Istarska Maneštra – Croatian Istrian Minestrone Soup

Chasing the Donkey may include affiliate links - if you decide to make a purchase through these links, we receive a commission without any additional cost to you. Disclaimer & privacy policy.
Post author Mate

Written by our local expert Mate

Mate is Croatian and owns a transport company in the Balkans, he has visited over 30 countries. He is an expert on all things transportation as well as food and wine.

This traditional Istrian hearty soup will keep you going all day long. It’s no surprise that this is similar to Italy’s minestrone given its close proximity; however, the Istrian maneštra is more of a fusion of Italian and Croatian cuisine.

There are countless variations on Maneštra depending on the season; this version is maneštra s bobići (minestrone with sweet corn) which you will find all across the Istrian region when corn is in season.

While there are many Istrian food experiences to be had when traveling across Istria, this is one recipe you can enjoy at home!

Croatian Recipies Istrian Manestra
Photo: Apartment Marsetti
Croatian Recipies Istrian Manestra

Istarska Maneštra Recipe (Istrian Minestrone)

Here is how to make Istarska Maneštra. This traditional Istrian hearty soup recipe will keep you going all day long.


  • 300 g dried beans (10.5 oz) soaked overnight. We prefer romano, but if you can't get these, you can use any dried beans you have available
  • 200 g smoked pork ribs (7 oz)
  • 1 prosciutto (prsut) bone
  • 150 g carrot, diced (5 oz)
  • 150 g parsnip diced (5 oz)
  • 40 g celery, diced (1.4 oz)
  • 1 cob sweet corn
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup pasta (we love shells the best)
  • ¼ cup virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • ½ tsp. paprika powder
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbls. vinegar


  1. Place the drained beans, prosciutto bone, ribs, carrot, parsnip, bay leaf, celery, sweet corn, into a stockpot and cover with water and bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 2 hours stirring now and then
  2. When the soup is 10 minutes from cooking for 2 hours, cook your pasta in a separate pot of boiling water
  3. Now remove the ribs and the bone from the soup and remove any meat from the bone and ribs and put it back in the soup
  4. Next, get a frypan and add the olive oil and saute the onion and garlic, until golden and then add the paprika and tomato and saute for another minute then add to the soup with the cooked pasta
  5. Taste the soup and add you salt and pepper to taste
  6. Serve the maneštra and make sure you have plenty of crusty bread for dipping
When in Croatia, you can hop across the border and be in Italy in no time at all; while there, you can take an Italian food tour like this – just remember your stretchy pants. Or, if you want to stay in Croatia, be sure to get to one of these places in Istra.

Comments (21)

  1. Don’t need bad weather or cold to eat soup. Love it! Tonight is Chicken and Sausage Gumbo.

  2. Very excited to see this! My grandparents made it a lot when I was growing up but I never knew anyone else who made it (or had even heard of it for that matter). Never had it with corn though so I’m curious to try it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Move This Adventure To Your Inbox & Get An Instant Freebie

Subscribe To Unlock Your FREE Customizable Travel Packing List & All Our Best Tips!

Skip to Recipe