Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup with Italian Sausage and Pesto

I always thought Minestrone soup was kind of boring, but then I added Italian sausage. And a spoonful of pesto. And topped it with parmesan. This soup is PACKED and I love it! Classic minestrone flavors, but enhanced. And tons of veggies so you feel like you're on top of your life. Did I mention you can make it in the slow cooker?
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 0

Ingredients

Yield: 8-10
  • 16 ounces mild Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 cups celery, chopped
  • 1 and 1/2 cups carrots, chopped
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 (15 ounce) can Italian style diced tomatoes*
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup yellow squash, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry ditalini pasta**
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • basil pesto, to garnish
  • grated parmesan cheese, to garnish

Instructions

  1.  In a large soup pot, brown the Italian sausage over medium to medium-high heat. Drain the fat.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic.
  3. Add the tomato paste, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, and dried oregano.
  4. Saute for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the can of Italian tomatoes and chicken broth. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30-45 minutes, until all the carrots are tender.
  7. Add both cans of beans, the zucchini, yellow squash, and dry pasta. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  8. Simmer another 10 minutes, until the pasta is cooked.
  9. At this point, you can add another cup or two of chicken broth, if you feel like it's not "soupy" enough.
  10. Turn off the heat and stir in the baby spinach. I like to roughly chop mine so it's easier to eat, but you don't have to!
  11. Wait about 5 minutes for the spinach to wilt, and then it's ready to serve. Season with salt and pepper. (I actually didn't add any! Sign of a killer soup, right?)
  12. Garnish each bowl with a teaspoon of pesto and a few grates of Parmesan cheese.

Slow cooker Instructions:




  1. Follow the instructions through step 4. Pour everything into the slow cooker, then add the tomatoes and chicken broth.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours.
  3. Stir in the beans, zucchini, yellow squash, and pasta. Cover and turn the heat to high. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, until the pasta is al dente.
  4. Turn off the slow cooker. Stir in the spinach and cover another 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Garnish each bowl with a teaspoon of pesto and a few grates of Parmesan cheese.

Notes

*If you can't find Italian diced tomatoes, regular tomatoes will work fine!

**sometimes called macaroni salad pasta. Any type of short pasta will work fine!




This is another gem of a recipe from my Aunt Shirley. Woman knows her way around the kitchen!

Nutrition Information:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0 Total Fat: 0g Saturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 0mg Fiber: 0g Sugar: 0g Protein: 0g