Adventures in Slow Cooking: Minestrone Soup

I bought a Cuisinart slow cooker (a ridiculous sale on Amazon made it irresistable). First test, minestrone soup for Mom, Cary, Nanny & Pop.
I used Robin Miller’s recipe and made a bunch of modifications. First was because my slow cooker (3.5 quarts) is much smaller than the standard ones, but I’m not cooking for a crowd, just 2. My slow cooker still made enough soup for 6.

It was excellent. I cooked some cheese tortellini before I served it and put it in the bottom of each bowl. Makes for a filling and delicious meal. It was seasoned just right, not too salty, but people who like salty soup can easily modify the recipe. Next time I’ll try spinach in the place of string beans. Yum!

My version:

  • 4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 can cut green beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups frozen spinach, defrosted and drained [I skipped this the first time]
  • 16oz. bag of cheese tortellini (cooked separately)
  • Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese 
Sautee onions with a little garlic in 1 tbsp olive oil until translucent; add carrots and celery, cook for 5 more minutes.
In slow cooker, combine broth, tomatoes, beans, carrots, celery, onion, thyme, sage, bay leaves, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours [or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours].

Thirty minutes before the soup is done cooking, add string beans and spinach. Cover and cook 30 more minutes; during this time cook the tortellini or other pasta. Remove bay leaves and season, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Ladle pasta into bowls then add soup and sprinkle cheese over top.

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Minestrone Soup


So we had a bon voyage lunch for Allison (who’s moving to Florida) but we’re all so sick of food that I made a simple meal… baby arugula with lemon and parmesan, fried artichoke hearts, and Giada’s Winter Minestrone. Yum!
The minestrone was thick and excellent… I used the full 32oz. box of vegetable broth (instead of beef broth) and I didn’t use the pancetta (as this was being served to a veggie). It was excellent and with some grated pecorino romano it was perfect. Yum. Who knew Swiss Chard could be so delicious? The dark green and red in the chard leaves made it look wintry and wonderful.
Apparently true minestrone has no pasta in it… I loved it without the pasta, especially when Carolyn brought over yummy bread to dip in it.
I forgot to take a picture even though it looked so pretty in the pot. Oops. So I stole a picture from this guy’s blog since he made Giada’s recipe too.
Definitely a keeper. 🙂