Minestrone with Sausage and Pesto Recipe

This hearty Minestrone with Sausage and Pesto is a flavorful and satisfying dish that combines Italian sausage, a variety of vegetables, beans, and pasta, topped with a dollop of basil pesto. It’s perfect for warming up on a cold day and can easily be prepared on the stovetop or in a slow cooker.


  • 16 ounces mild Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 & 1/2 cups celery, chopped
  • 1 & 1/2 cups carrots, chopped
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 15-ounce can Italian-style diced tomatoes
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup yellow squash, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry ditalini pasta
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • Basil pesto, for garnish
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Stovetop Instructions:

  1. Brown the Sausage:
    • In a large pot, cook the Italian sausage over medium heat until browned. Break the sausage into small pieces as it cooks. Once browned, remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Sauté Vegetables:
    • In the same pot, add the chopped onion, celery, and carrots. Sauté until the vegetables start to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute.
  3. Add Liquids and Tomatoes:
    • Mix in the tomato paste and oregano, then add the diced tomatoes and chicken broth. Stir well to combine.
  4. Simmer the Soup:
    • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  5. Add Beans and Pasta:
    • Add the cannellini beans, kidney beans, zucchini, yellow squash, and ditalini pasta to the pot. Continue to simmer until the pasta is tender, about 10 minutes.
  6. Add Spinach:
    • Stir in the baby spinach and cooked sausage. Cook until the spinach is wilted and the soup is heated through.
  7. Serve:
    • Ladle the soup into bowls. Top each serving with a spoonful of basil pesto and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.

Slow Cooker Instructions:

  1. Prep the Sausage and Vegetables:
    • Brown the sausage in a skillet, then transfer to the slow cooker. Add all vegetables (except spinach) to the slow cooker.
  2. Add Liquids and Tomatoes:
    • Stir in the tomato paste, oregano, diced tomatoes, and chicken broth.
  3. Cook:
    • Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  4. Add Pasta and Beans:
    • During the last 30 minutes of cooking, add the pasta, beans, zucchini, and yellow squash. Increase heat to high if necessary.
  5. Finish with Spinach:
    • Stir in the spinach and cooked sausage, and continue cooking until the spinach has wilted.
  6. Serve:
    • Garnish with basil pesto and Parmesan cheese as described above.


Minestrone with Sausage and Pesto is a robust and delicious soup that combines classic Italian flavors. Whether you choose to make it on the stovetop or in a slow cooker, it’s a versatile and comforting meal that’s perfect for any season. Enjoy the deep flavors and hearty ingredients of this wonderful minestrone!