Thick, hearty, delicious, and filling, this Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup is exactly the kind of meal I’d expect my Italian grandmother to serve. (If I were lucky enough to have an Italian grandmother, that is. Unfortunately, Irish grandmothers just aren’t known for the same culinary prowess.)
Unlike many Italian dishes, which are notoriously heavy and high calorie, this Minestrone soup is actually healthy. But don’t worry, packed with hearty ingredients, this soup still feels and tastes like classic Italian comfort food.
Completely vegetarian and bursting with healthy veggies, whole-wheat pasta, and protein-packed beans, this is no “light” soup. Clean and healthy? Definitely. But trust me, this Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup will certainly fill you up.
Minestrone comes from an Italian cognate meaning simply “to serve.” The origins of this thick vegetable soup aren’t entirely clear, but its history is thought to pre-date the Roman empire. With such a hodgepodge of ingredients, historians suggest that, originally, no one really used a recipe to make this soup. Rather, Minestrone soup was more or less the product of leftovers night.
Take all your unused ingredients from the night before and make a hearty, filling soup. And I’m sure even back in the days of the Roman Empire, kids complained about Minestrone night the same way they complain about leftovers today.
These days, however, we enjoy Minestrone soup as more than just a last resort for leftovers. (Although it would still make a good one.) This thick and hearty Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup tastes more like comfort food than leftovers, but it is just as easy to throw together.
I think crock pot meals are ideal for busy weekends. I don’t know about you, but my weekends are typically far from relaxing. Between cleaning, catching up on my workouts, and popping in and out of the house to run errands, the weekend is hardly a time to slow down. That’s why I like to throw together a slow cooker meal in the morning that can cook all day while I’m running around.
This easy Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup is my new wintertime weekend favorite. Warm and hearty, its the perfect healthy cold weather meal.
I also love that this soup is naturally vegetarian. I prefer to eat vegetarian a few nights a week, but it’s often a nonstarter when I’m cooking for guests. So many of us (specifically, men) still have it hardwired that we need to eat meat with every meal. When I serve a meatless dinner, people (again, men) often seem confused and disappointed.
Fortunately, this Minestrone soup is so full of hearty ingredients, no one will ever notice anything is “missing” at all. Meanwhile, protein-packed beans mean nobody is missing out on their protein, either.
Whether you’re trying to use up leftovers or running to the store to pick up all the ingredients, this delicious Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup makes a hearty, healthy, and easy dinner.
If you like this recipe, try our other crock pot soups:
- Potato Leek Soup
- Chicken and Wild Rice soup
- Hearty Veggie and Bean Soup
- Greek Lemon Chicken Soup
- Thai Curry Soup
Yields: 8 servings | Serving Size: 2 cups | Calories: 149 | Total Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 531mg | Carbohydrates: 24g | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 6g | Protein: 9g | SmartPoints: 5
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 (15 ounce) can low-sodium crushed tomatoes
- 1 (15 ounce can low-sodium diced tomatoes
- 1 (15 ounce) can low-sodium kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 yellow onion, chopped small
- 1 cup celery, chopped small
- 1 cup carrot, chopped small
- 1 cup fresh green beans, chopped into 1/2 inch to 1 inch pieces
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup whole wheat elbow macaroni pasta
- 1 small zucchini, chopped into small cubes
- 3 cups kale, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup fat free parmesan cheese, shredded
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, roughly chopped
- In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients except macaroni, zucchini, kale, parmesan, and fresh basil.
- Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 4 hours. Add the macaroni pasta, zucchini, and kale. Cook for an additional hour on high or until kale is wilted and macaroni is tender.
- Ladle into serving bowls and sprinkle with parmesan. Top with fresh basil. Serve and enjoy!