This minestrone is a classic “use it up” recipe updated to be an instant vegan favorite. The recipe uses hearty chickpeas, loads of vegetables, and greens to make a soup a delicious, filling meal. It’s not at all tricky to make this comforting soup!
WHAT IS MINESTRONE?
I love minestrone soup because even the non-vegan version is vegetable-heavy. It is an Italian soup that serves as a catch-all for whatever vegetables you might already have on hand—it’s most commonly made with small pasta/rice, broth, vegetables, and beans.
Best of all, this soup is solidly healthy. It’s packed full of vegetables, greens, and beans. It doesn’t get much better than that.
HOW TO MAKE VEGAN MINESTRONE
Traditional minestrone isn’t terribly far from being vegan but there are a couple small updates you can make to please everyone:
- Drop the chicken stock and use vegetable broth.
- Ditch the Parmesan cheese.
When I leave out the cheese, I like to stir in a bit of almond milk creamer instead. The cheese typically melts into the soup, adding a layer of creaminess that I miss in most vegan versions. But almond milk creamer can do the same—and bring in a bit of nuttiness that you might miss from cheese, too.
I like to start my vegan minestrone with the classic soffritto, which consists of onions, celery, and carrots cooked in olive oil, just like traditional minestrone. I have also opted to use chickpeas here because I like the texture of the bean as compared to a softer navy or cannellini bean. From there, I don’t deviate much from the classic elements of vegetables, greens, tomato, and broth.
The base for this soup is thicker than a traditional minestrone. If you prefer a thinner soup, add stock until you reach your desired consistency.
PASTA OR RICE?
Since traditional minestrone calls for pasta and rice interchangeably, I like to stick with pasta that isn’t much bigger than rice. Orzo, cavatelli, small macaroni, or even pearl couscous would work.
You want the pasta to be smaller than whatever the largest dice of vegetable is (in this case either the potatoes or green beans). If you swap out pasta for rice, you make this a whole grain meal!
A QUICK WEEKNIGHT DINNER!
Don’t fear what may look like a long list of ingredients. Most of them are dried herbs and pantry staples you’re likely to have on hand, and the soup itself comes together quickly.
I also always keep cans of chickpeas and cans of tomatoes in the pantry. I find that if I need a meal with little planning, either or both can get me to dinner. Chickpeas make for great soups, grain bowls, and dips while canned tomatoes can be whipped into pastas, pizza, and soups.
HOW TO STORE AND FREEZE LEFTOVERS
This soup makes a lot. We tend to make a batch for dinner then it becomes lunch for the next few days. The minestrone will last for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or can be frozen for up to six months.
I like to use Ball’s freezer-safe jars for individual pint-sized portions—makes for a perfect lunch! Just remember to leave a bit of head room for the soup to expand while freezing.
LOOKING FOR MORE GREAT VEGAN RECIPES?
Vegan Chickpea Minestrone Recipe
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, minced
- 2 stalks celery, minced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 large carrot, diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- About 1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 cup fresh or frozen green beans
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 4 ounces small pasta, such as orzo, cavatelli, small macaroni, or pearl couscous
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 (15-ounce can) crushed tomatoes
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond creamer
1 Cook the vegetables: Heat a large stock pot over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil followed by the minced onion, celery, and carrot. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes until everything starts to soften and the onions are fragrant.
Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and cook for another minute. Add the diced potatoes and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
2 Simmer the soup: Add the green beans, broth, water, pasta, and herbs. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are just about tender and the pasta is al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.
3 Add the remaining ingredients: Add the crushed tomatoes and their juices, along with the chickpeas, salt, and pepper and cook for another few minutes to warm everything through. Finally, stir in the spinach and cook for another minute or two until the spinach is wilted.
Turn off the heat. Remove the bay leaf and stir in the almond creamer just before serving.
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