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Bowl of minestrone soup garnished with Parmesan Cheese.

Slow Cooker Minestrone

The classic Italian soup made even easier in the slow cooker!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 20 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 319kcal


  • 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
  • 1/4 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
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/3 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 chard (or cabbage) and red wine can be added at the very beginning if you are not able to add them at the 5 hour mark. 
Parmesan rind is optional, but it adds a richness to the soup.  I save mine from Parmesan chunks, in the freezer.  You can also buy them in a tub in some grocery stores, and store them in the freezer
Change out the vegetables depending on the seasons - you can switch the zucchini for butternut squash, sweet potatoes, whatever vegetables are in season. 


Calories: 319kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1315mg | Potassium: 1401mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 5634IU | Vitamin C: 57mg | Calcium: 91mg | Iron: 5mg