Hearty Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup
Incredibly flavorful and rich, this minestrone soup is every bit as hearty as it is beautiful. Made easily in the slow cooker, this soup is perfect for a busy weeknight!
Made with minimal effort, this minestrone soup is one of the most flavorful soups I’ve ever made! Full of protein and fiber rich beans, nutritious vegetables and filling pasta, it’s a complete meal in a bowl!
How’s your Spring going so far? Ours has been absolutely crazy, with snow storms hitting us several times within the last two weeks. Now this week it’s cold and rainy. BLAH!! The good news is, it’s still soup weather!
Honestly though, I still make soup year round… it’s just great comfort food. Especially this minestrone soup.
I’ve made a lot of soups over the years… some of our favorites are tomato basil, zuppa toscana, and beef barley… but this one, it might just be my absolute FAVORITE!! Normally vegetable soups always leave me feeling hungry about an hour after. But this one doesn’t do that to me; it’s hearty, rich, and FULL of flavor.
WHAT IS IN A MINESTRONE SOUP
Minestrone is typically a vegetable soup, usually with beans, and pasta. Traditionally ditalini (the small little tubes) is used, but mini shells, mini penne, or any other really short pasta will work.
IS MINESTRONE SOUP GOOD FOR YOU
In many ways yes! It’s low in fat and calories and loaded with healthy vegetables. If you’re following a low-carb way of eating, the beans and pasta will make this higher in carbohydrates.
HOW DO YOU MAKE MINESTRONE
This recipe is super easy to make… the slow cooker does the work for you! The only “work” involved is chopping the carrot, celery, onion and zucchini and most of that can be prepped ahead of time. Just add the ingredients in the crockpot, cover, and switch it on! There’s a trick to the timing of adding certain ingredients, but it’s all detailed in the recipe at the end of the post 😉
IS THIS AN OLIVE GARDEN COPYCAT RECIPE
Not technically, but from looking at other copycat recipes, it has extremely similar ingredients, so it will probably taste pretty close. I’ve never actually had the minestrone soup from Olive Garden, so I can’t say with certainty how close the flavors are. Try it and let me know!
Even though we may be heading into warmer weather, I hope you give this hearty and comforting minestrone soup recipe a try… I know you’ll love it!!
- Large slow cooker – I have the 6 and 8 quart version of this slow cooker and it works amazingly well. I love that the lid latches down.
- Vegetable base – this is what I mean when I say vegetable base, it adds SUCH flavor to soups and stews. Your grocery store might have it in stock, but in case it doesn’t, this link is to the exact version I use.
Hearty Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup
- 1 cup carrots, sliced
- 1 cup celery, sliced
- 1 1/2 cups yellow onion, diced
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes, with juices
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- parmesan rind, or 1" chunk of parmesan
- 2-3 Tbsp minced garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 1/4 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 4 cups fat free vegetable stock or broth
- 2 cups water
- 2 Tbsp vegetable base
- 15 oz can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 15 oz can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
ADD 20-25 MINUTES BEFORE SERVING
- 1 cup diced zucchini
- 1 1/2 cups dried ditalini or other small pasta
ADD 5 MINUTES BEFORE SERVING
- 1 cup frozen cut green beans
- 1 1/2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
- Add first 15 ingredients to 6 quart or larger slow cooker. Stir to combine, cover, and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, or HIGH for 3-4 hours.
- 30 minutes before you want to serve the soup, add zucchini and ditalini pasta, stir, cover and cook on HIGH for 20-25 minutes.
- 5 minutes before serving, add in frozen green beans and baby spinach, stir, cover and cook on HIGH for 5 minutes.
- When serving, if desired, grate parmesan cheese over the soup and enjoy!