If you don't care for as many beans in your minestrone, you can certainly cut back on them. I use a whole quart jar of my canned beans in my soup. Plus, because minestrone soup has no meat, the beans are an economical source of protein and make the soup more filling.
One word of caution: This recipe makes a really big batch of soup. I mean a really big batch. But the neat thing is, this soup freezes well, too. So go ahead and make it up, enjoy some and put the rest in the freezer. You'll be glad you did on a day where you just don't know what to make for dinner.
- 3 T olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 C chopped celery
- 2 C carrots, sliced
- 2 C chicken broth
- 1 C water
- 4 C tomato sauce
- 1/2 C red wine (optional)
- 4 C canned kidney, cannellini or great northern beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 C spinach, rough-chopped
- 2 C shredded zucchini
- 1 C diced red potatoes (optional) or the really little potatoes if you grew your own
- 2 t oregano
- 1 T basil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 C seashell (or other) pasta, cooked
- Shredded Parmesan cheese for topping
- In a large skillet over medium heat, saute onion, garlic, carrots and celery in olive oil until onion is translucent. Pour vegetables into crock pot.
- Add remaining ingredients except pasta. Cook in crock pot on medium heat 8-10 hours.
- Prior to serving, cook pasta. Drain and set aside.
- To serve, place 2 T cooked pasta into individual serving bowls. Ladle soup on top of pasta and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. If you'd like, go ahead and drizzle a little olive oil on top, too.