Minestrone Soup

Minestrone soup with cannellini beans, salt pork or pancetta, broth, cabbage, potato, zucchini, carrots, plum tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese.

Beans will absorb a great deal of liquid while cooking. Add more broth or water to replace lost liquid if needed, or the beans will stick.

  • Yield: Serves 10-12, easily. (This recipe makes a lot of soup!)


  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups dried Cannellini or Great Northern Beans
  • 2 ounces salt pork or pancetta
  • 10 to 12 cups chicken broth (use gluten-free broth for gluten-free version)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup loosely packed parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 head savoy or curly cabbage, sliced
  • 1 potato, diced
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 cups chopped Italian styled peeled plum tomatoes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese, grated for garnish


1 Soak beans overnight in cold water. Drain beans, rinse, and place them in a large saucepan or stockpot. Add salt pork or pancetta and 6 cups of broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook gently for about 1 hour.

2 Heat oil in a separate large stockpot. Add chopped vegetables (onion, celery, carrot, garlic, parsley) and sauté gently 5 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Add remaining vegetables and tomatoes. Add remaining 5 cups broth. Simmer for 40 to 50 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

3 Remove salt pork or pancetta from beans. Dice finely. Transfer half of the beans to a food processor or a blender and blend into a paste. Add mashed beans to the vegetables. Add remaining whole beans, broth, and diced pork to vegetables.

4 Simmer 5 minutes longer. Season soup with salt and pepper. Serve with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.

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  1. Cin

    I love this photo, Elise. I mentioned to a work colleague once that we were going to a restaurant that served provincial Italian food, and she said, “Isn’t that just minestrone?” Yeah, that’s all they serve!

  2. Marc Canter

    Pasta Fagiole is a great variant. The texture is superb and there’s nothing like a warm, smothering Italian version of comfort food to brighten your day.

    Also anothe version from Friuli Venezia-Guilia is called ‘Yota’ – which includes Sauerkraut. It was the old Pope’s favorite soup.

  3. Gray

    Would it be hard to prepare this recipe without meat? I imagine that it isn’t too big of a deal to replace the broth with vegetable stock of some sort, but does there need to be some subsitution for the salt pork?

  4. Jason

    This is a great recipe. The texture was good with the beans, very hearty. To me the tomatoes is an important part of the recipe…it gives it a rich flavor, yet I’ve seen minestrone recipes without it.
    I made it without meat, but still using chicken stock, and it came out fine. Serve with french bread as a meal of its own.

  5. Hoa

    I used chicken broth (mix between the broth from fresh chicken broth and can chicken broth from Trader Joes).

    I didn’t use any pork and I forgot to get tomatoes.

    However, the soup was wonderfully delicious. It was good if you add a few pieces of pastas into it as well.

    This recipe makes a large quantity of soup. So I think it’s good when you have a small part of people.


  6. Stacia

    I made this soup Friday and it was so good! I’ve never made a full-on soup before. Usually I stick with chilis, stews, chowders, or your Dad’s Fish Stew. For the broth I used some chicken stock I had just made that day. Oh, and I left out the cabbage due to forgetfulness at the grocery store earlier that week.

  7. kim

    I remember when I was younger, my mom had the Time/Life cookbook collection, and she made the most delicious minestrone soup, which I believe came from this collection. I remember it having small meatballs, and lots of veggies. I’ve tried looking online for the recipe, with no success. Does anyone remember or have a copy of the recipe?

  8. maureen

    Made this the other night and it turned out GREAT! Instead of cannellini, used red kidney beans because that’s what I had in the pantry.

    A very hearty meal with plenty of leftovers. Yum!

  9. karin

    Please when you cook beans, lentils, fava beans or any other kind of beans soak them through the night rinse well and add water and cook them for an our without salt…. you add NO salt at all or will get so hard that you would not be able to use … remember please salt make some food difficult to processed ad the salt at the end…Karin …good luck

  10. Kiri

    Kim, Minestrone with small meatballs is also known as Italian Wedding Soup, and is very, very good!