A Fall twist on the classic soup, this Fall Minestrone features butternut squash, kale and pancetta, together with white beans and pasta.

Fall minestrone soup in white bowl.

It’s only been a few weeks since I shared a Summer Minestrone recipe, but where I live, that’s how it works. One minute it’s Summer and the next, solidly Fall :)

This Fall Minestrone soup recipe features butternut squash and Kale, combined with tomatoes, beans, pasta and some pancetta, for a salty, heartier note.

What you’ll need

Fall minestrone ingredients on counter.

A few notes about the key ingredients …

Butternut Squash – if you’re lucky enough to find pre-cubed, fresh butternut squash at the grocery store, that is the easiest option. Otherwise, start with a whole butternut squash. I like to peel it, then microwave it for 4-5 minutes, and then slice it into rounds, which I cube from there. Frozen butternut squash cubes will work here, though you will need to add them later in the process (details are in the Recipe Card).

Pancetta – cubes of pancetta are perfect here, but diced bacon will also work. For a vegetarian soup, you can omit it.

Pasta – I’ve used Tubetti here. Ditalini works well, too, as does small shells or macaroni.

Canned Beans – I’ve used white kidney beans (Cannellini beans), but you can use red kidney beans or any canned beans.

Canned Tomatoes – I like diced canned tomatoes in soup, but whole canned tomatoes that you hand crush before adding to the soup will also work. If you happen to have a bunch of fresh tomatoes on hand, you can chop and use them instead of canned. Use 4 cups of fresh, chopped tomatoes.

Kale – Kale gives this soup a nice Fall feel, other greens such as chard will work, too. For kale or other coarse greens, take a moment to cut out any tough stems and chop the leaves into smaller pieces, if necessary. Of course, spinach is always an option as well. If using spinach, add it towards the end of cooking.

Broth – You can use chicken broth or vegetable broth. I generally use chicken broth. I start with 4 cups of broth and from there, I generally thin with water, as needed. You can certainly add more broth instead if you like.

Step-by-step photos

  1. Start the soup by browning the pancetta (or bacon).
  2. Remove the pancetta to a small bowl and remove excess fat from the pan (if necessary).
  3. Saute the onion, celery and carrots 3-4 minutes, then add the tomato paste and red pepper flakes.
  4. Add the canned tomatoes.
  5. Add the broth.
  6. Add the fresh butternut squash (if using frozen butternut squash, add in step 8.
  7. Cover the pot and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
  8. Add the drained and rinsed beans (and frozen butternut squash, if using).
  9. Return the pancetta to the pot.
  10. Add the dried pasta to the pot.
  11. Add the kale to the pot, then simmer the soup uncovered for 10-15 minutes, adding additional liquid (water or broth), as needed, to thin it until the pasta is cooked.
  12. Finish the soup with a bit more fresh basil, if using, then taste the soup and add additional salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed.

Recipe Video

Recipe tips

  • Any soup with pasta will thicken as it sits in the refrigerator. When reheating, simply thin with a splash more broth or water, as needed.
  • The most important ingredient in any soup is salt! Be sure to taste the soup at the end of cooking and add additional salt, as needed. If it tastes flat or you feel like “it needs something”, what it needs is more salt :)
Fall minestrone soup in white bowl.

Making ahead, storing and freezing

The flavours in this soup may benefit a bit from making ahead and re-heating, but it does thicken as it sits in the fridge. You can thin with a bit more water or broth, as needed.

Unfortunately, soups with pasta don’t usually fare well when frozen and thawed. If you really want a soup to freeze, skip the pasta (or add a bit of cooked pasta when re-heating the soup after freezing).

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Fall minestrone soup in white bowl.

Get the Recipe: Fall Minestrone

A Fall twist on the classic soup, this Fall Minestrone features butternut squash, kale and pancetta, together with white beans and pasta.
5 stars from 5 ratings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup pancetta or bacon, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup celery, thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup carrots, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 28 oz canned diced tomatoes, with liquid or 4 cups fresh chopped tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen butternut squash, cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 cups kale leaves, tough stems removed and chopped
  • 19 oz cannellini beans (white kidney beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup tubetti or ditalini pasta, or other small pasta
  • 1-2 cups water or additional broth, as needed
  • Additional fresh chopped basil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed

Instructions
 

  • Add pancetta or bacon and olive oil to a large soup pot on the stove-top. Heat over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the pancetta is browned. Remove to a small bowl and set aside. (If there is a large amount of fat in the pan, remove and discard some of it, leaving enough to saute the vegetables in the next step.)
  • Add the onion, celery and carrots to the pot. Cook, stirring, about 3-4 minutes. Add the tomato paste and red pepper flakes to the pot and cook with the vegetables about 1 minute. Add the canned tomatoes with the liquid.
  • Tip! After adding the canned tomatoes to the pot, take a moment to fill the tomato can 1/2-2/3 full with water and use that water to add to the soup as directed and/or as needed as the soup cooks.
  • Tip! If using frozen butternut squash, don't add it until Step 6, with the kale and canned beans.
  • Add the broth, butternut squash and herbs. Increase the heat under the pot slightly and bring the soup to a boil, stirring regularly. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover the pot and allow to simmer about 15 minutes, or until the squash is tender (or the carrots are tender if using frozen butternut squash).
  • Remove the lid. Add the kale, canned beans (and frozen butternut squash, if using) and pasta and stir to combine. Return the cooked pancetta to the pot and stir in. Add about 1 cup of water (or broth) to the pot and have another cup or so handy to add to the pot, if needed to thin the soup while it cooks. Allow the soup to simmer, uncovered, about 10-15 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked.
  • If using spinach, add now and cook in the soup, stirring, until wilted. If using fresh basil, I like to stir a bit more in at the end, as well, for a bit more colour and flavour. Taste the soup. Add additional salt, as needed. If the soup flavours taste flat, it needs more salt!
  • Serve soup immediately, topped with grated Parmesan or refrigerate to serve later. Soup will thicken as it sits in the fridge. Thin with a little more water or broth, as needed when reheating.
  • This soup will keep well in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Unfortunately, soup with pasta doesn't freeze very well.

Notes

  • Any soup with pasta will thicken as it sits in the refrigerator. When re-heating, simply thin with a splash more broth or water, as needed.
  • The most important ingredient in any soup is salt! Be sure to taste the soup at the end of cooking and add additional salt, as needed. If it tastes flat or you feel like “it needs something”, what it needs is more salt :)
Be sure to read the notes above this Recipe Card, for more tips on making this recipe. You’ll also find step-by-step photos and a video of this soup being made, that you might find helpful.
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Course: Soup
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 237kcal, Carbohydrates: 33g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.02g, Cholesterol: 12mg, Sodium: 875mg, Potassium: 549mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 7418IU, Vitamin C: 34mg, Calcium: 149mg, Iron: 4mg
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