The Slow Cooker Minestrone is so delicious! Every bite is filled with vegetables, beans and pasta in this one pot meal. Hearty and filling, it's a classic Italian Soup!
What is Minestrone?
Like me, you might have wondered what exactly is minestrone soup? It's a thick Italian vegetable soup. It contain vegetables, also usually beans and pasta or rice. The broth is a rich tomato broth.
Basically it's a vegetable soup with pasta or rice added.
If you look at it like that, you realize that you can make it all year long. In the summer use fresh tomatoes and summer squash from your garden. In the fall, butternut squash and even apples are delicious. Winter brings even heartier vegetables like cabbage, kale, and your basics like carrots, celery and onions. In the spring, use fresh green peas and asparagus.
Today's version is the version I make most often. It's my favorite transition from summer to fall soup!
Ingredients in a Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup
Here is where I usually include a photo of all the ingredients. Since this is a vegetable soup, heavy with vegetables, there are quite a few ingredients. The amount of effort it would take to lay out all the ingredients and take a photo far outweighed the ease and simplicity of this one pot meal!
So with no photo here are the ingredients:
- Zucchini - or yellow squash.
- Kidney Beans - canned.
- Salt, bay leaf, pepper, fresh parsley.
- Whole Tomatoes - canned (can use fresh.)
- Baby Lima Beans - frozen.
- Chicken Broth
- Swiss Chard - or Napa cabbage.
- Red Wine - optional, but delicious.
- Elbow Macaroni - or little shells.
- Parmesan Rind - optional, but I add it to all my vegetable soups. Save the rinds from you Parmesan chunks, or Whole Foods actually sells the rinds in a small tub that I keep stored in the fridge.
- Parmesan Cheese - for serving.
How to Make Slow Cooker Vegetable Soup
This slow cooker recipe is a little different in that it has you add ingredients in 3 different stages.
- Optional - precook the onions, carrots, celery, and zucchini in a skillet over medium heat until softened and then add them to the slow cooker. Sometimes I do this, sometimes I don't.
- Add the kidney beans, salt, bay leaf, pepper, parsley, tomatoes, limas and chicken broth. Add water to cover everything by at least an inch. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.
- Add the Swiss Chard or cabbage and red wine and cook for an additional 2 to 3 hours. Sometimes I do this and sometimes I just add the chard and wine at the beginning with everything else.
- About 30 minutes before dinner, turn the slow cooker to high and add the pasta. Cook for about 30 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaf and the Parmesan rind and serve with fresh grated Parmesan Cheese.
More Crockpot Soup Recipes
Slow Cooker Thai Curried Noodles - creamy, spicy and so delicious!
Slow Cooker Spiced Beef Stew - fall flavors with butternut squash and sweet potatoes, but yummy all year round!
Sow Cooker Potato Leek Soup - a classic is updated with bacon croutons!
Slow Cooker White Chili with Avocado Cream - who doesn't love a good white chili!
Follow my Slow Cooker and Crockpot Recipes Board on Pinterest for even more!
Slow Cooker Minestrone
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 carrots diced
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 2 zucchini trimmed and diced
- 15 ounce kidney beans canned, rinsed and drained
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped
- 28 ounce tomatoes canned, whole
- 10 oz lima beans frozen
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups swiss chard chopped, or cabbage
- ½ cup dry red wine
- ⅓ cup elbow macaroni or any small pasta
- parmesan rind
- Parmesan cheese for garnish
- In a skillet over medium high heat add the olive oil. Saute the onion, carrots, celery and zucchini for about 5 minutes or until slightly softened. Add to slow cooker.
- Add the kidney beans, salt, bay leaf, pepper, parsley, tomatoes and their juice, limas and chicken broth. If needed add water until the vegetables are covered by at least 1 inch. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.
- Add the chard (or cabbage) and the red wine. Cook for an additional 2-3 hours on low.
- Stir in the pasta and cook on high for about 30 minutes or until the pasta is tender. Remove the Parmesan rind and the bay leaf.
- Serve garnished with more Parmesan cheese.
The was originally published in 2010 and has been updated for 2019.