My grandmother always had a pot of minestrone soup on the stove. Like most of what my grandmother cooked, there was no recipe, just a little of this and some of that—and it was always delicious. I still make this long-cooking, full-flavoured vegetable soup, only I use a slow cooker to get that rich flavour. Variations could include fresh or grilled corn
during the summer, or perhaps a diced potato in fall and winter.
Note that the number of vegetables listed here will fill a 4-quart cooker to
within 2 inches of the top and will fill a 6-quart cooker a little over halfway. If
using a 6-quart cooker, you can add extra vegetables and another cup of broth to
make more servings. Use gluten-free pasta to make this gluten-free.
SLOW COOKER SIZE: 4- TO 6-QUART
COOK TIME: 6 TO 7 HOURS ON LOW PLUS 30 TO 45 MINUTES ON HIGH
1 large yellow onion, minced
2 carrots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chopped celery
1½ cups cooked chickpeas ([>]) or 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 small zucchini, diced
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with their juices
4 cups vegetable broth
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried marjoram
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
⅓ cup uncooked stelline or other small soup pasta
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1. Combine the onion, carrots, and garlic in the slow cooker. Add the celery,
chickpeas, zucchini, tomatoes and their juices, and broth. Stir in the dried
basil, marjoram, bay leaf, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook on
Low for 6 to 7 hours.
2. Add the stelline to the slow cooker, cover, and cook on High until the pasta
is tender 30 to 45 minutes. Just before serving, stir in the parsley and fresh
basil. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Serve hot.