Minestrone, The King of Soups

Even before I quit smoking, I loved minestrone soup. Back, when I thought I still disliked most foods and vegetables, we had to take a semester of Home Economics as a part of high school and in the class we made minestrone soup. That was my first encounter with it and I loved it.

There are lots of variations of minestrone out there, but mine is purely vegetarian and I keep it that way to enjoy the bright, fresh, tastes of the vegetables as they mix and mingle while cooking away in my crockpot. This recipe does require a large slow cooker to work with as there's a lot of vegetables, liquids, and so forth. I use my 8 quart slow cooker and this gets filled to the rim!

A bright medley of vegetables ready to cook!

  • 3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups of sweet onion (vidalia is nice), chopped
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 cups carrots, sliced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 28oz and 1 14oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red wine or  1/4 cup of sherry (optional)
  • 1 cup kidney beans, drained
  • 2 cups green beans
  • 2 cups baby spinach, rinsed
  • 3 zucchinis, quartered and sliced
  • 1 tsp oregano (fresh isn't necessary)
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup ditali pasta
  • Parmesan cheese, fresh grated, for topping

1. Sauté garlic in olive oil for 2 to 3 minutes, just to bring out the flavours. Add in the onions and sauté another  3 minutes. 

2. Combine celery, carrots, tomatoes, kidney beans, green beans, spinach, and zucchini in slow cooker. Add the onions and garlic, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Mix them up, I just turn the collection a few times with a wooden spoon until nicely jumbled.

3. Add in the liquids. If you're not using the wine or sherry, just add another half cup of broth. Though, as note, the alcohol will cook off, but the wine will add subtle flavours that you can't get otherwise so try it if you have it handy.

4. Cook on high in the slow cooker for 6-8 hours.

5. Before serving, when the soup is cooked through, prepare the ditali pasta. Do not cook the pasta with the soup, it will cook way too long. Cook at the end and add to the soup. You can choose to just stir it in to the soup or add to the serving bowls and mix in.

6. Grate parmesan cheese over the soup, to taste (I like lots, I love parmesan cheese).

7. Enjoy! Nice, crusty, bread is a good addition to this. It will fill you up, this is a very hearty soup.

This isn't a soup to freeze, as a note, but it's never been an issue for us. It's assured that Kat and I will polish off this soup in the days that follow well before you'd ever need to consider freezing or discarding.


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