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Olive Garden Minestrone Soup – A Classic Dish To Try

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Olive Garden Minestrone Soup is a delightful medley of fresh vegetables, beans, and pasta, simmered in a light, savory tomato broth. This classic Italian soup is a symphony of colors and flavors, featuring carrots, celery, spinach, and zucchini, among other garden favorites. Nutritious and heartwarming, it’s a testament to the simple pleasures of home-cooked, rustic Italian cuisine.

Olive Garden Minestrone Soup are a popular menu item at Olive Garden. It’s a vegetarian soup made with a variety of fresh vegetables, beans, and pasta and typically topped with Parmesan cheese

Olive Garden Minestrone Soup

But, despite being a classic favorite for those visiting Olive Garden for a bite to eat, is it possible to make your version of the beloved Olive Garden minestrone from the comfort of your own home? 

The good news is that it is possible to prepare your own version of the Olive Garden version, and we’re here to show you how.

In this guide, you will find a helpful breakdown of all you need to know about preparing the Olive Garden minestrone recipe. 

While this recipe might not be the exact one that Olive Garden uses, it will allow you to prepare a hearty and comforting minestrone that tastes very similar to the minestrone you order at Olive Garden.

What Is Olive Garden Minestrone Soup?

Before we get any further, we want to provide a quick breakdown of minestrone and how this classic soup dish came to be. 

As we’re sure you might already know, minestrone is a classic Italian soup that is both nutritious and delicious. Does it get any better than that? 

To ensure the best flavor and taste experience, the pasta that is used is typically added towards the end of cooking the soup and is allowed to cook until soft,

Similarly, beans (such as kidney beans) are typically added to the soup after cooking and allowed to warm through. This will allow for the best flavor. 

It’s also worth noting that Minestrone is a super versatile dish that can be served as a main course or as a starter.

Regardless of what point of the dining experience minestrone is served, it is often topped with grated Parmesan cheese and served with a slice of fresh crusty bread. Or, in Olive Garden’s case – with those delicious complimentary bread sticks!

Now that we have learned more about the history of the minestrone, we’re sure that you’ll be keen to learn how to prepare your version inspired by Olive Garden. 

Just keep scrolling through our next section to discover our copycat recipe that will taste just as good as the real thing.

Olive Garden Minestrone Soup

Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients? 

  • Keto Skip the beans and pasta, and add more low-carb veggies like bell peppers or mushrooms. Use bone broth to enhance the flavor and fat content.
  • Paleo Omit the beans and pasta. Include sweet potatoes or cauliflower florets for substance. Ensure your broth is free from additives.
  • Gluten-Free Use gluten-free pasta or substitute with quinoa. Double-check your broth for hidden gluten sources.
  • Whole30 Ditch beans and pasta, and bulk up the soup with more vegetables. Ensure no sugars or additives are in your canned tomatoes and broth.
  • Vegetarian & Vegan The original recipe is already vegetarian. For a vegan variant, ensure the broth is vegetable-based and omit or substitute the Parmesan cheese with a vegan alternative.
Olive Garden Minestrone Soup

Recipe Directions

Preparation

  • Begin by gathering your ingredients. You will need onions, carrots, celery, oil, salt, black pepper, garlic, tomatoes, beans, green beans, broth, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, pasta, parsley, red pepper flakes, and parmesan cheese (optional).

Cooking Vegetables

  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onions, sliced carrots, and chopped celery. Season with salt and several grinds of black pepper.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.

Adding Main Ingredients

  • To the softened vegetables, add minced garlic, chopped tomatoes, beans, chopped green beans, broth, bay leaves, oregano, and thyme.
  • Cover the pot and let it simmer for 20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

Cooking Pasta

  • Stir in the pasta and cook uncovered for another 10 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked through.

Final Seasoning and Serving

  • Remove the bay leaves and season the soup to taste with additional salt and black pepper if necessary.
  • Serve hot, garnished with chopped parsley, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, and grated parmesan cheese, if desired.
Olive Garden Minestrone Soup

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings 

Variations

  • Protein Boost: Incorporate shredded chicken or diced turkey for added heartiness.
  • Grain Alternative: Replace traditional pasta with quinoa or barley for a nutty flavor.

Add-Ons

  • Greens: Stir in chopped kale or spinach for added nutrients during the last few minutes of cooking.
  • Legumes: Experiment with chickpeas or black beans for a different twist.
  • Heat: Introduce a chopped chili or a splash of hot sauce for a spicier version.

Toppings

  • Cheese: Apart from Parmesan, consider mozzarella or feta.
  • Herbs: Freshly chopped basil or parsley adds brightness.
  • Crunch: Top with croutons or a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts.
  • Creaminess: A dollop of sour or vegan cashew cream can add richness.
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Can I Make Olive Garden Minestrone Soup In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot? 

