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.
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