Summer Minestrone Soup

Minestrone soup featuring fresh summer garden vegetables! With zucchini, tomatoes, green beans, celery, bell pepper, chicken stock, white beans, and pasta. It's summer in a soup!

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 onion)
  • 1/2 cup sliced leeks, white and light green parts only (see How to Clean Leeks), about 1/2 leek
  • 1/2 cup diced celery (about one celery rib)
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper (about 1/4 of one bell pepper)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tbsp)
  • 6 cups chicken stock (can use good quality vegetable stock for vegetarian option)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (add more salt if using unsalted stock)
  • 2 cups large dice zucchini (or other summer squash such as crookneck or pattypan)
  • 1 cup fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup cooked small white beans
  • 1/2 cup dry ditalini or any small pasta (omit for gluten-free option)
  • Fresh basil for garnish
  • Grated Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)


1 Sauté onions, leeks, celery, bell pepper, garlic, in olive oil: Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large, thick-bottomed pot on medium high. Add the diced onion, leeks, celery, and bell pepper.

Cook for 8 to 10 minutes until softened, lowering the heat to medium to prevent browning.

Add the minced garlic and cook for a minute more, until fragrant.


2 Add stock, seasonings, beans, pasta, vegetables, then simmer: Add the chicken stock, bay leaf, thyme, and salt to the pot. Increase heat to bring to a simmer, then add the zucchini, green beans, tomatoes, white beans, and pasta.

Heat to a simmer again and lower the heat to maintain a steady simmer. Cook for 10 minutes until the vegetables and the pasta are cooked through.

summer-minestrone-method-3 summer-minestrone-method-5

3 Garnish with basil and Parmesan: Garnish with thinly sliced fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese to serve.

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  • kjill

    Didn’t have the leek but had everything else, added some finely chopped green onion to serve. This is amazingly good and I am not usually a soup lover, perhaps because it has such a fresh flavor.


  • Joy

    Outstanding! I used Orzo pasta. Added fresh uncooked tomatoes and lemon juce right when I served it.


  • Sarah

    I love this soup and make it at least once a month! Thank you!


  • Klingan

    So good! I added bits of spicy sausages and smoked ham.


  • Cynthia

    This is delicious!! I made some changes. I added potatoes and Italian blend, fresh corn and fresh tomatoes and fresh spinach. Turned out very good!!! Thank You!!

  • JLD

    Delicious! I made this last night…it was easy to put together and tastes wonderful! Definitely give it a try! Thanks for the recipe!


  • Martha

    I have made this several times and it is ALWAYS at hit! Thank you for all the great recipes!


  • Steven

    I got some mustard greens in my CSA bag. Could I add those to this soup? I’ve never had them before and am unsure of their flavor.

  • Fully Alive

    Just made this today (August) for lunch. It came together so quickly and was the perfect use for some fresh-from-the-farmers’-market veggies! I was SCRUMPTIOUS, filling, yet light. Next time I will add the zucchini a little later (they take less time to cook than the pasta and green beans), and I will use an orange bell pepper rather than red for even more color. I think I might try adding a little leftover roasted chicken that I shred, too. I can see so many variations, but it is already yummy as shared. Thank you!

  • Karina

    would this soup freeze well if the pasta is omitted? Curious if the zucchini re-heats well…

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Karina, I haven’t tried freezing it, so don’t know what to tell you. If you do freeze it, please let us know how it turns out for you.

  • Kim

    used orzo and added a little salsa for some pop. Healthy and delish.

  • Anona Weaver

    Do you have to use basil? Or the parmasean cheese? I forgot them

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Anona, no, you don’t have to use either of those. A minestrone is sort of a hodgepodge of what’s in season. You can vary it up a bit.

