Minestrone is what I like to call an "everything but the kitchen sink" type of soup, and the reason for this is that the variations are endless. You can make it gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, meaty and hearty, or any combination you can dream up.
What I love most about this Beef Minestrone Soup recipe is that it is a classic one-pot, stove-top recipe. It's quick to make and just an easy recipe if you're taking your first steps in the kitchen. My version of this Mediterranean staple is full of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. It's essentially a complete meal in a bowl if that's what you fancy. But if the soup is not enough for you and a side sandwich sounds like a good plan, then you'll love my Grilled Cheese with a Twist to accompany this hearty bowl of goodness. Or if you are looking for a vegetarian soup option, then please try my creamy tomato soup or my classic Italian Lentil and Barley Soup with Vegetables.
Ingredients for Beef Minestrone Soup
See the recipe below for specific quantities and details.
How to Make Beef Minestrone
Sauté onion. To your pot over medium heat, add the onion and butter and sauté for 3-5 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
Add beef. Next, add the ground beef to the pot and sauté, breaking up the large chunks of beef with a wooden spoon. Cook until the meat is no longer pink and begins to caramelize, roughly 8-10 minutes.
Add sage and garlic. Add the fresh sage and garlic to the pot and sauté until the garlic is fragrant, approximately 30 seconds.
Add remaining ingredients. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot, stirring well to combine. Bring to a boil and then put the lid on, reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour.
Secrets for Success
- Don't skip sautéing the beef to the point of caramelization. All the brown bits on the bottom of the pot are what will give the soup tonnes of umami flavour.
Substitutions & Variations
- Extra-virgin olive oil can be substituted for butter.
- You can omit the beef altogether to make this soup vegan or vegetarian.
- Ground chicken, ground turkey and ground pork would make good alternatives if you're not using beef.
- Rosemary and thyme are very woody in flavour as well, so you can substitute these fresh herbs if you prefer.
- I used water as the base for the soup, but if you have beef broth or chicken broth on hand, either one will make a great stand-in.
- Romano beans (borlotti beans) are a classic and are traditionally used in authentic Italian minestrone but feel free to substitute with cannellini beans (white kidney beans), red kidney beans and, in a pinch, chickpeas (garbanzo beans).
- If you like minestrone with pasta or rice, I recommend adding a ¼ cup of pasta or rice to the soup approximately 15 minutes (or check the package cooking instructions) before the soup is ready. The types of pasta I recommend are ditalini, orzo or pastina. Basmati rice or regular long-grain rice would work nicely too.
Frequently Asked Questions
Both minestrone and vegetable soup share common ingredients, namely, onion, carrots, celery, broth and tomatoes. The big difference is that minestrone includes beans and as a result, is a thicker, heartier soup.
No minestrone does not always contain meat. But the great thing about minestrone is that it can be made with meat or without. The idea behind minestrone is to use whatever you have on hand, whether that is an abundance of seasonal vegetables like zucchini or extra ground beef that you need to cook up.
It sure is! This recipe is a great source of protein, fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. Eating soup is a great way to include more veggies into your diet, the Mediterranean way!
After using the wooden spoon to sauté the beef, use a clean utensil to proceed with the recipe. This will prevent potentially harmful bacteria from the meat from contaminating the finished soup.
Refrigerate leftovers within 30 minutes.
Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to three days or frozen for up to one month.
Beef Minestrone Soup
- 4-6 quart heavy-bottomed pot, such as a Dutch oven or stainless steel pot
- chef's knife
- cutting board
- wooden spoon
- measuring spoons
- measuring cups
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup yellow onion, diced into ¼ inch pieces
- 1 pound lean ground beef , 454 grams
- 5 leaves fresh sage, finely minced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon basil, dried
- 1 teaspoon oregano, dried
- 2 cups carrot, diced into ½ inch pieces
- 2 cups celery, diced into ½ inch pieces
- 2 cups zucchini, diced into ½ inch pieces
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 cups romano beans, roughly 19 ounces or 540 millilitres
- 1 can cherry tomatoes, roughly 13 ounces or 398 millilitres
- 4 cups water
- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Sauté onion. To your pot over medium heat add the onion and butter and sauté for 3-5 minutes or until the onions are translucent.1 cup yellow onion, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Add beef. Next, add the ground beef to the pot and sauté breaking up the large chunks of beef with a wooden spoon. Cook until the meat is no longer pink and begins to caramelize, roughly 8-10 minutes.1 pound lean ground beef
- Add sage and garlic. Add the fresh sage and garlic to the pot and sauté until the garlic is fragrant approximately 30 seconds.5 leaves fresh sage, 3 cloves garlic
- Add remaining ingredients. Add the remaining ingredients to the pot, stirring well to combine. Bring to a boil and then put the lid on, reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour.2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon basil, 1 teaspoon oregano, 2 cups carrot, 2 cups celery, 2 cups zucchini, ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, 2 cups romano beans, 1 can cherry tomatoes, 4 cups water
My picky twins loved this soup! Yay, this was a big win! Thanks
Allison Baker says
This a very good recipe for minestrone. I had ground turkey and used that instead of beef and it turned out perfect.
Donna Poirier says
Hi Allison, that's good to know that ground turkey was a good substitute. Thanks for trying the recipe 🙂