What's essential to minestrone?

I'm bringing soup to a pot luck tomorrow, and I've decided to bring minestrone instead of the tomato-vegetable I usually make. So what's the difference, in your opinion. It seems to me the minestrone has carrot, celery, green beans, white beans, tomatoes and pasta, but interestingly I found a couple of canned versions that didn't list onion.

What herbs do you use?

Do you think I can use marmite to add flavor instead of vegetable or chicken broth (as well as tomatoes)?

I was thinking of adding lima beans as well as white beans.

I'm looking for opinions and advice.

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