Warm up to this delicious Minestrone Bean Soup filled with plant-based ingredients like chickpea pasta, white beans, hemp seeds, and seasonal vegetables. Don’t forget to add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast!
*This recipe was created in partnership with Heritage Baptist Church and The Annapolis Lighthouse to raise funds for the Homeless Prevention Center and community food pantry. You can donate to the 2022 SOUPer Bowl Sunday fundraiser here.*
Sip, sip, ahh… The warming tomato-y, herb broth of this satisfying vegan and gluten-free Minestrone Bean Soup will create a moment of just pure joy. Soups are one of those meals that can be hit or miss. You love them or you don’t. But, the key to a satisfying soup is to include a variety of meal components all in one. This Italian-inspired Minestrone Bean Soup combines fiber-rich vegetables, complex carbohydrates, plant-based protein, and unsaturated fats all in one mouthful of flavor.
What is Minestrone Soup?
Minestrone Soup is a hearty Italian soup consisting of small pasta noodles, beans, and a variety of vegetables. It can be a thick soup with as much or as little broth as desired. The original Italian name of minestrone soup is called “cucina povera” meaning “poor kitchen” because it was typically made using leftovers or scraps from vegetables. In true Italian culinary fashion, the soup uses seasonal vegetables available to the different regions of the country. This is why we see many different variations of minestrone soup using vegetables and beans specific to the regions.
Minestrone soup has to be one of the easiest soups to make, in my opinion. No special tools or kitchen appliances are needed to make this Minestrone Bean Soup. All you need here is a large stock pot and access to a stove. You even have the option to skip any chopping by purchasing pre-diced onion and minced garlic. And let’s be honest, I never actually measure things when I cook (except when recipe developing), so you can leave the measuring spoons and cups in the drawer.
How to Make Soups Satisfying
Traditionally, the Standard American Diet thinks about soup at lunch time. Maybe there’s a side salad or half a sandwich paired with a bowl of soup. Others prefer a cup of soup as a starter course or simple side. As for me, soup is my main meal, whether it is for lunch or dinner. The key to making a satisfying soup is to include each meal component – lean protein, complex carbohydrate, non-starchy vegetables, unsaturated fat, and flavor. This combination will provide adequate amounts of fiber in addition to the necessary macro- and micronutrients to encourage physical satisfaction.
Consider mix and matching these meal components in a soup:
- Complex carbohydrate: whole grain or legume-based pasta, white or sweet potatoes, beans, rice noodles, brown rice, quinoa, orzo, corn
- Lean protein: beans, lentils, peas, edamame, tempeh, silken tofu (great for cream-based soups), hemp seeds, chia seeds
- Non-starchy vegetables: onion, celery, carrot, green beans, zucchini, yellow squash, asparagus, leafy greens, bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower
- Unsaturated fat: cooking oil, hemp seeds, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, sesame seeds, roasted cashew pieces, cashew cream sauce, pureed avocado (also good for creamy soups)
- Flavor: diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, vegetable broth, dried or fresh herbs, garlic, flavored cooking oil, salt, garnishes
Food Insecurity in Our Communities
I have been a regular volunteer at one of my local food pantries for several years. Being able to give back to an area of the community where I feel very passionate is so important to me. We often take things for granted such as being able to shop at different grocery stores, taking time to make a grocery list, and stocking our pantry every weekend. But, not everyone is able to do these things. Sometimes it’s our neighbor down the street who struggles to provide three meals a day for their family.
In 2020, 10.5 percent of families in the United States were food insecure at least once during the year. This number has significantly increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Food insecurity is defined as “the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.” Imagine being unsure when and where your next meal will come?
In support of The Annapolis Lighthouse Homeless Prevent Center and Heritage Baptist Church, we are holding a SOUPer Bowl Sunday fundraiser. This fundraiser raises awareness and resources to help those with food insecurity. Please consider donating to this wonderful cause. Check out the other delicious soup recipes contributed by Anne Arundel County community chefs. From my Minestrone Bean Soup to a Greek avgolemono soup, you’ll be cooking up soups all season long.
Let me know if you tried this Minestrone Bean Soup recipe by giving it a rating and leave a comment below! For more intuitive cooking tips and plant-based recipes, check out my main blog page here and visit me on Instagram @chefshannonnutrition.
Minestrone Bean Soup (Gluten-free, vegan)
- Chef's knife
- Cutting board
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Cooking spoon
- Large stock pot
- Soup ladle
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small white or yellow onion, diced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups frozen peas & carrots
- 2 cups chopped seasonal vegetables (zucchini, yellow squash, green beans, butternut squash, etc.)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 3 tbsp hemp seeds (optional)
- 1 (15-oz) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 cups water (or more vegetable broth)
- 1 (15-oz) can cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
- 8 oz chickpea pasta (penne, elbow, fusilli, etc.)
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach or baby kale
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Fresh herbs
- Nutritional yeast
- Shredded Parmesan cheese (dairy-free as needed)
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water.
- Heat a large stock pot over medium heat. Once hot, add oil and onion. Cook onion until translucent, about 3-4 minutes, continually stirring. Add garlic, stir and cook for 1 additional minute.
- Add peas, carrots, chopped seasonal vegetables, and a couple pinches of salt & pepper. Stir and cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until frozen vegetables are thawed and all vegetables softened.
- Add dried basil, oregano, and thyme and quickly stir allowing seasonings to lightly toast before adding liquids. Stir in canned tomatoes, vegetable broth, and water.
- Bring to a boil over heat to medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low (liquid should be at a low simmer). Add hemp seeds, cannellini beans and pasta. Gently stir to incorporate. Let simmer for about 7-10 minutes, occasionally stirring and adjusting heat as needed to maintain a low simmer.
- Reduce heat to low and adjust seasonings to taste. Stir in baby spinach or kale and cover with lid. Allow to cook another 3-4 minutes, until greens are wilted. Remove pot from heat and allow to cool slightly before serving.
- Serve while warm with optional toppings. Allow leftovers to cool completely before storing in an airtight container for 4-5 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.