This Minestrone Soup packs in the veggies and flavor but still feels approachable for kids. It has by far the best flavor of any minestrone soup out there with a rich tomato-pesto based veggie broth. Serve up tender carrots, celery, cabbage, peas, pasta, and more with this amazing minestrone.
Why We Love Minestrone Soup
Hearty Italian flavors coming right up! You’ve probably had minestrone soup before… but not like this.
This kid-friendly minestrone is adapted from a new cookbook of mine (called ‘Food: Vegetarian Home Cooking’ by Mary McCartney) And it’s a little different from classic minestrone in a very good way.
This soup is packed with a bigger variety of veggies (like leeks, celery, peas, carrots, and cabbage) and they’re all cut small and cooked to be perfectly tender. So kids don’t have to navigate large chunks in their bowl. Our version of minestrone soup is vegetarian, but is so filling that you won’t even miss the meat!
And the flavors are fabulous! Fresh herbs and chewy pasta complement the bounty of veggies in a rich tomato-based broth. Your family will love this soup on a cool day.
Tips for Making Kid Friendly Minestrone
- Chop your veggies small. The smaller the veggies, the quicker they get tender, and the easier it is for kids to eat them.
- Choose a good-quality broth. A good broth ties this soup together, so choose a tried-and-true brand. The recipe calls for veggie broth, but you can substitute chicken broth if you like (and even homemade stock.)
- Pick a fun pasta shape. If your kids have a favorite, go with that! Short and chunky shapes like macaroni, small shells, or radiatori work great.
- Undercook your pasta slightly. Pasta continues to cook in soups even after you remove the soup from heat, so it’s OK to leave your pasta a little firm. It will continue to cook as long as the soup is hot.
- Let kids sprinkle their own cheese. I speak from experience: sometimes letting your kids be the boss of the Parmesan is the key to getting them to eat!
- Serve with a bread your kids love. When kids are learning to like veggie soups, they might start by dipping bread in the broth. Encourage this early step!
Can I Use Other Vegetables in Minestrone?
Yes! There are so many veggies that would be great in this soup. Here are some veggie suggestions:
- green beans
- you could add cannellini beans or red kidney beans
What to Serve with Minestrone Soup
- Crusty Bread: A slice of crusty bread or a baguette is a classic choice. You can also serve it with garlic bread for extra flavor.
- Grilled Cheese Sandwich: A warm, gooey grilled cheese sandwich is a comforting pairing with minestrone soup.
- Salad: A fresh side salad with mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a balsamic vinaigrette can provide a contrast in texture and flavor.
- Focaccia: Focaccia bread with olive oil, herbs, and perhaps some olives is a great choice to accompany minestrone soup.
- Cheese and Herb Biscuits: Homemade or store-bought biscuits with added cheese and herbs can be a delightful complement.
- Rice: You can serve minestrone over a bed of cooked rice or mix the rice directly into the soup instead of pasta for a heartier meal.
- Quinoa: Like rice, cooked quinoa can be a healthy and protein-rich option to serve with your soup.
- Grated Parmesan Cheese: Offer a bowl of freshly grated Parmesan cheese for sprinkling over the soup to enhance its flavor.
- Herb-Infused Olive Oil: Provide a small dish of olive oil infused with herbs and a pinch of red pepper flakes for dipping your bread.
- Fruit: Fresh fruit like apple slices or a fruit salad can be a refreshing side.
Can Minestrone Soup Be Frozen?
This soup tastes even better the second day! Reheat it on the stove-top on low or you can heat individual bowls in the microwave. Minestrone soup can stay good in the fridge for up to 5 days.
If you want to save leftovers for a far-future date, cool the soup completely and then pour it carefully into a gallon-sized zip-top bag. It will freeze and stay delicious for up to 3 months. This soup defrosts and warms back up beautifully for a hearty and healthy repeat meal.
More of Our Favorite Soup Recipes
Servings: 6 servings
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 1 medium leek, trimmed, washed and finely chopped optional
- 2 stalks celery trimmed and finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots chopped
- 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 4 cups vegetable stock can you chicken stock
- 1 cup green cabbage grated or finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh oregano chopped
- 1 medium bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1-2 tablespoons pesto more for a stronger flavor
- 1/4 cup green peas or peeled fava beans
- 1/2 cup pasta shape of choice
- sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- grated parmesan for serving
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, then add the chopped onion, leek, celery and carrots, stirring well, and cook for a couple of minutes to allow the flavors of the vegetables to release.
Stir in the chopped tomatoes, and the garlic. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, checking and stirring often. Pour in the vegetable stock, then add the cabbage, herbs, and the bay leaf, and mix in the tomato paste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the frozen peas, or fava beans and pasta and continue to simmer gently for a further 15 minutes. Add more stock if it is too thick. Taste, and season with sea salt (only if it needs it, as the stock may be salty enough) and ground black pepper. Ladle generously into soup bowls and sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over the top.
Calories: 129kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 775mg | Potassium: 336mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 4027IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg
I’m a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.
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