Traditional Minestrone Soup Slow Cooker Recipe

I hope you're having a wonderful weekend. We're spending it on the soccer field, but plan on coming home to a wonderful lunch of leftover minestrone soup and mini cornbread muffins.

The Ingredients.

serves 6

  • 8 cups beef broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes (whole can, flavored is fine)
  • 1 cup dry beans: I used a combo of pinto, black, lima,--- rinsed in hot water
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion (or 1 small onion, finely diced)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1/2 cup uncooked pasta (to add later, I used brown rice fusilli)parmesan cheese, optional garnish

The Directions.

Use a 6-quart slow cooker.

Pour broth into your cooker, and add tomatoes and the beans. 

I rinsed my beans in hot water, but didn't soak because of the high volume of liquid in this dish.

If you live in a high altitude area, you might want to soak overnight, or do a quick soak by bringing the beans to a boil for 10 minutes, then letting them sit in the hot water for 1 hour. If you are using any variety of red beans, YOU MUST do this rapid-boil to kill a possible toxin that occurs naturally in red beans.
Add vegetables, seasoning, and thawed spinach.

Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or until the beans are soft.

Add dry pasta, and cook on high for about 30 minutes, or until pasta is bite tender.

Serve in bowls with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

The Verdict.

My kids love this soup.

It's simple, it cleans out the cabinets and the fridge, and it really loads an awful lot of fiber and vegetable-goodness into each bowl.

I use beef broth for flavor and color.

If you're a vegetarian, use veggie broth, but maybe add a bit of balsamic vinegar or A-1 sauce to amp up the flavor just a tad.

Freezes well---but the pasta will swell.

You'll need to thin it a bit with more broth or water when reheating.

Do you love this recipe?

Please share it with your friends!

Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at October 16, 2010

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What they say about this recipe

  1. This looks amazing! Thanks for the freezing/reheating tip!

  2. You read my mind! I wanted to make minestrone soup tomorrow and there it is - today's post. Thank you!

  3. Yum! I can't wait to try this out!

    I'm hoping to find your recipe for the mini cornbread muffins. . .

  4. I have been doing some crock pot recipes and wanted to get some ideas on other recipes as well as enriching my overall knowldge of the kitchen. Great work and great site.

  5. Anonymous10/17/2010

    Can this be cooked on high or does that not get the beans cooked enough?

  6. Made it, loved it! Thanks a million for all of your wonderful recipes. You are a life saver!!

  7. Yum! Soup weather has finally hit us in Colorado, and I've been making tons of veggie soup with the farmer's market bounty.

    I have one hint for adding pasta to soups, especially if you are making enough to have leftovers. I cook my pasta separately, then throw it in the soup at serving time. I refrigerate the extra pasta in a bowl and add it to the soup when I reheat it. No more mushy pasta leftovers!

  8. Thank you! We made this today and it was a hit! Everything but the beef stock was already in the pantry - love it when that happens. I'm looking forward to trying the doro wat too.

  9. Anonymous12/10/2010

    Earlier this week I tried your minestrone soup, and it was a big hit with my family. "This recipe is definitely a keeper, mom," my daughter told me. I made 2 changes to your recipe: first, adding the tomatoes after the beans were cooked; I've discovered that beans don't cook thoroughly if tomatoes are added before they are fully cooked. Second, I added 1 cup of pasta. We've had a very rainy week, and soup was the perfect dinner choice!

  10. This looks delicious! Is there a lot of liquid to this at the end? Reason I ask is hubby is not a huge soup fan, thought I could make it more like a stew perhaps. Or any directions on how to thicken the liquid? Thank you!

  11. I've made this three times since I got a slow cooker for Christmas. I love it so much and all your recipes. This one keeps nice as leftovers and is much better than the canned stuff. It's so nice to come home to a hot meal.

  12. What is this about red beans being toxic? Is it only for dried beans? I use whole foods brand boxed red beans all the time and I've never heard about this so I'm now super nervous...

  13. Great recipe. I loved the 8-10 hour cook time on a cold winter's day. I followed all the instructions, but I cooked the pasta separately and also separately sautéed some beef cubes (in butter garlic). At service time, I added a potion of pasta and beef to each soup dish before adding the soup, which I mixed in. Will definitely do this one again.