Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup is the perfect easy comforting homemade meal on a cold winter day. Best of all, this set and forget crock-pot recipe is simple to customize, hearty & full of fresh vegetables and beans. Now includes stovetop instructions plus recipe video!
This instant pot minestrone soup and slow cooker minestrone soup are both a family favorite. And the best part?
You don’t even need to turn on the stove! (Although I’ve also included stovetop instructions for those that do not have a slow cooker)
One of my favorite soups ever is the minestrone soup from The Olive Garden. Now that we have two little ones, it’s been forever since we’ve been to The Olive Garden.
But you know what? I think this homemade version is even better than I remember. And it’s even better for you.
I love making it in my slow cooker on those busy weeknights.
It’s a super easy set and forget meal with just a bunch of tasty ingredients you toss into the slow cooker. Let the slow cooker do it’s thing and a few hours later, they come out in the form of a soup. Don’t you just love lunches and dinners like that? As a busy mom of two, I am a big fan of those kinda meals.
Plus, this easy dump and go recipe is hearty, filling and always hits the spot on a chilly winter day.
It’s absolutely perfect for those days/nights when you have a bazillion things to get done. I love how awesome it is that the crock pot gets to take on most of the dinner responsibilities for the evening.
It’s loaded with tons of healthy veggies like carrots, celery, green beans, zucchini and baby spinach. It’s also loaded with protein like kidney and cannellini beans to keep you full for hours.
The best part about any soup is that you can easily customize the veggies with what you like or have on hand – so feel free to change things up.
I used small pasta shells to bulk things up even more.
The secret to keep the pasta not soggy is by adding it 30 minutes before you’re going to serve the soup and cook on HIGH.
If you plan on freezing this soup, I would leave out the pasta and cook it separately on the stove whenever you’re planning to serve it. That way, the pasta doesn’t end up getting soggy.
Make ahead tips for this Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup
- Chop the veggies the day before and store in an airtight container or zip-top bags in the fridge
- If using dried beans instead of canned, cook and drain ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the fridge
- Leave out the pasta if freezing this and only add the pasta if you plan on enjoying this on the same day
It’s a sure way to keep you warm and cozy which is perfect if you are feeling under the weather.
Serve it with some crusty bread, a sprinkle of Parmesan and just grab a spoon!
Homemade Minestrone Soup + SLOW COOKER Plus STOVETOP + VIDEO
- 2 medium carrots about 1 cup, chopped
- 2 celery stalks about 1 cup, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 medium onion about 1 cup, diced
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 32-ounce can diced tomatoes I usually use fire-roasted or Italian-style
- 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 bay leaves
- 32 ounce carton (4 cups) low sodium vegetable broth
- 1-2 cups water only use as much as needed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 medium zucchinis around 1 1/2 cups, sliced into halves or quarters
- 1/2 cup canned or cooked red kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup canned or cooked cannellini beans or great northern beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup small shell dried pasta** use gluten free if necessary or leave out and add chopped potatoes or cauliflower instead**(see note about freezing)
- 1-2 cups fresh baby spinach chopped (optional)
- 1-2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar optional but adds great flavor
- shredded or grated Parmesan cheese for serving
- fresh parsley finely chopped, for garnish (optional)
FOR THE SLOW COOKER VERSION:
In a large 6 quart slow cooker, add carrots, celery, garlic, onions, basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, diced tomatoes, tomato paste and bay leaves. Stir in vegetable broth and water (use less if you like it less watery) into the slow cooker and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with lid and cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours or LOW for 5-6 hours (time varies according to your slow cooker - adjust times as needed)
- 20-30 minutes before serving, stir in kidney beans, cannellini beans, zucchini and pasta and cook on HIGH until pasta is tender.**(SEE NOTE below on freezing)
- Stir in spinach and season with more salt and pepper as needed and stir in balsamic vinegar (if using) and serve warm with bread and top with parmesan cheese and garnish with parsley if desired.
- ***NOTE about pasta - **If you plan to freeze this or serve the next day, leave out the pasta and cook on the side and then combine when you are ready to enjoy. This helps the pasta not get soggy.
FOR THE STOVETOP VERSION:
- In a large heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat.
- Add carrots, onion, celery, garlic, and onion and saute for about 4 minutes, or until vegetables are slightly softened.
- Add basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme and cook for an additional 1 minute. Add the tomato paste, bay leaves, vegetable broth, water, zucchini and both of the beans.
- Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes.
** Stir in the pasta and cook for another 10 minutes, or until pasta is cooked. Stir in the spinach and allow to wilt (about 1-2 minutes). Add more water as needed if you like a thinner soup. (***you can also cook the pasta directly with the soup but this soaks up more water so you may have to add more water. Just add the pasta after simmering for 20 minutes, then bring to a boil and allow to cook for another 8-10 minutes or until pasta is tender)
- Season with more salt and pepper as needed and stir in balsamic vinegar (if using) and serve warm with bread and top with Parmesan cheese and garnish with parsley if desired.
NOTE about pasta - **If you plan to freeze this or serve the next day, leave out the pasta and cook on the side and then combine when you are ready to enjoy. This helps the pasta not get soggy. Save