Best Kale Minestrone Soup Recipe
This is THE BEST minestrone soup recipe ever. It's made from a super flavorful tomato base, Tuscan kale, white beans, and loaded with vegetables then topped with a simple basil pesto. It's an easy to make and healthy weeknight dinner recipe!
I have to be honest with you. Until I came up with this minestrone recipe, I didn't really like minestrone soup. If it was the soup of the day option I would never ever ever order it.
Whenever I've eaten minestrone soup, it was always kind of meh. You know, full of soggy pasta, limp spinach, and overall lacking in flavor. I figured that it didn't have to be this way so set out to make the best minestrone soup recipe.
Not to brag (ok I'm bragging) but THIS is the best.
What makes this the best minestrone soup recipe:
- The broth is packed full of rich flavor from a few simple tricks I'll share with you.
- It's topped with a simple basil pesto which adds a bright splash of freshness.
- Creamy and delicious white beans.
- Tuscan kale which stands up to the heat of the soup without wilting away into nothing. I'm looking at you, spinach.
- Soft and creamy red potatoes which fill you up and taste WAY better than pasta in soup.
How do you make minestrone soup from scratch?
Don't worry, making minestrone is SUPER easy.
- Saute some onions, garlic, and carrot.
- Add tomato paste, broth, a bunch of veggies, and a few spices to the pot.
- Simmer simmer simmer.
- Throw in some kale and a little lemon juice and Voila! You've just made minestrone soup!
How do you make the best minestrone soup?
I'm glad you asked, my friend. I have four little tricks that will up your game. Big time.
Trick #1: Caramelize the tomato paste. This is a little trick I use all the time. Cooking the tomato paste until it darkens and becomes sweet smelling adds so much extra flavor to the recipe.
Trick #2: Parmesan cheese rinds. (If you're vegan, skip this trick. Otherwise, read on!) Whenever I get to the end of a brick of parmesan cheese, I take the rind and put it in a bag in my freezer. When I make soup recipes (like this one!) I pull out a couple and toss them in the pot. They add a ton of depth to the soup.
Trick #3: Lemon juice. A squeeze of lemon juice at the end really brightens and freshens up the minestrone. Don't skip it!
Trick #4: Pesto. Like the lemon juice, adding a dollop of fresh basil pesto to your bowl breaths life into the minestrone. Of all the tricks, this one makes the biggest difference.
What vegetables to put in minestrone soup?
Since this is a kale minestrone soup recipe, you're going to want some kale. It's more common to use spinach, but spinach gets weird in hot soup. Kale softens but doesn't disappear into a soggy mess. Kale for the win!
I like to use tuscan kale, but curly kale works great, too.
Minestrone soup is really flexible and you can use the veggies you like or what you have on hand. You want to aim for about 4 cups of vegetables, not including the potatoes.
Some common vegetables to put in minestrone soup are:
- Onions, carrots, celery, bell peppers
- Zucchini or yellow summer squash
- Green beans, split peas, snap peas, or frozen peas
- Broccoli, asparagus, or cauliflower
- Spinach, kale, swiss chard, or collard greens
No matter which combination of vegetables you choose, make sure to chop them fairly small. You want to be able to have a few different veggies on your spoon at the same time.
One pot dinner recipes (like this minestrone soup!) are the best this time of year. They warm you up and take the chill out of the season.
And like chili and curry, soup gets better after a day or two in your fridge. Do you hear what I'm saying? That's right … Meal Prep!
Make a big batch of this tuscan kale minestrone and take it for lunch this week/ quickly warm it up and love dinner time.
PS. Serve this with some well-buttered crusty sourdough bread and a glass of red wine. ← trust me on this one!
Favorite one-pot cold-weather recipes:
- Autumn Roasted Pumpkin Curry
- Easy Vegetarian Chili
- Curried Quinoa Vegetable Stew
- Vegetable Asian Stir Fry Noodles
- Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry
- Easy Palak Paneer
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Easy Vegetarian Soup Recipes:
- Coconut Curried Cauliflower Soup
- Cashew Cream of Mushroom Soup
- Roasted Broccoli Soup with Lemon Tahini Cream
- Coconut Red Lentil Peanut Soup
- Revitalizing Ginger Coconut Lentil Soup
- Detox Sweet Potato Soup with Salty Almond Croutons
Kale Minestrone Soup Recipe
If you love this recipe as much as we do, let us know with a 5-star rating!
