Olive Garden copycat minestrone soup tastes just like the restaurant version right at home. Warm, filling, and full of veggies, this soup is still incredibly easy to make and only requires the Instant Pot or one large stock pot to make! This recipe can be ready in less than 10 minutes so you can serve it to your hungry family any day of the week! Perfect for meal prep or dinner on even the busiest weeknight.
The recipe was originally published in Oct 2018. It has been refreshed with simpler instructions and Pro-tips.
What is Olive Garden minestrone soup?
Minestrone soup is a traditional Italian soup made with lots of vegetables, beans, and rice or pasta. It is a filling vegetarian or vegan soup that can feed even the hungriest eater. Now you can enjoy this soup with our favorite Olive Garden breadsticksright in your own kitchen!
The Olive Garden has one of the best versions of minestrone soups you can get at a restaurant. It’s certainly a personal favorite! This homemade soup is the perfect copy-cat of their minestrone because it tastes just as good or better than the original… and you don’t have to leave the home to enjoy it!
What will you need to make this soup
You’ll need the following ingredients on hand to make this copycat Olive Garden minestrone soup:
Chopped veggies- onion, celery, carrots and zucchini
Garlic cloves - minced
Petite diced tomatoes - do not drain
Kidney beans - you could use your favorite beans
Low sodium vegetable broth
Salt - add as much or little as you prefer or skip altogether
Shell pasta - you can omit, use gluten free, or substitute with quinoa, rice, or your favorite small pasta
You can also add additional vegetables and beans if you like. Adding more can make the soup heartier.
How to make copycat Olive Garden minestrone soup in the Instant Pot
We use the Instant Pot to make this filling soup at home. If you are new to the Instant Pot, check out our post on how to avoid getting the “Burn” notice. It’s packed with helpful tips on using your Instant Pot.
Here’s how to make the soup in the Instant Pot quickly and easily.
First, heat the oil on 'sauté’ and then add the onion and garlic when hot. Next, sauté the vegetables until they are lightly caramelized, which will take about 3 minutes.
When the onions and garlic are ready, add the zucchini, carrots, and celery to the inner pot and sauté for an additional minute.
Next stir in the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Once the sauce and tomatoes are added, press cancel.
Finally, add in the beans, vegetable broth, Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper, baby spinach, and pasta shells. When they are all added, give the ingredients a good stir.
Once the ingredients are well-combined, securely lock the pressure cooker's lid in place and set for 6 minutes on high pressure. After the timer goes off, perform a 'quick release' of pressure and carefully open the lid.
Serve the soup hot with your choice of garlic bread or regular bread.
Making the soup on the stove top
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can still make this great tasting soup. Here’s how.
Start by heating the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once it is hot, add the onions, carrots, garlic, celery, and zucchini.
Allow the first set of veggies to cook for about 5 to 6 minutes or until tender. As they cook, you’ll need to stir them occasionally.
Next, stir in the diced tomatoes, beans, tomato sauce, vegetable broth, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Once they are all added, allow the soup to come to a slow boil.
Once the soup is boiling, turn down the heat to medium and let it simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes.
After it has simmered for about 10 to 15 minutes, add the spinach and dried pasta shells. Finally, allow the pasta to cook fully before serving hot with your favorite bread or other sides.
Pro tips and tricks
Here are some great tips and tricks to help you make this soup perfect every time!
If you plan to freeze the soup, leave the pasta out of the soup. When you reheat it, you can add some cooked pasta to the soup.
Chop the veggies the day before and store in an airtight container or sealable bags in the fridge.
If using dried beans instead of canned, cook and drain ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the fridge
Only add the pasta if you plan on serving it the same day. If you serve it over the course of a week, you can store cooked pasta in a separate container and add a small amount to each serving. This helps prevent the noodles from absorbing too much of the soup’s liquid.
Is this vegan?
We add cheese to our soup, but if you want to make it vegan, you can. To make it vegan, either skip adding cheese or use a vegan alternative.
Can I make this gluten-free?
Yes! You can make the recipe gluten free by using gluten free pasta instead of wheat pasta. You may find it better to cook the gluten-free pasta separately and add it to individual servings of the soup. This can help prevent it from falling apart or getting too mushy.
You could also use either rice or quinoa instead of pasta if you prefer or need to make the soup gluten free.
Is this soup healthy?
Yes! This is a hearty and healthy soup that is a great way to get your family and kids extract veggies. You can make the soup very healthy by using quinoa instead of pasta, using whole wheat pasta, or skipping the pasta altogether.
As is, the soup is a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Its a healthy way to enjoy a warm, comforting meal on a cold day.
What else can I add to the soup?
There are lots of variations you can make to this soup. It is a hearty and forgiving soup that compliments a wide variety of beans and veggies. Here are some of our favorite combinations and additions.
