Hands-down, there’s nothing I enjoy more in the fall than simple, delicious piping hot comfort foods like soups and stews, My all-time favorite soup is Minestrone. It’s guaranteed to warm up my taste-buds, body and soul on a cold day and it’s a treat my entire family enjoys. When the smell the rich Italian spices and fresh vegetables simmering, it’s like a beacon calling them to the kitchen.
Minestrone, in it’s basic sense, is an Italian vegetable soup, prepared in various styles depending upon the region or even country interpreting this dish. I’ve tasted Minestrone Soup prepared many ways, some with very surprising elements like a German style minestrone I sampled that was more like a tomato soup which incorporated a variety of vegetables, spaghetti noodles, parsley and three types of beans (kidney, white and garbanzo.)
The recipe I share with you today is one that I’ve adapted over the years to include the things I love best in a minestrone soup including fresh vegetables from my garden. My secret for creating a well infused blend of flavors and soft, tender veggies without having to slave over the stove all day is to go hand-free and let my slow cooker do the work. It’s so easy to prep and make this rich & hearty slow cooker Minestrone soup and create the perfect warm up for a brisk fall day!
Rich & Hearty Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup
zucchiniquartered and sliced thin
carrots sliced thin
red bell pepperseeded and chopped
In a 6 quart slow cooker, add tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, red bell pepper, and kidney beans. Sprinkle spices over the vegetables and beans. Pour in chicken broth. Gently stir with a spoon to fully mix.
Cover the slower cooker and cook on low for six hours.
When the six hour setting on the slow cooker is nearly complete, using traditional methods (according to manufacturer's directions) cook your pasta shells, drain and set aside.
When the minestrone has cooked for the full six hours in the slow cooker, remove the lid (according to manufacturer's instructions) and stir in the pasta shells. Recover the slow cooker and allow the soup to sit for ten minutes. This will ensure the pasta shells are heated and fully incorporated into the soup.
Ladle soup into bowls and enjoy! Optionally, serve with grated Parmesan cheese and garlic bread or rolls.