Italian Minestrone Soup in the Slow Cooker

The temperature has followed the clock's lead, and has turned back a notch. It's officially cold outside, and we're ready for soup season.


There is something terribly soothing about minestrone soup--- regardless of your age, curling up with a bowl of hearty soup is as if you're being cuddled from the inside.

simply lovely.

The Ingredients.
serves 6-8
1 pound lean ground meat: pork, beef, or turkey. I used beef.
4 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 stalks celery, sliced
1 cup chopped carrot
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced or stewed tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
4 cups beef broth

2/3 cup dried elbow pasta (to add later; I used Tinkyada brand which is gluten free)
kosher salt (add to taste at the table)

The Directions.

Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Brown the first four ingredients on the stovetop, and drain the fat. I know, I hate cooking before I cook too, but this is a good thing because you're draining the rendered grease/fat.

Add meat to the slow cooker, and your vegetables. Add the whole can of tomatoes, the oregano, and beef broth. Stir to combine. Cover, and cook on low for 8 hours. 30 minutes before serving, stir in the dry pasta. Flip to high, and cook for an additional 30 minutes or until pasta has become bite-tender.

Serve in wide-mouthed bowls with a bit of shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired.

The Verdict.

I served this soup last week to my family of five, my parents, and my grandma. We didn't have any leftovers. I am  beginning to really prefer beef broth to chicken in my heartier soups that have tomatoes--- it's just a more rich flavor.
If you plan on freezing this soup, I wouldn't add the noodles until you reheat and serve; they'll break up on you in the freezer.

additional soup season favorites:

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at November 08, 2011

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What they say about this article

  1. Just embarking on my slow cooker career! The recipes look fabulous!

    My husband has to watch his cholesterol. Will most of the recipes be OK - low in saturated fats?

  2. Anonymous11/08/2011

    Mmmm that is such a good idea! And thanks for the rec for gluten free pasta.

    I just did a crock of turkey soup last weekend so am loving that right now, but I am definately making the minestrone. I used to love that as a child. :)

  3. Just a note that if you use homemade stock (beef or chicken), you'll definitely need to add salt and pepper to the soup. I always add at the end.

  4. ah, great point Lydia. I actually have "add salt to taste" in my notes and completely neglected to put it in the post. I'll fix it now, thank you!!

  5. Ooh, thank you so much for the recipe. Going on the menu list for later on in the week.

  6. I've found that when I make chicken-based soups (chicken noodle for instance) that I can make the broth more rich and flavorful by adding a touch of beef stock to the chicken stock.

  7. Anonymous11/08/2011

    Making this on Thursday!! Looks GREAT!! Thanks for sharing :)

  8. Josey S.11/09/2011

    Stephanie, I want to try this recipe and have about 10 lbs of 85/15 ground beef in the freezer. Is that too fatty for the crockpot? Or should I dig into my ground turkey stash instead? Love your recipes and your wit :)

  9. Josey, no, you can use that meat, just brown it beforehand on the stove and drain. enjoy!!

  10. I make something very similar to this except we either chop up italian sausage or use bulk to make tiny meatballs (just drop them in raw, though it adds fat to the soup) and I throw about 1/2 a head of chopped green cabbage in. I'm not a cabbage lover, but that's actually the best part of this soup!

  11. Just started slow cooking and picked up your book (the yellow/1st one I think). Love that it's gluten free and particularly love the "verdict" section. I'm wondering if shape matters, I purchased a Breville slow cooker and it's rectangular/sauce and ingredients spread out more. Just curious.

  12. Hi Lauren,
    I haven't used that particular pot, but I don't think the shape should matter. The timing is for the size of the pot. The newer pots heat from the bottom and sides of the heating element to ensure even cooking.

    I'd stick to "easy" dishes until you get a feel of your particular pot, then you'll know if it tends to cook at the top of bottom of the time frame.

  13. Kaitlyn11/15/2011

    I think I will try this today using morningstar ground meat :)

  14. I have been using your recipes from my smart phone up until now when I looked for a print button to click. Could not find it except for the red and white plus box that I clicked and it had a print option on there. I clicked on it to print and it printed out EVERYTHING!!! All the ads, pictures, comments to a total of about 10 pages! Can you tell me is there an easier way to print this recipe? If not, I can always email it to myself then print it out there but it just seems to me there should be a "print" button that will allow you to print the recipe only. Thanks for your help and your great recipes!

  15. ugh. I am SO sorry. I've been looking into a print-friendly version for quite a while, but it looks like in the free blogger software I'd need to retype everything and then insert a "print friendly" link, and that just isn't possible time-wise right now.

    I'm hoping to figure out a fix soon, but in the meantime your email way is good, or highlighting the desired text and using the "print selection" feature on your print menu.

    I'm so sorry for the waste of paper and ink---I hate that.

  16. ack! I found it!!!
    okay, I will have my webdesigner insert this, but until she does (few days, max) you can copy and paste the url into this print friendly site and it'll do it for you.

    long live the internet! there's an answer for everything! :-)

  17. Great!Thanks!I love it!

  18. This was really good -- I added a can of drained beans and used onion powder because it turned out I was out of onions when I went to make it. I was surprised that it still had so much flavor!

  19. Actually, you can add noodles to the soup before freezing and not have them come out all mushy. I do it all the time. I make sure my soup is pretty "brothy". I then cook the noodles in the broth(usually drain broth and cook on stove top. I've not had good luck doing noodles in the crock- despite trying as suggested here on the site!). Stop cooking the noodles BEFORE they are done. you want them "PRE- al dente" if that makes sense. not raw, not barely cooked, but not done all the way to al dente either. undercooked some.
    Add broth/noodles back to soup, divy up into serving sizes you want, allow to cool then freeze. I put mine into indi size ziplock containers or into vacu-seal freezer bags. those are great because you can lay them flat in the freezer and is space saving. allow to defrost in fridge overnight, reheat and enjoy!

  20. Hi! I made this recipe before Christmas and it was fabulous. I added a can of tomato soup(I usually do in my Veg Soup) Th soup got better each day...and we had enough for 3 +different meals which was great w how hectic things are before Christmas...good luck w the diet...My tip for the new year...(Stop looking at all those good dessert recipes)...I gained 5 lbs over Dec...time for me to start exercising and stop eating so much...Jennifer

  21. I just added everything to the crockpot and it smells AMAZING! Thank you for this quick and easy recipe for this beginning of Fall day. Perfect! Can not wait to try it!

  22. Hi. Wondering about the pasta addition. Can I add it more like an hour to 1:15 before it's done and keep it on low? I'll be out of the house for that last hourish, so that's what I'll be attempting later today... :)

  23. Hi Alisa, that sounds about right!