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Minestrone Soup with bacon, butternut squash, kale, and white beans is the farmers market turned into a big pot of warm comfort.

a bowl of quick minestrone soup with bacon and butternut squash with toasted bread and a spoon

The farmers market is my happy place and it continually inspires my cooking for a few reasons.

  • Number one, the produce is abundant, affordable, and so fresh it was often picked that morning.
  • Number two, because I wind up with so many veggie impulse buys, I have no choice but to work them into our menu.

This minestrone soup is my latest farmers market love story (and this Crockpot Butternut Squash Soup its long-awaited follow-up sequel).

a close up of almost vegetarian minestrone soup in a red soup pot

5 Star Review

“I served this soup during a New Year’s Eve dinner party. It’s special enough for a celebration! The leftovers taste great, too.”

— Eileen —

When the nights start to get chilly and the days become shorter, nothing seems to warm my soul better than a bowl of healthy minestrone soup.

It’s a recipe I love for its wholesome ingredients and versatility.

There are really no rules when it comes to minestrone.

Use whatever veggies you have on hand, add some beans, cooked pasta, and a little meat (if you so desire), and let it simmer in stock until a rich, hearty soup comes together.

I always serve minestrone soup with a heap of freshly grated Parmesan and toasted baguettes.

Why? Because it’s the right (and delicious) thing to do.

Minestrone vs. Pasta Fagioli

People often wonder what is the difference between Pasta Fagioli and minestrone soup. These two recipes are similar in terms of taste and ingredients but with a few key differences.

  • Minestrone soup isn’t so much a rigid, specific recipe as it is a loose term for Italian vegetable soup with ingredients that change throughout the seasons.
  • Pasta fagioli however refers to a more specific soup recipe that puts a greater emphasis on the beans and pasta and less of a focus on the vegetables. You can try my favorite version in my cookbook.
a bowl of hearty and healthy minestrone soup with bacon and butternut squash in a white bowl with toasted bread

How to Make Minestrone Soup

Loaded with in-season veggies, tender white beans for healthy protein, whole grain noodles for tummy-filling fiber, and a smattering of crisp bacon, minestrone soup is a comforting, quick, budget-friendly meal.

The Ingredients

  • Bacon. A little smoky, salty bacon goes a long way toward flavoring this soup with a little meaty richness.
  • Butternut Squash. Packed with vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber, butternut squash lifts this recipe from basic to superfood status.
  • Kale. Our second nutritional powerhouse in this healthy minestrone recipe that packs on additional vitamin A, vitamin C, PLUS a hefty dose of vitamin K. (Love kale? Try my Crockpot Tortellini Soup and Kale Soup)

Market Swap

The beauty of minestrone is that it’s a soup that can flow with the bounty of every season. Swap one (or more) of these seasonal vegetables for the kale or butternut squash.

  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Zucchini
  • Leeks
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Cannellini Beans. Contribute creaminess, additional fiber, and a little plant-based protein.

Substitution Tip

Great Northern or white kidney beans can be substituted for cannellini beans. Choose reduced-sodium cans when possible.

minestrone soup with bacon in a red pot
  • Pasta. To add some whole grain goodness, I select a whole wheat pasta of a shortcut variety like elbow macaroni, rotini, radiatori, shells, or ditalini.
  • Carrots + Celery + Onion. A classic trio of vegetables used in countless soup recipes (like this Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup).
  • Garlic. For essential flavor.
  • Chopped Tomatoes. Add color, flavor, depth, and acidity.
  • Chicken Stock. The liquid base of minestrone.

Substitution Tip

Instead of chicken stock, you may use vegetable, beef, or turkey stock.

  • Bay Leaf. My secret to ingredient for elevating even the simplest of soup recipes (like this Instant Pot French Onion Soup) to the next level.
  • Thyme. For an aromatic woodsy flavor.
  • Parmesan. Just a sprinkle (or two…okay three) of freshly grated Parmesan is the perfect finish to this quick minestrone soup.

