Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup
This vegetarian slow cooker Italian minestrone soup recipe is an easy one-pot meal loaded with vegetables. It’s a nourishing kid-friendly dinner that everyone will love.
A few days ago I asked my Instagram and Facebook communities what everyone would like to see more of on the blog this year. The responses were overwhelmingly along the lines of, “slow cooker, please!” I hear you! When I made slow cooker Vegetarian Split Pea Soup a few weeks ago, I realized that I don’t utilize this amazing time saving appliance enough. So this week I made one of my family’s favorite soups, vegetarian minestrone, in the slow cooker. This hearty minestrone is perfect for busy nights when you still want to eat well. Soups are one of our favorite dinners because they are easy to fill with healthy ingredients like kid-friendly bite-sized vegetables and legumes. One of my favorite things about blogging is getting to help you find a way to eat well, even when life is crazy busy. This slow cooker minestrone is perfect for those no-time-to-cook nights and makes us feel so much better than fast food.
The kids said:
“I like this soup.”
“It tastes like pesto.”
This soup gets its wonderful Italian flavors of garlic and basil the easiest way possible – store bought pesto. It’s a little soup trick I learned from Ina Garten. As you’ll see in the short video, the hard vegetables get slowly cooked all day. Just before you’re ready to eat, the spinach, pasta, and beans get added just to warm up and wilt in. It will seem like you’re adding a ton of spinach, but watch how much it cooks down. Depending on my mood and what I have around the house, sometimes I use butternut squash and other times I use potatoes. My kids prefer the potatoes, but I love the sweetness the butternut squash ads.
I hope this slow cooker minestrone recipe makes your busy nights a little more delicious. Stay tuned, because I have a round-up of the best vegetarian slow cooker recipes coming right up!
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
- 3 carrots, sliced into coins
- 3 celery stalks, sliced crosswise
- 2 cups butternut squash cubes (or peeled potato)
- 26 oz. diced tomatoes with juices
- 1 (32 oz.) box vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- dash red pepper flakes
- ½ cup pesto
- 5 oz. baby spinach
- 2 cups cooked small pasta
- 2 (15 oz.) cans cannellini beans, drained
- Place the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, butternut squash, tomatoes, vegetable broth, thyme, bay leaf, salt and red pepper into the slow cooker. Set to low for 8 hours.
- When the vegetables are tender and you’re just about ready to eat, stir in the pesto, spinach, pasta, and beans. Cover and cook on high until spinach has wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper if necessary.
*Gluten Free Option: use gluten free pasta and make sure your broth and pesto are also gf. *Vegan Option: Use or make a dairy-free pesto.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 292Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 594mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 10gSugar: 9gProtein: 12g