This Chicken Minestrone Soup is my favorite Italian soup to make year round. It's full of fresh vegetables, white beans, tomatoes, and shredded chicken. Serve with parmesan, red pepper flakes, and a crusty baguette to soak up the delicious broth.
📋 About the Recipe
- Easy one pot soup. This chicken vegetable soup all cooks together in one pot. No need to cook the pasta separately, or prepare the chicken ahead of time. Real simple soup with hearty chicken to make for your family on weeknights!
- Vegetarian and vegan friendly option. Make this soup without the chicken for a meat free dinner.
- Great way to use up shredded chicken. In this recipe, I show you how to cook chicken directly in the soup, but if you have leftover shredded chicken to use, making this chicken minestrone soup is a great way to repurpose it.
A few notes about the ingredients:
- chicken - I used uncooked boneless skinless chicken breasts that are cooked directly in the chicken soup to make it more flavorful. You can substitute ¾ pound of precooked, shredded chicken to make this soup even quicker. If you have bone-in chicken thighs to use, try my Instant Pot Chicken Rice Soup.
- tomatoes - I used 2 cans of petite diced tomatoes. These are different from diced tomatoes - they are cut about twice as small and blend well into the soup without being too chunky. If you are sensitive to sodium, use low-sodium or salt free cans of petite diced tomatoes. If you prefer a chicken soup without tomatoes, try my Chicken Chili Without Tomatoes.
- beans - Traditional minestrone soup is made with white beans. My favorite to use are canned Great Northern beans because they are firm enough to hold up in the soup without becoming mushy. If you are using dry beans, make sure to cook them beforehand.
- pasta - Any small pasta will work in this chicken soup, but ditalini is classic to use in Italian soups. Avoid using larger pastas because they will over power the soup and make the soup ingredients unbalanced.
- vegetables - The best part of homemade minestrone soup is you can pack it full of fresh vegetables. I love using green beans, carrots, and celery, but use a combination of your favorites, depending on what you have on hand.
- Sauté the vegetables. In a large pot over medium heat, saute the onion, carrots, celery, and green beans in olive oil for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is fragrant and softened.
- Add in the garlic. Cook for another minute, stirring frequently to prevent the garlic from sticking and burning to the bottom of the pot.
- Pour in remaining ingredients, except chicken and pasta. Stir to combine.
- Add the chicken. Carefully place the chicken breasts into the soup and submerge them completely in the broth.
- Bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat from medium to low heat. Cover the pot and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F. Remove the chicken from the minestrone broth and set aside.
- Add the pasta. Pour the dry ditalini pasta into the soup and stir to combine. Boil, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Stir occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking.
- Shred the chicken. While the pasta cooks, shred the cooked chicken breasts using two forks.
- Transfer the chicken back into the minestrone soup. At this time, I also like to remove the bay leaves.
- Serve. Stir the shredded chicken into the stew until evenly dispersed, then serve immediately while hot with fresh parsley and parmesan cheese.
⁉️ Substitutions and Alterations
- Great northern bean substitutes: In place of the great northern beans, you can use cannellini beans, navy beans, red kidney beans, garbanzo beans, or even black beans.
- Broth substitutes: Use chicken broth or vegetable broth interchangeably. If you only have a full sodium broth, use half broth, half water and add additional salt to taste.
- Vegetable substitutes: You can use any vegetables that you'd like. Chicken minestrone soup with zucchini would be a great way to use up zucchini from the garden. If you are substituting, use the same measured amount to keep the soup ratios the same. Fresh vegetables are recommended over frozen.
- Vegetarian and vegan option: To make this soup vegetarian and vegan, use vegetable broth and omit the chicken. You can substitute the chicken with an additional can of Great northern beans or another type of beans like red kidney beans or black beans.
- Pasta substitutes: Use small pasta shells or elbow pasta in place of the ditalini pasta.
❄️ How to Store
To store: Store leftover chicken minestrone soup in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days. The taste will even improve over time as the flavors continue to meld together.
Can minestrone soup be frozen? This chicken vegetable soup with pasta freezes beautifully. To freeze, allow the soup to cool completely at room temperature, then transfer into a freezer safe container, jar, or a freezer safe bag. Freeze for up to 3 months for optimal texture preservation.
To reheat: Reheat leftovers in the microwave in 30 second bursts until hot or reheat on the stovetop until warm.
Although similar, the main difference between vegetable soup and minestrone soup is that minestrone soup is made with beans and pasta in addition to vegetables. Minestrone is a more filling vegetable soup.
I love serving chicken minestrone soup with some type of bread. You can serve with a simple french baguette, Quick and Easy Air Fryer Garlic Bread, or sliced Round Challah. You can also serve with a simple romaine salad or roasted vegetables. Check out my tips for How to Cut Romaine Lettuce for Salad the quick and easy way.
This chicken minestrone soup is typically served hot, but it is safe to eat cold, if preferred.
💭 One More Tip
Watch the pasta as it cooks. Although the other soup ingredients can be simmered for a longer time, be careful not to overcook the pasta in the soup. Once the pasta is al dente, remove the soup from the heat to prevent it from becoming too soft.
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Chicken Minestrone Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups diced yellow onion (about 1 onion)
- 1 cup diced carrots (about 2 carrots)
- 1 cup diced celery (about 3 celery ribs)
- 1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 garlic cloves)
- 6 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 (14.5 ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes do NOT drain
- 1 (15.5 ounce) can great northern beans rinsed and drained
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound) uncooked
- ¾ cup dry ditalini pasta or other small shaped pasta
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, and green beans. Cook about 5 minutes, or until the onions start to soften.
- Stir in garlic. Cook another 1 minute.
- Pour in chicken (or vegetable) broth, diced tomatoes, and great northern beans. Season with bay leaves, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper.
- Carefully place chicken breasts into the pot. Make sure they are submerged in the broth.
- Bring soup to a boil. Decrease the heat to low. Cover and let simmer 15 to 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F. Remove the chicken from the pot and place on a cutting board or plate. Set aside.
- Add ditalini pasta to the soup. Boil, uncovered, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the pasta is al-dente. Stir occasionally so the pasta doesn’t stick together.
- While the pasta cooks, shred the chicken using two forks.
- Remove bay leaves. Add shredded chicken to the pot. Stir in fresh parsley.
- Make this soup vegetarian or vegan-friendly by using vegetable broth and leaving out the chicken breasts.
- Serve with red pepper flakes, grated parmesan cheese, and a crusty french baguette.
- If you don't have great northern beans on hand, you can use kidney, garbanzo, or black beans instead.
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