Gluten Free Minestrone Soup with Pesto Croutons Recipe

by Carol Kicinski on February 19, 2013

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I just love soup! I have been known to eat it for lunch, dinner, and even breakfast! Soup fills my belly and warms my soul.

During the winter I make big pots of hearty soup. It is such a time saver even though soup needs to simmer for a while. It doesn’t take much attention while simmering away and leftovers just get better in the fridge.

Minestrone is usually made in the summer with fresh tomatoes, zucchini and beans. This is a winter version that uses butternut squash, carrots, cannellini beans and gluten free penne.

I use organic veggies and beans, fortified gluten free penne from Pastariso, nitrate free bacon, and organic chicken broth. This soup is not just hearty, it’s healthy!

To make the soup more of a meal, I serve it with simple to make pesto croutons. I love the crunch of the toasted bread cubes and the freshness of the pesto. I also like to add just a grating of Parmesan cheese on each bowl.

For a vegan version, omit the bacon (just sauté the veggies in 2 tablespoons of olive oil) and omit the cheese and croutons.

So what’s for dinner tonight? Soup!

Gluten Free Minestrone Soup

Gluten Free Minestrone Soup with Pesto Croutons Recipe


4 slices nitrate free bacon
1½ cups diced onions (1 large onion)
2 cups thickly sliced (3 large carrots cut into ½ inch chunks)
2½ cups diced butternut squash (1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½ inch chunks)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 thyme sprigs
1 can (28 ounces) organic crushed tomatoes in puree
6 cups gluten free organic chicken broth
2 teaspoons kosher or fine sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
8 ounces gluten free penne
1 (15.5 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
5 ounces organic spinach leaves
4 slices gluten free sandwich bread (each slice about ½ inch thick)
3 tablespoons basil pesto
2 tablespoons olive oil
Parmesan cheese – optional


Chop the bacon and put into a large, cold stockpot. Turn heat to medium and cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until the bacon fat is rendered and the bacon is starting to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the onions, carrots, squash, garlic, and thyme sprigs. Cook over medium heat until the onions are softened, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, salt, black and red peppers, and bay leaves. Raise heat to high, bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are fork tender.

While the soup is simmering, bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook according to the package directions (about 7 minutes.) Drain the pasta and rinse under hot water.

Make the croutons. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the bread into cubes (9 cubes per slice of bread). In a mixing bowl, combine the pesto and olive oil. Add the bread cubs and toss gently until the bread is fully coated. Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes.

Once the soup has simmered for 30 minutes and the veggies are tender, remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs, add the pasta and beans and heat through. Add the spinach and stir into the soup. Cook just until the spinach is wilted.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, top with some croutons and a grating of Parmesan cheese if desired.


A gluten free recipe that serves 6 – 8

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Categories:    Soups & Stews

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

kerse March 15, 2013 at 2:50 pm

I’m having trouble finding Gluten Free pasta. Any ideas where I can pick it up? I’ve tried Target and Kroger…


Carol Kicinski March 16, 2013 at 12:15 pm

I don’t have a Kroger where I live but I have been told they are very gluten friendly – ask your store manager. If they don’t have it on hand, they will be able to get for you. Or you can shop on line.


Paula Kral September 8, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Walmart and Meijer have small GF aisles. Kroger’s GF is normally found in the natural foods section. Aldi has a huge amount of GF things but not a lot of pasta. Kroger and Meijer are the only 2 with breads that are any good at all. Good luck. It gets easier once you know what to look for.


Jennalee March 11, 2015 at 8:17 am

LOVED this! My 8 year old son devoured two bowls! Great twist on traditional minestrone soup.


Carol Kicinski March 12, 2015 at 10:58 am

Great to hear!! and thanks Jennalee!



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