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Vegan Butternut Minestrone with Sage, Chickpeas & Chard - The First Mess

Butternut Minestrone with Sage, Chickpeas & Chard

Vegan butternut minestrone is a cozy Fall spin on a classic soup. It's filled out with chickpeas, chard, hearty herbs, and whole grain pasta.
Course Main Course, Soup, Stew
Cuisine Dairy-free, Italian, Nut-Free, Plant-Based, Special Diets, Sugar-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Diet Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword butternut squash, canned tomatoes, chard, chili, crushed tomatoes, fall, garlic, olive oil, onions, orzo pasta, soup, thyme, tomato paste, tomatoes, vegan sausage, vegetable stock, winter, zucchini
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, small dice
  • 1 medium carrot, small dice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried chili flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 cups small-diced butternut squash (about ½ of a small-medium butternut)
  • 1 medium zucchini, small dice
  • 1 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • sea salt & ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 29oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 7 cups vegetable stock
  • ½ cup dry, small pasta (I used orzo)
  • 1 bunch chard, chopped


  • In a large, (5.25 quart or larger) heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and carrots to the pot and stir. Saute until onions are starting to become translucent and soft, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the sage, thyme, chili flakes, garlic, and tomato paste to the pot and stir. Once the tomato paste is evenly distributed and the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds, add the butternut squash, zucchini, and chickpeas. Stir to combine. Season the vegetables generously with salt and pepper.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes and vegetable stock to the pot. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil. Then, simmer the soup until the butternut squash pieces are tender, about 20-23 minutes. Add the pasta to the soup and continue simmering until pasta is tender and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the chopped chard to the soup and place the lid on the pot. Let the soup simmer until the chard is wilted and bright green, about 2 minutes. Check the soup for seasoning. Serve the butternut minestrone hot with drizzles of olive oil, extra chili flakes, freshly ground black pepper, sprinkles of vegan “parmesan”, or fresh bread.


  • I chose orzo for my pasta here, but little shells or dittalini would be great. I find that when adding pasta to soups, it’s important to stir frequently because it can start sticking to the bottom of the pot if you leave it too long.
  • I would have added a chopped stalk of celery to this, but surprise! My garden celery was a little woody and not the tastiest. The soup is great either way ;)
  • Typically I like to use the chard stems in the same dish that I’m using the leaves, but I’d skip it here. The chopped up stems would make this watery and wouldn’t really contribute anything to the soup. Save the stalks for a stir fry, a mixed juice if you’re into that, and I've seen recipes that involve pickling the stems as well!