nights you’re short on time but don’t want to skimp on a 30-minute Olive Garden Minestrone Soup Copycat Recipe for those nights you’re short on time but don’t want to skimp on a hearty, filling meal! This healthy soup is packed with veggies, beans, Italian herbs and spices, tomatoes, and even Italian sausage if you’re feeling particularly spicy.
Winter makes me think of all the yummy soup recipes I could make. Top of my list? Soup. Top of that list? This Olive Garden Minestrone Soup Copycat Recipe of course. I think this soup is one of the most versatile of veggie soups because you can easily add meat or skip it, whether you’re feeling like a meatless meal, or you want to spice the flavor up a bit with some cooked Italian sausage, prepared meatballs, or browned ground meat.
How To Make This Recipe
Yes, there are lots of ingredients but don’t be put off by this list. They are all easy to find in any grocery store!
- Ditalini noodles – These noodles are good for soups. They are the perfect size and some of that yummy broth always gets down inside the pasta and just makes a perfect spoonful every time. That being said, use whatever bite-size pasta you have on hand.
- Celery and carrots – The basic key to every good soup, carrots and celery add great texture and taste.
- White or yellow onion – These onions have a milder flavor for that’s great for Olive Garden minestrone soup.
- Green beans – Another perfect vegetable to add to the minestrone, green beans hold up better in broth than some other vegetables that could break down faster. Plus, they taste so good and add a lovely color.
- Butter – I like to use unsalted butter and then salt later to taste.
- Minced garlic – Minced garlic in a jar works just fine in this recipe or mince your own from fresh.
- Italian dried herb seasoning – Any well-known brand of Italian seasoning works great in this recipe.
- Dark red kidney beans and light red kidney beans – These two types of beans add great flavor and some protein to this copycat Olive Garden minestrone. If you only have one type of kidney beans, just double what you have.
- Fire roasted tomatoes – A little extra flavor is added when you add fire roasted tomatoes. Any brand is fine.
- Tomato sauce – Same goes for tomato sauce, this soup needs that tomatoey goodness at its base to be a true minestrone.
- Chicken or vegetable broth – Either broth is fine here. I usually use low-sodium and salt to taste as I go.
- Salt and pepper – Any kind, to taste.
- Baby spinach (optional) – I love adding spinach for a little extra greens, flavor, and texture.
- Ground Italian sausage (optional) – If you prefer your minestrone with meat, then a ground Italian sausage is great in this soup. Pork or chicken sausage is fine.
- Fresh basil, parmesan cheese, cracked black pepper (optional) – Top the soup with these optional ingredients for awesome presentation and final good taste.
Step By Step Directions
Ready for the best bowl of steaming, Olive Garden Minestrone Soup with savory sausage, a saucy tomato base, and tender noodles? Me too! Let’s get cookin’!
- First thing you need to do is cook the pasta. You cook it separately, according to package directions, then drain it and set it aside. You won’t add it to the soup until the end so it doesn’t get too soggy.
- Next, brown the Italian sausage in a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s fully cooked, set that aside as well. Keep it warm by covering it in a bowl or plate.
- In a large stock pot over medium heat, add the celery, onions, green beans, and butter. Cook those for about 3-4 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add in the garlic and Italian herb mixture at this point, sautéing for another minute. To the veggie mixture, add the beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, salt, and pepper.
- Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer an additional 15 minutes. Stir in the noodles, sausage, and spinach (if using) at this point. Salt and pepper again to taste.
- Ladle into ample bowls and garnish with fresh basil, parmesan cheese and fresh, cracked black pepper if you like.
Where Did Minestrone Soup Originate?
“Minestrone” basically means “soup” in Italian. That translation has morphed to include all manner of veggies, small pasta shapes, and beans. The recipe for minestrone isn’t set in stone and even varies across Italy as well. It can be thick and hardy like this version, or thinner and more brothy if you prefer to leave some of the veggies and beans out or just use less of them.
It can have meat or be a vegetarian dish. Really, this soup can be made however you prefer. Ingredients you’re likely to find in most recipes include: carrots, celery, diced tomatoes, broth, and pasta (or rice).
What Kind of Meat is Best for Minestrone Soup?
I like to make this Olive Garden soup recipe with ground Italian sausage. Other protein options include:
- Ground chicken, turkey, or beef. Remember to cook the meat all the way through and set aside before adding back to soup at the end.
- If you don’t want to use the traditional ground pork/beef mixture of Italian sausage, you could also use turkey or chicken Italian sausage.
- Make a bunch of very small meatballs (use my recipe for meatballs here), cook them through, and add them to the soup at the end.
- Cooked shredded chicken (or buy a rotisserie chicken and shred it) would be great in this minestrone soup too
- Or serve it with no meat at all. There are plenty of vegetables, beans, and pasta in this recipe to make a delicious, filling meal on its own.
- Want to make your own Italian seasoning blend? It’s so easy! Just combine 1/2 teaspoon each dried oregano, parsley, basil, and thyme.
- This soup will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days and reheats easily in the microwave.
- You can freeze this soup easily too. My recommendation though is to freeze it minus the pasta and add fresh pasta after it’s reheated. Pasta tends to get mushy after it has been frozen and reheated.
- Add or subtract whatever veggies your little heart desires. Beans, too, for that matter. Basically, the key to this soup is the broth mixed with tomatoes and Italian spices.
More Recipes You’ll Love
- Olive Garden Chicken Alfredo
- Olive Garden Stuffed Chicken Marsala
- Olive Garden Salad and Salad Dressing
- Olive Garden Breadsticks
- Olive Garden Copycat Recipes
Did you make this recipe? Amazing! Tag me on social and rate the recipe below!
Italian Minestrone Soup
- 2 cups dry ditalini noodles
- 3 stalks celery - chopped
- 3 whole carrots - chopped
- 1 white or yellow onion - diced
- 8 ounces green beans - chopped
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons Italian dried herb seasoning - see notes for DIY
- 1 15-ounce can dark red kidney beans - drained and rinsed
- 1 15-ounce can light red kidney beans - drained and rinsed
- 2 15-ounce cans diced fire roasted tomatoes
- 30 ounces tomato sauce
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth - I used low sodium
- 2 teaspoon salt - or to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup baby spinach leaves - optional
- 1 pound ground Italian sausage - optional
- fresh basil, parmesan cheese, cracked black pepper for topping - optional
- Cook noodles according to package directions, drain and set aside.
- If including sausage, brown sausage in a large skillet over medium heat. Once fully cooked, transfer to a bowl and cover to keep warm while you prepare the soup.
- In a large stock pot combine celery, carrots, onions, green beans and butter. Saute over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until onions are translucent. Stir in garlic for 1 minute til fragrant.
- Stir in beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, salt, and pepper.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Stir in noodles (if using sausage and/or spinach, stir in now with noodles). Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Garnish with basil and parmesan if desired just before serving.