Anyone who knows me well knows that I love to make healthy soups and casseroles that I can “brown bag” to work during the week. This week I made a big batch of hearty, bean-and-veggie-laden minestrone in the slow-cooker. It’s Saturday, and I’m still having minestrone for lunch each day.
Here’s my take on slow-cooker minestrone. Note: I use dried beans (I don’t bother to soak them), but you could substitute canned beans and cook on the stovetop. If you use canned beans, rinse them to eliminate some of the salt and toss them in the stew pot.
Step One: Rinse about 6 ounces of dried cannellini beans and about 6 ounces of dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas). Make sure to “sort” through the beans to remove any rocks or debris. I rarely find anything, but it’s wise to double-check. Don’t want to ruin a tooth. Add about 2 quarts of water.
I also washed and sliced a zucchini, a medium-sized onion, two leeks that I had on hand and threw in some frozen green beans (about 1 cup). I also have a bunch of late season roma tomatoes that I rescued green before the first big freeze of the season, so I diced those and threw them in the pot, as well.
I decided I wanted more veggies, so I grated and sliced about three carrots, a very small green bell pepper that I found on the vine, and threw in about one cup of frozen chopped turnip greens (in lieu of spinach).
Step Two: To add seasoning in addition to the bacon, I poured in about 2 cups of chicken broth (I used organic, low-sodium). And a handful of chopped rosemary and oregano (from my backyard herb garden) and the last bit of basil I could find.
I made sure the slow-cooker was set to low and left for work.
Step Three: Arrive home to the glorious aroma of rosemary, oregano and minestrone wafting through the house.
Step Four: Sprinkle a bit of shredded Italian cheese on top and enjoy dinner.
While the bacon was cooking, I did a quick search to see if anyone else had tried turnip greens and found this delicious-sounding vegan version of minestrone.
Note to self: No need to make enough to serve an extended Italian family. It’s delicious, but I’m beginning to want something different for lunch.
Making Squash Casserole (you can use frozen yellow squash to whip up this great, comforting side dish)