A delicious, nourishing winter season soup that’s beyond easy to make at home, this vegetarian winter minestrone combines a mixture of flavors and textures, resulting in a cozy and hearty dinner soup you’ll love! Includes stovetop and slow cooker instructions.

Minestrone soup with butternut squash, beans, and pasta in a bowl on a blue background.

This winter minestrone soup recipe is bursting with hearty vegetables and is so simple to make, and is one of my favorite soup and stew recipes from scratch!

Lightly inspired by Ina Garten’s winter minestrone soup, with some Mediterranean inspiration from Gada’s winter minestrone, I put a vegetarian and an easy dump and go spin on the recipe.

Since it’s a time-saving slow cooker recipe, you can make it without sauteing the vegetables first. 

Just chop, drop and go!

However, if you’re making it on the stovetop, I’ve included instructions on how to quickly saute the onion and garlic for the best flavor.

Like this easy vegetable slow cooker soup, and this vegetarian crockpot lentil soup, this veggie-packed soup also makes amazing leftovers, and I love packing away a few portions for easy lunches that are ready to go in the freezer.

Butternut squash, beans, onions, tomato, and kale in a slow cooker.

Process & Tips

I tested this recipe with dry pasta cooked directly in the soup, and did not care for the texture.

However, if using the stovetop cooking method, feel free to add ½ dry pasta during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.

I don’t recommend this method for the slow cooker, as the pasta turned gummy.

What to Serve with This Hearty Dinner Soup

Skillet Cornbread

Apple Muffins

Pumpkin Bread

Tip: To do a fun soup and salad night, simply pair any of your favorite fresh greens with one of these homemade easy salad dressing recipes (my picks would be this Lemon Dijon Dressing or Apple Cider Vinaigrette!).

How to Store & Freeze Leftovers

Homemade vegetarian soups like this one keep well in the fridge for up to 3-4 days, in a sealed container.

Note that the pasta will continue to absorb liquid as it cools in the fridge, but it will still be tasty.

You can add a splash more stock to thin it out upon reheating if you prefer.

This recipe also freezes well, store in a sealed freezer friendly container for up to 2-3 months.

Minestrone soup with butternut squash, beans, and pasta in a ladle coming out of a slow cooker.

Key Ingredients

Onion: If you don’t like or can’t eat onions, feel free to skip them in this recipe.

Butternut squash: Adds a hearty sweetness to this soup. Any hard winter squash will work in its place, or substitute chopped, peeled sweet potatoes.

Diced tomatoes: Canned tomato puree will also work.

Vegetable stock: Substitute homemade, or chicken stock if not vegetarian or vegan.

Kosher salt: look for kosher salt with the regular iodized salt at the grocery store. It has a subtler flavor. Use less iodized salt if that’s what you have on hand.

Red wine vinegar: Adds a lovely balanced hit of acid, without making the soup taste like vinegar, so I don’t recommend skipping it. Balsamic vinegar would also work.

Small shaped pasta: I used orzo, but any small shaped pasta ditalini, tubetiini, or elbow macaroni will work. Use gluten free pasta to make this recipe gluten free.

Pesto: Swirling in a big dollop of pesto really elevates this simple soup. I love this homemade pesto!

Minestrone soup with butternut squash, beans, and pasta in a bowl on a blue background.
Minestrone soup with butternut squash, beans, and pasta in a bowl on a blue background.
5 stars (6 ratings)

Winter Minestrone

A delicious, nourishing winter season soup that’s beyond easy to make at home, this vegetarian winter minestrone combines a mixture of flavors and textures, resulting in a cozy and hearty dinner soup you'll love!

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15-oz) can chickpeas
  • 1 (15-oz) can Great Northern beans, or any white bean such as cannellini
  • 1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 quart vegetable stock, or chicken stock (if not vegan or vegetarian)
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon no-salt added Italian seasoning

To Add at the End

  • 1 cup chopped Lacinato kale, or baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup cooked small shape pasta, such as orzo, ditalini, tubetiini, or elbow macaroni (use gluten free pasta for gluten free)

Optional Serving Suggestions

  • Pesto
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions 

Slow Cooker Instructions

  • Place the butternut squash, onion, garlic, chickpeas, white beans, tomatoes, stock, water, salt, and Italian seasoning in a 6-quart slow cooker, stirring to combine.
  • Cover and cook on high for 5-6 hours, or on low for 7-8 hours, or until the soup is bubbling and the squash is cooked through.

At the End of the Cook Time: Slow Cooker

  • When the butternut squash is tender, carefully ladle 2 cups of the soup, (including some broth, veggies, and beans) into a blender. Blend on high, then add back to the soup.
  • Switch the slow cooker to high (if it's not already) and add the kale. Cover and cook for 15-25 minutes, or the kale has wilted.
  • Add the pasta and red wine vinegar, stirring to combine. Taste and add additional salt if desired.
  • Ladle the hot soup into bowls, dollop with pesto, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, if using and serve.

Stovetop Instructions

  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and a pinch of salt, and cook until transparent, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the butternut squash, chickpeas, white beans, tomatoes, stock, salt, water, and Italian seasoning, stirring to combine. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer, covered, until the butternut squash is tender, about 25-30 minutes.

At the End of the Cook Time: Stovetop

  • When the butternut squash is tender, carefully ladle 2 cups of the soup, (including some broth, veggies, and beans) into a blender. Blend on high, then add back to the soup.
  • Add the kale to the soup, cover and simmer for 5-10 more minutes, or until the kale is tender.
  • Add the pasta and red wine vinegar, stirring to combine. Taste and add additional salt if desired.
  • Ladle the hot soup into bowls, dollop with pesto, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, if using and serve.

Notes

See blog post, above, for substitutions, storage, tips, and more.
Note, kale is pictured in the slow cooker with other ingredients to give a sense of overall ingredients. Please follow the recipe and add it at the end.

Nutrition Information:

Serving: 1 (of 8), Calories: 285kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 0.4g, Saturated Fat: 0.1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.04g, Sodium: 481mg, Potassium: 294mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 7708IU, Vitamin C: 18mg, Calcium: 53mg, Iron: 1mg
Nutrition disclaimer
Did you make this recipe?If you do, be sure to share it on Instagram and tag me at @realfoodwholelife so I can see!

 

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