Minestrone Soup with Parmesan Broth & Basil Swirl

This hearty bean soup is brimming with veggies like celery, onion, carrot and zucchini.

Don’t throw away your Parmesan rinds! The hard outer “crust” of Parmesan is loaded with flavor and is the secret ingredient in many authentic Italian soups and sauces. If you don’t have one in your fridge or freezer, simply buy a wedge of Parm and slice off the rind, reserving the cheese for later. Fusilli or elbow macaroni are great alternatives to rotini if you don’t have it in your pantry.

Prep Time
35 min
70 min


  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 
stalks celery, 
finely chopped
  • 1 
yellow onion, 
finely chopped
  • 1 
large carrot, 
finely chopped
  • 2 
large cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • 1½ tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried basil flakes
  • ½ tsp dried oregano flakes
  • 4 cups 
low-sodium vegetable 
or chicken broth
  • 3 cups 
cooked cranberry, pinto or great northern beans
  • 2 cups 
jarred or BPA-free canned unsalted diced tomatoes
  • 1 3-inch 
Parmesan cheese rind + 2 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 cup 
whole-grain rotini, 
fusilli or macaroni
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1⁄4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup 
loosely packed fresh basil


1. In a Dutch oven or large saucepan on medium, heat 1 tbsp oil. Add celery, onion and carrot and sauté, stirring often, until onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add half of garlic, rosemary, dried basil and oregano and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Add broth, beans, tomatoes, Parmesan rind and pepper flakes and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until carrot and celery are tender, about 20 minutes. 

3. Stir in zucchini and pasta; return to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente, about 10 to 15 minutes. Discard Parmesan rind. Stir in pepper and salt.

4. Meanwhile, in a small food processor, purée fresh basil and remaining half of garlic. With motor running, drizzle in remaining 1 tbsp oil. Scrape mixture into a bowl and stir in Parmesan cheese. Divide soup into 4 bowls and top with basil mixture, dividing evenly.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size 1/4 of soup
  • Calories 386
  • Carbohydrate Content 56 g
  • Cholesterol Content 2 mg
  • Fat Content 6 g
  • Protein Content 22 g
  • Saturated Fat Content 2 g
  • Sodium Content 642 mg
  • Sugar Content 7 g
  • Trans Fat Content 10 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat Content 6 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat Content 2 g