crockpot minestrone

Happy 2013, everybody! To ring in the new year right, I made you… soup. I know, I know, totallyyy boring and probably not what you were expecting, but hear me out! I have been super busy with all my college stuff, and after I came back from transfer camp {which was, uh, mostly outside. in january.} I had the worst cold of my life! I’m talking croaky voice and sore throat and a nose that would not stop sniffling. So I did what any smart person would do and made myself some purely comforting soup! My family isn’t big on soup, but we have always eaten minestrone. So that’s what I set out to make! I also got a Crockpot for Christmas, so I wanted to take advantage of it. 

The results were seriously so much better than I anticipated! Eating minestrone your whole life does not mean you know how to make it. So I kinda just made it up as I went, remembering bits and pieces of things my mom had said. This is the easiest soup ever! And it tastes delicious. AND, more importantly, it’s so good for you. I don’t have a very precise recipe, only because the beauty of minestrone is you put what you like in it. You get the best flavor with the biggest variety of vegetables, not to mention the most health benefits! The real trick though, is finishing it off with a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and plenty of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. That’s what makes it really delicious! Feel free to add in some small pasta, rice, quinoa, couscous, or whatever you wish to make it heartier. This soup is perfect both for you New Year’s healthy resolution-ers and you poor sick followers with colds. Enjoy! And feel better! :)

Crockpot Minestrone
Adapted from a family recipe
Yields: about 4 servings

1 potato
1 sweet potato
1 cup frozen peas
2 carrots
2-3 stalks of celery
1 cup frozen turnip greens {with diced turnips, if you wish}
1/2 cup beet greens
1/2 onion
1 cup green beans
1 zucchini
any other vegetables you wish, including spinach, kale, tomatoes, yellow squash, white beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc.
vegetables I do not recommend: peppers, mushrooms, black beans, red beets

Peel and largely dice your potatoes. Wash and slice the celery and carrots {you don’t have to peel the carrots if you don’t want to!}. Chop or dice the onion. Chop the all the greens! Dice the zucchini. Add everything to a Crockpot that is 4 quarts or larger, as you don’t want your vegetables to fill it much more than 2/3rds. Salt generously, add pepper if you wish, and add water until your vegetables are 2/3rds of the way covered. Place the lid on the Crockpot, and cook on high for 5-6 hours, until the potatoes are tender. Cook pasta, rice, etc. separately. When ready to serve, ladle desired amount of soup and pasta in your bowl, and top with lots of extra virgin olive oil and fresh Parmesan cheese! 
Note: This soup is also delicious when blended until smooth and velvety, although I don’t find it to be as filling!



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