Dietary Note

  • Vegetarian Minestrone: Omit the bacon and opt for vegetable stock rather than chicken stock.
  • Vegan Minestrone: Follow the same swaps and do not garnish with Parmesan cheese at the end.

The Directions

Crisping chopped bacon in a soup pot
  1. Cook the bacon until crisp, then remove.
sautéing butternut squash and vegetables together in a deep pot for minestrone soup
  1. Sauté the squash, carrots, celery, and garlic until softened.
wilting kale with butternut squash, and vegetables in a soup pot
  1. Stir in the kale, tomatoes, chicken stock, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the vegetables are tender.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta, drain, and set aside.
  3. Add everything to the soup and heat through. Serve topped with Parmesan. ENJOY!
Italian vegetable soup with kale and white beans in a white bowl


Don’t forget the bread. Here’s how I like to toast up a baguette to serve with this minestrone soup.

  • Place rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F.
  • Brush both sides of each baguette slice with olive oil and place on a baking sheet.
  • Cook until golden and toasted, about 6 minutes. Serve warm with soup.

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Leftovers may be kept in your refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To Reheat. Warm on the stovetop or in the microwave until steaming.
  • To Freeze. Freeze minestrone soup for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Storage Tips

If you know you are going to have leftovers or are making freezer minestrone soup for a future meal, I recommend:

  • Keeping the cooked pasta separate from the soup rather than mixing it into the pot of soup.
  • This will prevent the pasta from becoming mushy as it is stored.
  • Mix in cooked pasta while reheating the soup.

What to Serve with Minestrone Soup

  • Dutch Oven. For everything from soups, stews, braised meats, and bread.
  • Large Pot. For boiling the pasta to al dente perfection.
  • Chef’s Knife. Perhaps the single most important asset in any kitchen.

Minestrone soup is my does-it-all winter happy place. What’s yours?

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Prepare Minestrone Soup in a Slow Cooker?

I have not made this recipe in a slow cooker before so it would be an experiment if you try it. You would likely want to crisp the bacon on the stovetop before adding the ingredients to the slow cooker. I would also wait to add the pasta until the final 20-30 minutes of cooking, OR for best results, cook separately on the stovetop. If you try using this recipe for a crockpot minestrone soup, I would love to hear your results.

Why is it Called Minestrone?

Variations of minestrone have been around since Roman times so the exact origin is debated. One common belief is that minestrone is derived from the Italian word “minestra” paired with the suffix one, which roughly translates to big soup.

Is Minestrone Soup Gluten Free?

No. This minestrone recipe, as it is written, is not gluten free. You may make a gluten free minestrone by omitting the pasta from the recipe and serving it instead with slices of your favorite toasted gluten free bread. Or, you can cook gluten free pasta noodles separately and stir them in at the end. I would also recommend checking the label of your canned beans and chicken stock for gluten-containing or wheat-based additives.

Minestrone Soup

5 from 10 votes
This minestrone soup with bacon and butternut squash is hearty, healthy, and is ready in less than an hour. The BEST quick minestrone soup!

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 55 minutes

Servings: 6 – 8 servings


  • 4 ounces bacon 1/2-inch diced (4-5 slices)
  • 1 tablespoon  extra virgin olive oil plus extra for toasting the bread and serving
  • 3 cups butternut squash 1/2-inch diced & peeled (about 1 pound)
  • 2 cups carrots 1/2-inch diced (4 carrots)
  • 2 cups celery 1/2-inch diced (3 stalks)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion about 1 medium
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic 4 cloves
  • 1 pound kale stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
  • 28 ounces canned chopped tomatoes
  • 6 to 8 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt plus additional as needed (depending upon the saltiness of the stock)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 cups cooked whole wheat small pasta such as elbow (about 1 cup dry)
  • 1 can cannellini beans (14 ounces) drained and rinsed
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving
  • Baguette cut into 1/2 inch thick diagonal slices


