This Crockpot Minestrone Soup is a family favourite.
I love coming home to a nourishing and warming meal after a long day. Packed with beans and vegetables this soup is a complete meal.
Why you’ll love this recipe
Minestrone soup is a staple on every Italian family table. However, I don’t think any two recipes would be the same.
The recipe I’m sharing with you is a combination of my dad’s minestrone and my mother-in-law’s soup plus the slow cooker part is mine. What’s great about using a crockpot to make anything is that the kitchen doesn’t heat up. So, in the middle of spring, I’m still making this crockpot minestrone soup because I love the convenience of have a meal ready when I get home. Plus, it still has all the flavours of nonno’s minestrone.
For complete ingredient quantities and full instructions, please scroll to the printable recipe card bottom of the page.
Generally I like to use a combination of dried peas, beans and lentils plus vegetables. Dried peas and lentils dissolve during long cooking resulting in a delicious, creamy texture in the soup. While the larger beans remain whole.
This Crockpot Minestrone Soup requires about 2 cups of mixed dried peas, beans and lentils.
I buy an Italian soup mix which contains a combination of:
- borlotti beans
- navy beans
- red kidney beans
- black eye peas
- yellow lentils
- red lentils
- green split peas
If you can’t buy a premixed variety choose your favourites. Be sure to choose a combination of lentils or split peas along with your choice of beans.
The night before, place the beans, chickpeas, lentils and split peas in a large saucepan and cover with tap cold water. In the morning, bring to the boil and boil continuously for 10 minutes, then drain and set aside for later.
- Fry onion, garlic and bacon.
- Scrape onion mixture into the crockpot (slow cooker).
- Pour a cup of water into the fry pan and scrape up the browned bits. Pour into crockpot.
- To the crockpot, add parboiled bean mix and remaining ingredients except pasta.
- Stir and cook on high for 7 hours.
- Stir in the pasta and cook for another hour.
Tips for success
- It’s simple to make a really tasty crockpot minestrone. Firstly, in a little oil fry the onion, garlic or any aromatic until just beginning to colour. In the case of this soup, also brown the bacon.
- Use any liquid to deglaze the frying pan and lift all the browned bits. This is where the flavour lies so don’t wash it down the sink! Tip the flavoured liquid into the slow cooker along with all the other ingredients.
- Use a good stock. For optimum results make your own slow cooker chicken stock. But there a lots of quality prepackaged stock available at the supermarket you can use.
- Don’t store dried beans for too long because they continue to dry out and aren’t quite as good.
Dried beans are not so hard to cook with. I recommend that you soak the beans overnight. Now you will find some people telling you that there is no need to soak dried beans. Maybe you can get away with this using very fresh dried beans. However, you can never tell the age of the beans you buy and how long they have been sitting on the shelf. It is better to err on the safe side and give the dried beans an overnight soak. Be sure to use plenty of water. You’ll be surprised at how much water they will adsorb.
It is recommended to boil beans for 10 minutes on high before adding to the slow cooker. This will ensure all the toxins are removed and the beans are safe to enjoy.
Yes! I like to use a 14oz/400g can of each – red kidney beans, chickpeas and white beans. Plus ½ cup of red lentils. In this case, preboiling is not necessary. Cooking time will be reduced to 4 hours.
Sure! Just add to the slow cooker and proceed with the recipe. Flavor won’t be as intense but will still be very good.
This recipe makes quite a lot of soup – 8 servings, actually! What I love is that anything in the slow cooker usually freezes very well and this minestrone soup is no exception. But if you are going to freeze leftovers, don’t add the pasta or it will swell and become mushy. In fact, it is just as good with or without the pasta.
This is a wonderful complete meal but still I love a slice of sourdough or chunk of Ligurian focaccia on the side. Enjoy my family’s Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup!
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Crockpot Minestrone Soup Recipe
- 1 ¾ cup dried beans see notes
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped or crushed
- 1 cup diced bacon
- 1 cup water
- 2 carrots peeled and diced
- 1 potato peeled and diced
- 2 celery sticks diced
- 1 zucchini diced
- 1 cup sweet potato diced
- 3 cups water extra
- 3 cups chicken stock
- ½ cup passata
- 2 bayleaves
- 1 parmesan rind
- black pepper freshly ground
- ½ cup dried pasta optional, see notes
- Place the beans into a large pot and cover generously with water. Soak overnight. The next day, bring to the boil and boil continuously for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside for use later.
- In a frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat.
- Fry the onion and garlic until translucent.
- Add the bacon. Cook until starting to brown.
- Scrape onion/bacon mixture into slow cooker bowl.
- Return pan to heat, add 1 cup water and stir to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
- Tip this water along with all the flavoursome browned bits into the slow cooker bowl.
- Add remaining ingredients (including the cooked beans) except for pasta.
- Cook on high for 8 hours
- About 1 hour before the soup is done, add the pasta and stir well. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Serve with a generous grating of Parmesan cheese
Dried beans – I buy an Italian soup mix which contains a combination of:
- red kidney
- black eye peas
- yellow lentils
- red lentils
- green split peas
Should dry beans be cooked in the slow cooker?It is best to boil the beans for 10 minutes on high before adding to the slow cooker. This will ensure all the toxins are removed and the beans are safe to enjoy. Alternatively use canned beans. I like to use a 14oz/400g can of each – red kidney beans, chickpeas and white beans. Plus ½ cup of red lentils. In this case, preboiling is not necessary. Cooking time will be reduced to 4 hours.
PastaAny small dried pasta will be fine. Don’t add the pasta if you are going to be freezing the soup because the pasta will swell and become mushy.
- Simply fry onion, garlic and bacon in a large saucepan.
- Add remaining ingredients (except pasta).
- Bring to the boil. Skim if necessary.
- Reduce heat and simmer gently, covered for 2-3 hours or until beans are tender and lentils and split peas have broken down.
- Add pasta in the last 10 minutes.