minestrone soup in a red slow cooker

This is a very nutritious and fairly low calorie minestrone that was adapted from the version on Cook’s Country.  It filled my  5.5 qt slow-cooker almost to the very top so be sure that yours is large enough.


  • 1 cup dried medium-sized white beans, rinsed and pre-cooked for 20 minutes* (see note below) They don’t need to be soaked overnight.
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (3 T to cook and 3 T added later)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups loosely packed basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach = leaves chopped
  • 1/2 cup tiny farfelle (or other small sized pasta)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated Parmesan to garnish


1.  Put beans and enough water to cover by one inch in a medium pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce to low and simmer, covered, until beans begin to soften (about 20 minutes). Drain beans and place in slow cooker.

2.  Heat 3 Tablespoons of the olive oil in a pot over medium heat.  Add the onions and carrots and saute’ until onions are softened – about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute’ for 30 seconds.  Add the tomatoes (AND juice) and cook until most of their liquid is absorbed (about 8-12 minutes).  Add the chicken stock and water.  Finally, add 1/2 cup of the basil (the rest will be added at the end of cooking). the oregano, and red pepper flakes. Stir and bring to a boil.

3.  Transfer all of the mixture to a slow-cooker and cook, covered, on low for 6-7 hours (or on high 5-6 hours).

4.  To finish, stir in the zucchini, chopped spinach, and pasta and cook on high for an additional 20- 30 minutes (until pasta is al dente).   Then add the remaining basil and remaining 3 Tablespoons of olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish bowls of soup with Parmesan and serve with a crusty bread and ceasar salad.

Here’s to healthy eating!

PS If you really like onions, the Cook’s version added an additional one.


Do you feel like you need to hit the REFRESH button on your life? Download our free guide and begin to create your best life yet!