  • In a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium-low, cook bacon, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Remove from pan and place in between two paper towels set atop a dinner plate. Blot lightly and set aside. Drain most of the excess fat from the Dutch oven.
  • Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, squash, onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Sauté over medium heat, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Add the kale in batches as it fits in the pot, stirring so that it cooks down. Once the kale has slightly wilted, add the tomatoes, 6 cups chicken stock, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to directions. Drain and set aside.
  • Once the soup has simmered and the vegetables are soft, discard the bay leaf. Add the beans, cooked pasta, and reserved bacon and heat through. The soup should be fairly thick, but add additional chicken stock as needed. Serve hot drizzled with olive oil and topped with Parmesan cheese.
  • To toast baguette: Place rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Brush both sides of each baguette slice with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Cook until golden and toasted, about 6 minutes. Serve warm with soup.



  • TIME-SAVING TIP: Readers have reported success using frozen pre-cubed butternut squash.
  • TO STORE: Leftovers may be kept in your refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze minestrone soup for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • TO REHEAT: Warm on the stovetop or in the microwave until steaming.


Serving: 1(of 6) without bread or cheeseCalories: 486kcalCarbohydrates: 79gProtein: 24gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 12mgPotassium: 1488mgFiber: 9gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 22434IUVitamin C: 124mgCalcium: 304mgIron: 7mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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5 from 10 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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  1. A new Farmers Market opened finally close enough for me to go to Only 12 miles  last Thursday I saw your recipes on Facebook & saved it immediately- picked this soup for my journey, got almost everything I needed at the organic veggies & fruits stand! So thrilled everything was perfect & a bit pricey but hey healthy counts right? Finished up list at grocery store beans, bacon etc.  
    Recipe printed off & today is the day!!! One of my neighbors is doing Chemo & both her & her husband love my soup, even though I live in the city I have a large garden with multiple waist high containers, winter is my soup garden!
    One question please since butternut squash is hard to peal & dice do you have a suggestion please?

    1. Hi Fay, I hope you enjoy the soup! I find the easiest way to peel butternut squash is with a vegetable peeler. As for dicing, this may be a helpful tutorial:

  2. I served this soup during a New Year’s Eve dinner party. It’s special enough for a celebration! I did omit the pasta, since the soup was already REALLY thick, and I had added the full eight cups of broth. The leftovers taste great, too.5 stars

    1. I’m so happy to hear that this recipe was a hit, Eileen! Thank you for taking the time to share this kind review!

  3. I don’t have any butternut squash, would it be okay with put it? Also I’m vegetarian so would I need to make any changes if I take out the bacon?

    1. Hi Tulsi! I’ve never tried this recipe without the squash or bacon, so it would be an experiment. It won’t be as flavorful without those ingredients, but I think it will still be tasty. I hope you enjoy the soup if you try it!

    1. Hi Kelli! I haven’t tried this in a slow cooker myself, so you’d be experimenting. If you decide to play around with it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  4. Just made a pot of this Minestrone soup. So delicious!! I really enjoy this and alot of your recipes! Thank you5 stars

  5. So easy to pull together and so delicious to eat! I left out the bacon (because I didn’t have any on hand) and the first bite of this soup tasted SO much like my Nana’s vegetable soup I wanted to cry – I haven’t tasted that in almost 30 years. Healthy, delicious meal that I will make again and again!5 stars

  6. Love this recipe!! Have made it twice in one month. It’s hearty, has great depth of flavor and I love that it’s full of veggies!5 stars

  7. This soup is absolutely delicious even my 4 and 2 year old love it! I’ve done it with bacon, and without and both are delicious! I was out of bacon tonight when I made the soup, I didn’t have diced tomatoes so I used crushed, and I only had gf tiny shell pasta. It was So good!5 stars

      1. Hi Jenny, I guess you probably could. I found the best results by adding it in already cooked. If you decide to experiment, I’d love to know how it goes!

  8. SOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOD! Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. I added zuchini, like suggested, but everything else stayed the same.5 stars