Slow Cooker

  • Sauté onion, garlic, celery, carrots, and zucchini in a pan before adding them to the slow cooker. This enriches the flavor.
  • Combine all ingredients, except pasta and Parmesan, in the slow cooker.
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
  • In the last 30 minutes, add the pasta.

Instant Pot

  • Use the “Sauté” function for onion, garlic, and veggies.
  • Add all ingredients except pasta and Parmesan.
  • Lock the lid and cook on “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” for 6 minutes.
  • Release pressure, add pasta, and use “Sauté” again to cook it.
Olive Garden Minestrone Soup

Can I Use Store Bought Broth, Or Should I Make My Own? 

Both store-bought and homemade broths have advantages, and your choice largely depends on convenience, taste preference, and dietary considerations.

Store-Bought Broth

  • Convenience: Ideal for quick meals without the hours-long process of making broth from scratch.
  • Variety: Available in multiple flavors and types, such as organic, low-sodium, or bone broth.
  • Consistency: Offers a predictable flavor and consistency each time.

Homemade Broth

  • Flavor Depth: Allows customization of ingredients, yielding a richer, more nuanced taste.
  • Control: No preservatives, additives, or excessive salt. Perfect for those with dietary restrictions.
  • Cost-Effective: This can be made using kitchen scraps like vegetable peels and bones.
Olive Garden Minestrone Soup

How To Serve ? 

  • Temperature: Ensure the soup is hot but not boiling; this maintains flavor and texture.
  • Bowls: Pre-warm the serving bowls. This keeps the soup warmer for longer and enhances the dining experience.
  • Garnish: A sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese adds a touch of richness. Consider a sprig of fresh basil or parsley for added color.
  • Bread: Pair with warm, crusty bread or Olive Garden-style breadsticks. The bread complements the soup and can soak up its savory goodness.
  • Accompaniments: A side of fresh salad with a light vinaigrette complements the hearty nature of the soup.
  • Presentation: Serve promptly with a soup spoon and napkin, prioritizing aesthetics and functionality.
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Perfect Side Dishes

  • Breadsticks: Olive Garden’s signature breadsticks are a no-brainer, offering a soft, buttery bite.
  • Caesar Salad: A crisp Caesar salad with fresh romaine, Parmesan, and croutons contrasts the soup’s warmth.
  • Bruschetta: Toasted bread topped with diced tomatoes, basil, and garlic adds a touch of Italian authenticity.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Lightly seasoned and roasted veggies like bell peppers or zucchini add color and nutrition.
  • Polenta: Creamy polenta can balance the chunky texture of the soup.
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich: A melty, golden sandwich, perhaps with mozzarella, adds comfort and richness.
  • Caprese Skewers: Cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil drizzled with balsamic glaze are a refreshing side option.
Olive Garden Minestrone Soup

Storage & Make Ahead

  • Storage: Cool the soup before storing in airtight containers. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.
  • Freezing: Freeze in suitable portions for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Make Ahead: Prepare the soup without pasta a day or two in advance; flavors meld and intensify over time. Store in the refrigerator.
  • Reheating: Warm on medium heat, stirring occasionally. If the soup thickens, add a little water or vegetable broth.
  • Adding Pasta: Cook pasta separately and add to the soup when ready to serve to avoid it becoming too soft.
Olive Garden Minestrone Soup

What Can We Do With Leftovers? 

  • Pasta Sauce: Reduce the soup until thickened and serve over your favorite pasta.
  • Stuffed Bell Peppers: Use as a flavorful filling for bell peppers, then bake.
  • Rice Medley: Mix with cooked rice or quinoa for a hearty grain bowl.
  • Wrap Filling: A moist filling inside tortilla wraps or pita pockets.
  • Soup Base: Add fresh ingredients like spinach, sausage, or other proteins to create a new soup variation.
  • Casserole: Combine with cheese, top with breadcrumbs, and bake until bubbly.
  • Frittata: Add beaten eggs and bake for a soup-infused frittata.

Tips

  • Varied Vegetables: Include a diverse mix of fresh vegetables for a full spectrum of flavors and textures.
  • Proper Pasta: Opt for small pasta shapes and cook separately to prevent over-absorption and sogginess.
  • Bean Variety: Use a combination of beans for added protein and depth.
  • Herb Freshness: Incorporate fresh herbs towards the end of cooking to retain their vibrant flavors.
  • Seasonal Adaptation: Adjust vegetable types based on seasonal availability for the freshest taste.
  • Broth Taste: Use a rich, flavorful vegetable broth as a base for added depth.
  • Final Adjustments: Taste and adjust seasonings before serving, ensuring a balanced flavor profile.
Olive Garden Minestrone Soup - A Classic Dish To Try

Olive Garden Minestrone Soup – A Classic Dish To Try

0 from 0 votes
Course: Soup Recipes
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

35

minutes
Calories

200

kcal

Olive Garden Minestrone Soup bursts with flavor. This hearty Italian classic combines fresh vegetables, beans, and pasta in a rich tomato broth. Every spoonful offers a medley of tastes and textures. Garnish with grated Parmesan for an authentic touch. Enjoy a bowl of tradition and taste!

