I don’t know about everybody else, but after the week-long junk food bonanza also known as Halloween, my body is craving something a little more wholesome. Does anyone remember vegetables? Yeah, I know, it’s been so long that I can hardly remember them…

Sara and I have talked a lot about finding “the one.” For years, I searched for the perfect Minestrone recipe. Time after time, they all just came out pretty flavorless and a little bit flat, like they were just missing something. Finally, I tried the Minestrone recipe from this cookbook. And it was exactly what I was looking for. Wanna know what the secret ingredient is? Canned, condensed, cheap-o Bean with Bacon Soup. It’s so diluted that you can’t actually taste its Bean with Bacon-ness, but it adds a richness and slight smokiness to the soup that is fabulous.
Since I can’t seem to make a recipe without tweaking, I added some zucchini and an extra can of beans. The zucchini addition is optional, but I think the extra can of beans is important, especially since there isn’t any pasta in this soup. Also, this soup is good the first night, but it is fabulous as leftovers. If there’s any way to make this ahead of time, let it chill, and then re-heat it, I HIGHLY recommend you do that. It is THIS very thing that makes this a great freezer meal; just prepare the soup entirely, allow it to cool, and then freeze it in a freezer-safe container. When you’re ready to eat it, just place the frozen soup in your Crockpot and cook on low for 5-6 hours.


  1. I just sent this recipe to RonChops so he could get the ingredients for us. He's grocery shopping today and we need this soup this week! It's 42 here!!!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Warm HUGS you guys!

  2. THank you so much for posing this. I am starting to make some freezer meals before this baby comes and I want lots of soups.

  3. This looks fabulous. I'm excited to try the bean with bacon soup. I'm wondering though, how it can be minestrone without pasta. Isn't that like, what makes it minestrone? I think I'll add some to mine 🙂

  4. This looks delicious & I am adding it to my menu for the week. I'm a little confused about the sausage though. Do I need to remove the casing before I cook it so the sausage can crumble? You don't leave it in link form, right?

  5. Kate, this looks like another great soup recipe. I noticed that there is a red spice in the picture. Is it red pepper flakes? Maybe I missed an ingredient?

  6. Jenn–Sorry! Yes, definitely remove from the casings first! I went back and fixed it in the recipe… 🙂

    Paula, you're not missing anything, I'm just apparently missing a brain. Yes, those are red pepper flakes, around 1/8-1/4 tsp. If in doubt, start with a large pinch and go from there.

  7. Mmmmmm, that looks delicious! My hubby loves minestrone so this will be served around here for sure : )

  8. Great recipe!! I love it! Just so you know you can buy italian sausage in a package just like you would hamburger. It just makes it that much easier and I'm all about saving time! Thanks for sharing!

  9. This looks like a really good soup!! And I have to also say THANK YOU!!! for helping me figure out a way to safely and easily dethaw the huge block of frozen soup that was sitting on my counter. I always either nuked in the microwave, which takes way too much guesswork or burned it reheating it on the stove. Thank You!!!!

  10. Thank you, I made this for dinner and blogged it too! It was delicious. I'm looking forward to having lunch tomorrow.

  11. That's a really interesting take on minestrone. You're right that a lot of minestrone recipes are missing something.

    I often add about 1/2 teaspoon of Marmite to minestrone when I make it. I know Marmite's a bit tough to get in the USA, but it's a really good addition to food that could do with an extra 'kick'.

    I reckon that does much the same thing as the bacon in your recipe: it's not really something you can taste at the end, but it gives the whole thing an extra 'oomph'.

    I shall have to try this, thanks!

  12. I needed to read a recipe like this tonight… I haven't been feeling so great after all of the Halloween treats in the last week. Sounds delicious.. I will be giving it a try!

  13. LOL. when I'm ready to eat…I can't wait 5-6 hrs for a crockpot! I hope it is not "bad form" to use the microwave, because it's much faster for reheating for one.
    I make a soup very similar to this with Kielbasa sausage, and I leave the casings on, just cut it in rounds and then half those. It works great for chunky soups like this. Just thought I would share.

  14. Soup is one of my fave lunch dishes; way to keep looking until you found a good concoction! Isn't it worth it?

  15. I have a recipe for minestrone in an old cookbook that I love. I made it years ago and have never diced so many vegies in my life. LOL! It was delicious though!

  16. I made this last night! I used spicy italian sausage and it gave a nice bite to it! Awesome recipe, my family loved it, it tasted like something you'd order in a restaraunt. I'll definetely be keeping this recipe in my collection.

