I’ve been wanting to make minestrone soup for awhile now, actually. I eat the Campbells canned version on occasion, and while I enjoy it, it’s really salty and I figured homemade would be better. I’ve also been known to enjoy Olive Garden minestrone, so I figured that would be a good starting off point. And thus I found this imitator recipe to try.
Since I have a slow cooker that I try to use for as many things as possible, I decided to use the recipe more as a loose set of guidelines rather than following accurately. So, I started by gathering together all of my non-seasoning ingredients into the following pile.
I didn’t really use exact proportions, but to summarize, here’s the above ingredients in list form:
-Can o’ kidney beans
-Can o’ diced tomatoes
-olive oil (used a few dollops of it)
-a mix of pinto and northern white beans
-some leftover broth (which was still in the process of unfreezing when this photo was taken)
-cilantro (the recipe didn’t call for it, but I had it, so hey)
One of the reasons I deviated a bit from the recipe here is also because my slow cooker isn’t particularly large, and there were a great number of plants that needed to be shoved in there. So, when chopping up the vegetables I just used my best judgement as to how much to use, so proportions would be even and such.
And, for fabulous efficiency everything went straight into the same pot.
While the recipe called for basil and parsley, turned out I had neither. Luckily I’d added fresh cilantro earlier, and I also swapped in rosemary as well. They’re similar, right? Right?!?
So, I guesstimated when adding all of those in, and cranked up the slow cooker to go, setting it on high for 2 hours and 50 minutes.
The shells would come in near the end. The advantage of adding the shells in later (aside from the obvious “no ginormous squishy shells” benefit) is that any seasoning can be adjusted at that time, since the shells will still need to cook in there for another 30 minutes anyhow. This is especially important with salt, as I have a habit of putting in far less salt than I actually want due to trying to avoid putting in too much salt!
Anyhow, the resulting minestrone soup was pretty good. I’m glad for the variety of beans, and the seasonings seemed to work themselves out well. Also, while the soup cooked, it made the apartment smell like the inside of a Subway for some reason. Bonus? Next time I think smaller shells might work out better – I only had medium ones and went with that. I could also see the addition of potatoes to this being tasty as well.