Soup’s on – Slow Cooker Minestrone

Minestrone-soup

A bowl of soup and a grilled sandwich is probably my all-time favorite comfort food, whether I’m feeling under the weather or burrowing in on a cold day.  Recently my hubby came down with a terrible cold and just looked miserable, and I thought that a warm bowl of minestrone soup was just what he needed.

I’ve been experimenting with various recipes over the years, and this is the result of my tinkering. I love cooking soup, especially when I can put it together in the morning and let it simmer all day. Other than a quick saute of fresh veggies, this is all cut and dump, if you will.

My Minestrone Soup

I start off with a medium onion, 2-3 carrots, two small zucchini and 2-3 celery stalks. (I don’t usually use red onion, but my local market was plum out of white AND yellow onions, so I made do.)

Chop all the veggies – I like to get them nicely sized so that they will fit on a spoon (for me this is slightly bigger than a dice).  Mince two cloves of garlic, too.

Minestrone-soup

 

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large saute pan (or a dutch oven) over medium heat.  Add the vegetables and the garlic and cook, stirring often so the garlic doesn’t scorch, until just softened. This will take about 5 minutes.

Saute-minestrone-soup

Transfer to the slow cooker.

Peel a large (or two small) baking potatoes and cube.

Soup-potatoes

Add the potatoes to the vegetables in the slow cooker. Top with one bay leaf.

Mash up one 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes and add, with their juice. Cover with 32-0z of your favorite chicken stock.

Finally, add in a teaspoon (ish) of oregano, one (1) bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

Soup-slowcooker

Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.

Coarsely chop about 5 leaves of swiss chard.  Rinse and drain a can of cannelini beans, smashing half.   Add swiss chard, beans and 1/2 cup of dry red wine. I also threw in about a cup of cut frozen green beans at this point, too.

soup-swisschard.

Give it a good stir and continue to cook on low for another 2-3 hours.

Removing the bay leaf, stir in 1/2 cup of small pasta (I used ditalini, but small shells or elbow macaroni works great, too). Turn the heat up to high and cook another 30 minutes.

Minestrone-soup

Serve hot with lots of grated Parmesan cheese!

The great thing about minestrone is there is no wrong ingredient, in my opinion. (Well, ok – corn does not belong in minestrone. Sometimes I might also add a can of kidney beans and omit the potato. Like more pasta? Go ahead, add more! (If you do, you might want to add a little water to the slow cooker as the pasta will use more liquid.)

Oh and a cheat for you – pasta can be a bit of a sponge when it comes to liquids. One tip I learned last year was to cook the pasta separately, and then add it to the bowl when you serve it – this is a great idea any time you are making a soup and plan on freezing part of it.

If you are planning on freezing your homemade soup, cook your noodles separately & add when you are serving! #Timeforsoup #Winter #nom Click To Tweet

I like to serve breadsticks or a cheesy quesadilla on the side – as much as I love a good soup, I never feel fully satisfied unless I get to chew something along with it. Is that odd?

Soup’s on – Slow Cooker Minestrone

Soup’s on – Slow Cooker Minestrone

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2-3 whole carrots, diced
  • 2 small zucchini, diced
  • 2-3 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 baking potato, cubed
  • 1 28-oz can of whole (or diced) tomatoes
  • 32-oz low sodium chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 leaves swiss chard, coarsely chopped
  • 1 15-oz can cannellini beans
  • 1/2 c. dry red wine
  • Optional: 1 C. fresh or frozen cut green beans
  • 1/2 c. small pasta, such as ditalini, small shells or elbow macaroni
  • parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Chop the onions, carrots, celery and zucchini. I like a nice dice so they fit on your spoon (nothing like trying to scoop up giant veggies in your soup!)
  2. Mince two cloves of garlic.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large saute pan (or dutch oven) over medium heat.
  4. Add onions, celery, carrots, zucchini and garlic to the oil and cook until just softened, stirring often so the garlic doesn't scorch. (About 5 minutes.)
  5. Transfer to the slow cooker.
  6. Peel the potato and cube. Add to slow cooker.
  7. Mash up the 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes and add, with their juice. Cover with 32-oz of your preferred stock.
  8. Add the oregano, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.
  9. Rinse well, then coarsely chop about 5 leaves of swiss chard.
  10. Rinse the can of cannellini beans, mashing half.
  11. To slow cooker, add the swiss chard, beans, and 1/2 cup of red wine. I also add the green beans at this point, too. Give it all a good stir and continue to cook on low for another two-three hours.
  12. Removing the bay leaf, stir in 1/2 cup of small post. Turn the heat up to high, cover and cook another 30 minutes.
  13. Serve hot topped with lots of yummy grated or shaved parmesan cheese!!
  14. Note: Pasta will act as a sponge to the liquids in your pot. One cheat I have since learned is to cook the pasta separately, then add to the finished soup as you are serving. This is a great idea any time you plan on freezing part of your soup, because the pasta will not get gummy.
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What do you like to put in your minestrone? And do you need a sandwich along with your soup?

 

Comments

  1. uprunforlife says

    This soup sounds delicious. I don’t think my husband would like a few of the items in this soup. I guess I could omit them. I do love soup because it’s a great way to sneak those veggies in.

  2. Yum, this looks delicious! I love anything I can make in my slow cooker.

  3. Oh my goodness. This looks delicious. I wish it was in my slow cooker right now!

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