Kale Minestrone Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large carrots, minced
- 5.5 ounce can tomato paste
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 3 medium red potatoes, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 1 teaspoon each: oregano, thyme, black pepper
- 28 ounce can whole tomatoes
- 15 ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 8 ounces kale, removed from stem and chopped
- Juice from ½ lemon
- Sea salt, to taste
Easy Basil Pesto
- 2 ounces basil, about 1 cup, loosely packed
- 2 ounces parsley, about 1 cup loosely packed
- ¼ cup pine nuts, cashews or almonds work great too
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Juice from ½ lemon
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese OR nutritional yeast
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and carrots and let them cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots and onion start to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook it until it is sweet smelling and starts to darken, about 3 minutes.1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 medium onion, 3 cloves garlic, 2 large carrots, 5.5 ounce can tomato paste
- Add the vegetable broth, potatoes, celery, zucchini, black pepper, oregano, and thyme to the pot. Pour the juice from the tomatoes into the pot then use your hands to crush the whole tomatoes before adding them to the pot. If you're using the parmesan rinds, add them to the pot now. Bring the pot to a boil then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes.4 cups vegetable broth, 3 medium red potatoes, 2 stalks celery, 1 zucchini, 1 teaspoon each: oregano, thyme, black pepper, 28 ounce can whole tomatoes
- While the soup simmers, make the pesto. Add all the pesto ingredients to a small food processor and pulse until mostly smooth.2 ounces basil, 2 ounces parsley, ¼ cup pine nuts, 2 tablespoons olive oil, Juice from ½ lemon, 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese OR nutritional yeast
- Add the beans, kale, and lemon juice to the soup and let the kale wilt and the beans warm through. Season to taste with sea salt. Serve the minestrone topped with the pesto.15 ounce can white beans, 8 ounces kale, Juice from ½ lemon, Sea salt
Hi, can you give an approximate measurement for the potatoes? I never know if my medium is your small, ya know? Do you think like two or three cups of diced potatoes?
Thanks, the recipe looks great! It’s actually weirdly hot out for springtime in my location but somehow I still want soup haha
It’s weirdly hot here, too! One diced potato = about 1 cup. So 3 cups will do it for this recipe.
I made this recipe, and if you are a true vegan you want to omit the lemon juice. It will help greatly. I am sorry that I put the lemon in because it came out way to acidic without the fat from the cheese in both the soup and in the pesto to balance out the recipe.
A nice recipe though!
Can this be frozen please?
It freezes very well!
Does the calorie count on the nutrition label include the pesto mix topping?
Very good but too many tomatoes in my opinion. I followed the recipe and it was way too tomato-y, tried it another time with a 14 oz can and it was perfect
Just made this! I confess I was too lazy to make the pesto, but I may buy some tomorrow to spoon on top. Without it, though, the soup was still great! Flavorful and delightful. In addition to your ingredients list, I used the ton of green and yellow squash and red kale I got from my weekly produce box, green beans, and brown potatoes instead of red because that’s what I had on hand. Unfortunately I didn’t have carrots, but next time I’ll be sure to use them for extra caramel-y goodness! I adore your recipes and I think my New Years resolution just became: make everything on this site!! Thank you for these wonderful recipes! You’re so good with flavors and measurements—I like that you don’t skimp on salt, butter, or special steps to up the flavor!
Awww well you just made my day!!! I’m so happy you like my recipes!!
I adore minestrone in all it’s forms! This sounds amazing — I adore Tuscan kale in soups for exactly the reason you described! When I make minestrone with pasta, I boil the pasta al dente separately, then just add to bowls when serving. I am with you on soggy pasta! 🙁
That’s a good idea for the pasta. Soggy pasta is the worst!
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You just pointed out all the reasons I don’t go for vegetarian minestrone myself! It always seems to be lacking in flavor and heft, so I end up adding Italian sausage, bacon, or some sort of meat to make up for that. But you have such great ideas in this recipe that I’m anxious to try your version. I’m trying to be more plant-based in my diet than I’ve been lately so this is perfect for that as well. Thanks Kristen!
I hope you like it as much as I do!!