Vegetables: butternut squash, peas, asparagus, yellow squash, or green beans
Beans: chickpeas, cannellini beans, black eye peas, barley, or millet
Add-onsbased on preference: pasta, tortellini, quinoa, or brown lentil
How to store?
Minestrone soup stores well for about 5 to 7 days in an airtight container in the fridge. If you plan to send this as a meal for lunches, we recommend storing it in individual containers. This helps make your life a bit easier.
If you plan to store or freeze the soup, we recommend not adding the pasta when you make it. Instead, you can cook and store pasta when you are ready to serve and store leftovers separately. This helps keep the pasta from getting mushy or absorbing all the liquid.
You can store in a freezer safe container for up to 6 months. When you are ready to serve the soup, allow it thaw in the fridge overnight.
To reheat, you can pour the soup into a large pot or reheat individual bowls in the microwave. Warm over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the soup is warmed through. Stir in pasta once the soup is warm and serve hot with your favorite bread.
Making the soup ahead
You can make this soup ahead if you want or need to. You can easily chop and then store the veggies for the soup in individual containers or bags one to two days ahead of making the soup. When you are ready to make it, you can just dump the ingredients in and cook the soup!
Love soup? Try out these awesome Instant Pot Vegetable Soup options
Minestrone Soup is a perfect family-friendly meal hearty enough for even the biggest appetites. Its the easiest, and best Instant Pot Minestrone Soup recipe ever and full of protein-packed beans and loaded with veggies. This soup is filling comfort food in a bowl.Your family will love this soup for dinner.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion finely chopped
Half (½) cup carrots chopped
½ cup celery chopped
One zucchini chopped
2 garlic cloves / minced
1 can petite diced tomatoes do not drain (14 Oz)
A can of kidney beans drained & rinsed (14 Oz)
A can of tomato sauce (14 Oz)
7 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 tbsp italian seasoning
salt more or less to preference
Half (½) teaspoons pepper
1-½ cup spinach leaves
Half (½) cups shell pasta
Instant Pot Instructions
Heat oil on 'sauté' high.
Add the onion and garlic in the instant pot and sauté until lightly caramelized about 3 minutes.
Add zucchini ,carrots ,celery, sauté 1 minute.
Next add in the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.
Press the Keep Warm/Cancel button.
Add in the beans, vegetable broth , Italian seasoning , salt, Black pepper powder, Baby spinach and Pasta shells. Give it a nice stir .
Securely lock the pressure cooker's lid and set for 6 minutes on 'High'.
Perform a 'quick release' to release the cooker's pressure.
Serve it hot with your choice of fixing( garlic Bread )
Stove Top Instructions
Add olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, zucchini. Let it cook for 5-6 minutes until tender, stirring occasionally. Add the diced tomatoes, beans, tomato sauce, vegetable broth, Italian seasoning salt and pepper. Stir together and let come to a low boil. Once boiling, turn down the heat to medium and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add spinach and dried pasta shells. Let cook until pasta is done. Taste and add more salt or other spices if wanted.
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Hello ... Made this last night and it was good. Though I'm confused on the broth amount. I ended up using 4 cups and with the tomato sauce it hit the max fill line. Is it really 7 cups of broth?
Wednesday 24th of March 2021
Hi Jason, glad to hear you enjoyed it. What size IP did you use .. sounds like a 3qt. This recipecus fir 6 at or 8 at. Hipes this answers your question.
Monday 15th of March 2021
This soup is totally delicious. It is one of the best soups going. It makes a big pot and we are lucky if we have some leftovers. I sometimes add sausage for a meat meal too. Easy delicious and healthy.
Sunday 7th of March 2021
I really enjoyed the flavor of this soup and the ease of preparing it. I added a total of one cup of pasta as the 1/2 cup didn't seem sufficient for the volume of soup being made and now that it's done I'm glad I did as 1/2 cup of pasta would not have been enough for my taste. One suggestion is to specify baby spinach in the ingredient list (it's referred to as just spinach leaves in the ingredient list but as baby spinach in the directions). Also it took 6 minutes for the quick release to complete and I would say prep time is more on the order of 10 minutes so the total time for me was more around 22 minutes. All in all a nice hearty meal for a winter night.
Sunday 7th of March 2021
Hi Kristen, thanks for sharing your feedback with us. Xoxo
Monday 8th of February 2021
The soup is looking amazing. It is one of our favorite comfort foos/soup as well. Thanks for sharing.
Tuesday 2nd of February 2021
Hi Sonia, i made the soup last night it tastes good. I just wanted to know about the consistency of the soup mine was very watery. Is it like that or mine was wrong.
Wednesday 3rd of February 2021
Hi Amrita, glad you liked the minestrone soup... the thickness depends on the water/broth and pasta in the soup.. if you like a thicker soup add 1 cup less water and few extra tbsp of the Tomato sauce.Hope this helps :)