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons 2 Olive oil

  • 1 1 Onion (Diced)

  • 2 2 Garlic Cloves (Diced)

  • 2 2 Celery Stalks (Chopped)

  • 2 2 Carrots (Thinly Sliced)

  • 1 1 Zucchini (Carefully Diced)

  • 14 Oz 14 Fresh Tomatoes (Canned)

  • 6 Cups 6 Vegetable Or Chicken Stock

  • 15 Oz 15 Kidney Beans (Drained And Rinsed)

  • 15 Oz 15 Great Northern Beans (Drained And Rinsed)

  • 1/2 Cup 1/2 Small pasta (Ditalini/Elbow Macaroni)

  • 1 Teaspoon 1 Dried Basil

  • 1 Teaspoon 1 Dried Oregano

  • 1 Teaspoon 1 Dried Thyme

  • 1 Teaspoon 1 Salt

  • 1/4 Teaspoon 1/4 Black Pepper

  • Parmesan Cheese (For Topping)

Step-by-step Directions

  • Choose a cooking spot: First, you will need to begin by preparing the area where you will be preparing the minestrone.
    We recommend choosing a spot in your kitchen that is spacious enough to lay out all of the ingredients you plan to use. 
  • Warm the olive oil: After you have prepared your area and are ready to begin preparing the recipe, you will first need to gently heat the olive oil in a large cooking pot over medium heat.
    Allow the oil to warm while supervising, as you don’t want the oil to start spitting if it gets too hot.
    Add the onion and garlic to the cooking pan after the oil has heated. You are ready to proceed, and you will then want to add the onion and garlic you will be using in your minestrone recipe.
    For the most delicious taste and likeness to the Olive Garden minestrone, you should sauté until the onion is translucent.
  • Add the celery, carrots, and zucchini: After you have given the onion and garlic enough time to saute (typically, this will take around 5 minutes on medium heat), you’ll then be ready to add in the celery, carrots, and zucchini.
    You will want to make sure that you cook until the vegetables are softened without becoming soggy, which means that you will need to cook for about 10 Minutes.
  • Add the diced tomatoes: Take your can of diced tomatoes and add them to your cooking pan. For extra flavor, we recommend adding all of the juices inside the can, too!
    Before proceeding to the next time, you should ensure you have allowed the tomatoes to cook for 5 minutes or so.
  • Pour in the vegetable or chicken stock: Depending on which stock you have chosen, you can add it to your cooking pan during this step.
    After you have added it to the cooking pan, all you will need to do is go ahead and bring the soup to a simmer. Once you can see a simmer, move on to the next step!
    Add the additional ingredients. To complete your minestrone, you must add all of those yummy extras! Go ahead and add your kidney beans, Great Northern beans (if you have them), and your pasta, basil, oregano, and thyme. 
  • Simmer the soup and add pasta of choice: Once you have added in the kidney beans you will be using, along with any herbs and additional seasoning, you will then need to proceed to add in your pasta of choice.
    Allow the pasta to cook through; usually, this will take about 10-15 minutes, depending on what heat you are using.
  • Season with additional salt and pepper: Now that you have added all of the main ingredients to your minestrone, you can add salt and pepper to help enhance the flavor if necessary. However, keep in mind that this step is optional. 
    Pour the soup into bowls and top with grated Parmesan cheese before serving. 
    Last but not least, you will need to pour the soup into bowls and then top with a generous dose of parmesan cheese! Yum.
    By following the recipe we shared with you above, this recipe should allow you to make a hearty and comforting minestrone that will be very similar in taste and texture to the Olive Garden’s version.
  • EQUIPMENT LIST
  • Large Pot or Dutch Oven
  • Good Quality Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Ladle
  • Can Opener
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons

Notes

  • Freshness First: Fresh, seasonal vegetables enhance the soup’s flavor and nutritional value.
  • Herbs: Fresh herbs can be substituted for dried, but remember they’re more potent, so adjust quantities.
  • Consistency: Add water or broth to adjust if the soup becomes too thick.
  • Pasta: To prevent pasta from getting mushy, cook it al dente or consider adding it when reheating.
  • Beans: Feel free to experiment with different bean varieties for varied texture and flavor.
  • Vegan Variation: Use vegetable broth, skip the Parmesan, or opt for a vegan cheese alternative.
  • Storage: Always allow the soup to cool before refrigerating or freezing.

Nutrition Table 

Nutrition Table 

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