Minestrone Soup

After a long search for the perfect Minestrone soup, I came across a winner. This version turned out flavorful and filling, with subtle smoky undertones. It tastes rather sophisticated, which is why you may be surprised at the addition of a can of bean with bacon soup in the ingredients. Just go with it! The addition of the condensed soup adds a subtle smokiness to the soup that compliments everything so well. This soup is great the first night, and even better as leftovers. It makes a fantastic freezer meal as well! The original recipe comes from this cookbook, but I’ve made a few tweaks that make it even better. If you’re looking for a more traditional all-vegetable soup, try this Vegetable Minestrone!

Ingredient Notes

  • Italian Sausage – You’ll need one pound of Italian sausage. You can find this in either links or bulk in your store’s meat department. If using links, you will need to remove the meat from the casings. Most Italian sausage is labeled either “sweet” or “hot” which basically just means spicy and not-spicy. I always grab the non-spicy “sweet” one, but feel free to use either!
  • Bean With Bacon Soup –We’re talking good old condensed bean with bacon soup here. This may seem like a strange ingredient but, trust me, it adds a subtle richness and smoky flavor to the finished soup.
  • Red Pepper Flakes – Speaking of heat, feel free to adjust the red pepper flakes as you see fit. 1/8 teaspoon will add some nice flavor without being overwhelmingly spicy. If you like a little kick, feel free to bump it up to 1/4 teaspoon or more.


The instructions here are very simple. Brown the aromatics and then toss everything in and simmer!

  1. Start off by browning some Italian sausage with diced onions and minced garlic. Drain if necessary.
  2. Then everything else gets added to the pot. First you’ll add some water, followed by celery, carrots, and zucchini. Then the canned ingredients: beef broth, bean with bacon soup, diced tomatoes, and great northern beans. Finish it off with a little sugar, oregano, kosher salt, and black and red pepper.
  3. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for an hour. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese and your favorite bread for dipping.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I make minestrone soup ahead of time? This soup actually shines brighter after reheating, in my opinion. Feel free to make it a day ahead of time and reheat as needed.
  • Can I freeze this soup? Minestrone freezes beautifully. Freeze the prepared soup in individual portions or follow these freezer instructions for the whole batch: Cook sausage, onions, and garlic and drain if necessary. Place in a large Ziploc bag or large freezer-safe container. Add remaining ingredients. When ready to cook, Place contents of the bag in a large slow cooker and cook on low for 9-10 hours or on high for 6-8.
  • Can I make in it the slow cooker if it hasn’t been frozen? Yep, simply brown the sausage, onion, and garlic in a frying pan and then transfer to a slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients and cook all day on low.

Serving Suggestions

I think we all know that some good bread is order here! This Easy No Knead Overnight Artisan Bread is perfect for dipping. One-Hour Dinner Rolls whip up fast for yeast bread and French Bread, Hoagies, and Buns or Rosemary Focaccia would be delicious, too. Of course a simple grilled cheese sandwich and side salad would round things out nicely as well.

Did You Make This?

I’d love to hear from you! Snap a picture and tag me on Instagram, then come back and give this recipe a rating!

Minestrone Soup

5 from 2 votes
This Italian sausage and vegetable soup is quick and easy to assemble, then it just needs to simmer to perfection.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour


  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 2 large carrots diced
  • 1-2 small zucchinis quartered and chopped
  • 1 14.5- ounce can beef broth
  • 1 10- ounce can bean with bacon soup
  • 1 28- ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15- ounce can Great Northern Beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


  • Remove sausage from casings and crumble the meat. In a large soup pot, brown Italian sausage with onions and garlic. Carefully drain, if necessary.
  • Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, cover, and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer on low for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


Slow Cooker Instructions: Brown the sausage, onion, and garlic in a frying pan, drain, and then transfer to a slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients and cook all day on low.
Freezer Instructions: Cook sausage, onions, and garlic and drain if necessary. Place in a large Ziploc bag or large freezer-safe container. Add remaining ingredients. When ready to cook, Place contents of the bag in a large slow cooker and cook on low for 9-10 hours or on high for 6-8.
Author: Our Best Bites
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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. 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!!

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

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

  11. 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.

  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. 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!

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

  15. 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!!!!

  16. 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!

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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?

  20. 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?

  21. 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 🙂

  22. 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.

  23. 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!

  24. Looks wonderful! Will have to add this one to my to be tried file! Thanks for sharing.