Recipe: Slow Cooker Minestrone

We may have had some unseasonably warm and sunny days in the past two weeks, but the days of cloudy skies and chilling rain storms that we all know and love here in Davis are just around the corner. We are also about to hit the ever-dreaded, end-of-the-quarter home stretch of nothing but papers, midterms and lab reports.

So, in order to help you with that, I present this minestrone soup recipe. Perfect for cold weather and easy enough to make with little time on your hands.

My mom recently bought me a slow cooker for my birthday, so I was beyond excited to try making soup for the first time. Minestrone is probably my favorite soup, and I adapted this recipe from Food Network’s Robin Miller, found here. Not only are the ingredients super cheap (I got everything at Safeway for under $25), but you can dump all of your leftovers in some Tupperware, stick it in the fridge and enjoy it all week!

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 3 hours
Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 red potatoes
¾ cup cannellini beans
¾ cup dark red kidney beans
3 cups chicken broth (or vegetable if you prefer)
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground pepper
2 (14.5 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
1 medium green zucchini
1 medium yellow zucchini
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
2 ½ cups short pasta of your choice (I used shells)
Shaved Parmesan cheese

Wash and chop carrots, celery, zucchini, onions and spinach (I like more “rustic” soups, so the chunkier the pieces, the better). Set aside.

Wash, peel and chop potatoes, set aside.

Measure out cannellini and kidney beans, empty into a strainer, run under cold water to wash and set aside.

Put broth, potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, tomatoes, beans, oregano, salt and pepper into slow cooker, set cooker to HIGH and let cook for 3 hours. I spent this waiting time watching “The Proposal,” but you can also use it for studying, playing a Wii tennis tournament with your roommates, etc.

After about 2 hours, boil 6 cups of water. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook on medium heat until it is al dente (it’ll cook fully once it’s in the slow cooker).

Add the cooked pasta, zucchini and spinach to the slow cooker, stir and let cook for another 40 minutes. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with Parmesan cheese and eat up!

Note: You might want to add more than 3 cups of broth if you want your minestrone to be “soupier”; mine was mostly vegetables, beans and pasta with some surprise chicken broth at the bottom. But still delicious!

KATIE MORRIS looks forward to bringing you tasty, easy recipes every week that work with the typical college student’s time and budget. Contact her at kemorris@ucdavis.edu.

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