  • Ishbel and James Legarde

    Hi Elise: we have tried many of your family’s recipes and have found each and every one fantastic but this soup is a real winner! Great blog! Hugs and kisses from Ishbel and James

  • Rachel @ Tasty Thailand

    To the person who said zucchini is a courgette in the UK, it’s the same here in Thailand, and they can be quite difficult to find. My local Bangkok supermarket has been selling them lately though, so I’m definitely going to try this recipe. Looks fabulous and easy. Thanks :)

  • Emm

    I am enjoying a bowl of this as I type. It is delicious! I added a parmesan rind to the pot – I keep them in the freezer whenever we use up a chunk of cheese. It added a delicious depth of flavor and all the salt that it needed. I was pretty loose with the vegetable proportions, added carrots, skipped the pasta and green beans… truly a recipe that allows improvisation. Thank you for the recipe! And everything on your site – it always delivers.

  • Don Davis

    I recently tried a cold/chilled minestrone soup at Eataly in NYC. It was made with white cannanelli beans, a variety of vegetables, and a light broth and was excellent.

  • Christine Flowers

    This turned out awesome!


  • Gil

    Hi, I live in Vancouver B.C. We have an incredible selection of veggies. I have made your recipe several times and absolutely love it. It is simple and fool proof. For a heartier meal I use elbow macaroni and meat balls or matzo balls.
    Keep on cooking…..I love your recipes

  • Sandy S

    Our weather has cooled down and this soup looks just right for a change from the fare we’ve been having to stay cool. Oh, but it does make me miss having a garden! Like some have mentioned, I have been known to make a soup by cleaning out the fridge but, I think following this recipe may help with proportions and thus flavor!
    On the gluten-free thingy, today it truly is so easy to go gluten free. Once you ‘belly up to the bar’ of gluten free, the choices are endless. When a recipe has pasta, you simply have to decide which of your gluten free pasta stash you are going to use. I tend to like pasta made with quinoa, but sometimes rice pasta is the ticket. Or, sometime as one other persons has suggested go with the quinoa, straight-up! As to why gluten is in so many processed items that one would never imagine it would be in?! Well one just has to always scan the labels of new items. And sadly, more or less expect gluten to be in everything from Chicken and Rice soup to Catsup!?!? But, once one has given-up on the companies the do such things, life gets easier. You start looking for other sources and a whole new world of earthly delights becomes available. Having a great source for easy, fresh recipes makes it super easy and fun to be going on a new and different path.

  • Natalie

    Great minds think alike! I made a huge pot of minestrone just to use up farmer’s market vegetables on the day you posted this. I used garbanzo beans and a pound of ground beef. I like ground Italian sausage even better in this recipe. I started in one soup pot and had to dump it all into my bigger stock pot halfway through! This is what grandma calls “stoup” because it is almost as thick as stew.

  • Nina D

    This looks delicious, Elise. And that’s how I like to make soup: what’s in the fridge/pantry that I need to use up?

    Going to try this with some homemade turkey stock in the freezer.

    • Nina D

      Ooops. I meant to say: this is an ideal recipe to use some leftover cheese rinds for a bit of added body.

  • Liam Ward

    I dont know if this is an issue but i had to google what a zucchini was (in england we call it a courgette)
    This recipe looks great, i am going to make it but i will omit the bay leaf as i am not a fan

    • Sandy S

      I have a favorite Thai soup recipe that includes a lime leaf, which is removed before serving. Perhaps that would be worth a try?

  • Kelly W.

    Yum! Going to try this. Do you think I could sub in quinoa?

  • Peter O'Donnell

    Great looking recipe with a nice summer twist. It probably shouldn’t be tagged as gluten-free, though, since it has pasta and some broths may have small amounts of gluten. Love your blog… one of my favorite recipe sources.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Peter, thanks! I added the clarification, “omit for gluten-free”. I always forget about the stock since I make homemade stock which never has any gluten in it. Why do companies put gluten in their packaged chicken stock? Weird.

    • Laura

      But I think it’s so easy to make this recipe gluten free. You are definitely taking me on a free trip to Italy with this splendid soup. I actually lost 10 pounds last summer when I started eating minestrone soup for lunch most days. Thanks for this new recipe!