Making home cooked meals has never been so easy and effortless. With a slow cooker, just combine all of your ingredients, and it will do all the work for you. It doesn’t create mess on the stovetop, nor are you obliged to keep on checking every few minutes. In a saucepan, an Italian minestrone takes almost an hour of simmering that must be minded at all times. Using the slow cooker, you can just sit and relax while your meal is prepared.
A minestrone is an Italian soup made with a variety of diced vegetables in a clear broth. It sometimes has rice or pasta mixed in. The vegetables vary depending on the season, so toss in any veggies you find that are fresh at your grocery. Cooking it with a Parmigiano Reggiano cheese rind is common practice to give it more flavor. Never throw away those Parmesan rinds!
Yields: 6 servings | Serving Size: 1/6th of recipe | Calories: 240 | Previous Points: 5 | Points Plus: 6 | Total Fat: 14 g | Saturated Fat: 3 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Cholesterol: 7 mg | Sodium: 250 mg | Carbohydrates: 22 g | Dietary Fiber: 5 g | Sugars: 8 g | Protein: 8 g |
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 zucchini, sliced
- 1 large potato, peeled and cubed
- 2 cups fresh or frozen green beans
- 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
- 2 cups kale, coarsely chopped (or other green leafy vegetable like spinach or chard)
- 2 cups vegetable broth or water (add 1 additional cup for a thinner Minestrone)
- 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, with liquid
- 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup vegetable or tomato juice
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 fresh basil leaves, diced
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano or Parmesan
Add all ingredients to a slow cooker, except kale, basil, and parmesan. Cover and cook on low 5 to 6 hours or high 3 to 4 hours.
When the minestrone is cooked, add kale. Place lid back on slow cooker and allow the kale to wilt, approximately 5 minutes.
When ready to serve the minestrone, drizzle a little extra-virgin olive oil over the top of individual bowls. Sprinkle with fresh basil and Parmigiano Reggiano or Parmesan.
Optional: Add 1 cup whole wheat penne pasta 30 minutes before the end of cooking.