  17. Kate, my family LOVED this soup! I even used the S&W brand of tomatoes 🙂 Thank you so much! As I said in my email, I've never been a huge fan of minestrone – but this soup has converted me. Really, seriously, in love with this soup.
    Oh, I love that you gave instructions on freezing this, I always wonder about that. I have a small family so I'm more likely to try something new if I know I can freeze the extra portions for another week rather than wasting it.

  18. ok. so I am still just so in love with this site. i just made this soup for dinner and you are making me look like a superstar.
    you may have made my marriage even better, now my husband think I can cook.

    gush. gush. gush. i grabbed your button for my side bar.

  19. This soup was awesome! One taste and it is now my husband's second favorite soup after his much-loved childhood chicken noodle. I can't wait to eat the leftovers and to make it a regular on our cold-weather soup menu.

  20. This looks fantastic! I love making soups and stews in the crockpot this time of year!! Can't wait to make it one@

  21. I used to work in a find dining restaurant that had a great Minestrone. I have searched for years to find anything comparable. Tonight I made your recipe and we loved it. I could not find it in the recipe index though. Do you have all of your recipes there? Thanks so much!

  22. This is my favorite soup recipe of all time. We eat it once a month around here. I have to say that I was said that it was not included in the cookbook….but happy it is still here!

  23. Kate, Is there anything I can substitute for the italian sausage without altering the taste of recipe too much … or is the sausage key? I’m just not able to get over my dis-taste for sausage in general. Everything else looks great! Thank You!

    1. We-ell…I think sausage makes it awesome, but I totally get your distaste. I would either just use ground beef or ground turkey or just leave it out altogether.

      P.S. Thanks again for coming last week! It was so fun to see you! 🙂

      1. So now that it’s soup weather again … I made this with ground turkey and I thought it was great. Thanks for the suggestion! Oh, and I like tripled the zucchini since it’s in the garden and that worked great too. And the leftovers are even better than the first day!!

  24. Is there a printer-friendly version of this recipe? I can’t seem to find one and don’t want to print multiple pages with unnecessary pics and stuff. :0(

    1. We’re working on reformatting our old recipes to being print-friendly. Until then, we recommend copying and pasting into a word processing document and then deleting what you don’t want to print.

  25. I made this last night and we loved it. It was sooo good, even the 2nd time around for leftovers. I also made the breadsticks and they went great with the soup. Definietly a keeper!

  26. I just finished making this, it is amazing!! I am definitely making it again, and again. Now I just need to throw together some breadsticks for tonight!! Thanks for a great recipe!!

  27. Hello from Malaysia. Our choice of soup mixes are very limited here so for the smokiness, I tried putting a tablespoon of Hunt’s BBQ sauce extra smokey. Seems to do the job and there’s a lovely smokey smell and taste to it. 🙂 I also put in left over red wine, which added to the richness. I didn’t add meat, so I find that the soup still lacks a little bit of depth, so I’m trying to experiment with other things. Will let you know how it goes 🙂

  28. Made this yesterday and it turned out great. I doubled it and plan to freeze half. We all felt like something was missing since the minestrone from our favorite restaurant has little bits of pasta in it. I plan to boil some pasta (the kind you put in macaroni salads) and add it to the soup as we eat it. I don’t like the way pasta absorbs liquid and gets all soft and blown up when it sits in soup over time.

  29. This may sound like a weird question, but can you cook the meat, onions and garlic add the other ingredients and than freeze it or do you need to cook the soup and freeze the soup? I wasn’t sure if the celery, carrots and zucchini would taste good if they were frozen raw.

    1. I would probably freeze it in SOME liquid–frozen zucchini can get a little weird. 🙂

      My take on this soup is that it is good the first night and AMAZING the second night. So what if you made extra, had some for dinner, and froze the rest? Then it would be amazing the first night the next time you make it… 🙂

  30. Just recently discovered your website and cook books. I’ve tried several of your recipes now, including this one, and LOVE all of them. Thank you, thank you!!! I’ve never had so much success with one recipe source. I’m a big fan!

  31. I just made this for dinner and let me tell you… It was amazing! I have picky eaters in my house and they gobbled it up! Great recipe!!! Thank you!!

  32. I’m so glad I noticed the link to this Minestrone Soup recipe from your latest e-mail. I made this today for Sunday dinner. It was sooo good and my elderly Mother loved it! But I do have a question. What’s the difference in the Italian sausage in the casing and in bulk?

    1. That’s the only difference- one is in casing and the other not 🙂

  33. I’ve been making this soup since I saw the post in 2009 and my family loves it. This week I made it using chicken Italian sausage… I calculated the nutrition to be 164 calories and 15 grams of protein per serving – I’m amazed at how filling and delicious it is while being so healthy. Thanks again Kate!

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