A hearty and nourishing vegan slow cooker minestrone soup filled with protein-rich legumes, a grain-free chickpea pasta, and fresh herbs. It’s the perfect soup to have on hand for the busy holiday week ahead or any week this winter!
Happy Christmas Week! And to those of you who don’t celebrate Christmas, I hope you are enjoying the festive holiday season !
While last week’s post was for my meatball loving readers, this week I’m keeping things 100-percent plant based for all my vegetarian and vegan friends. Slash those of you who also appreciate a vegetable-packed meal, which is all of you right?
I love soup no matter what time of year it is but especially during the cooler winter months. We’ve been getting so.much.rain in the San Francisco Bay Area (much needed, too) and all I want to do is make a big batch of soup and cozy up under a blanket watching romcoms.
I make a lot of soups in our Vitamix, but the slow cooker is also a great tool for soup making because you can fix it and forget about it until it’s time to eat. A.K.A. my favorite style of cooking.
And I know you all are also big fans of the slow cooker because when I asked you for what kind of recipes you wanted to see, about a million of you requested crockpot recipes. OK so maybe it was like five of you (I’m still new here you guys), BUT I’m thrilled to oblige any and all requests from my lovely and loyal readers.
So here were are with this delicious and nourishing vegan slow cooker minestrone soup!
Minestrone has long been one of my favorite soups yet I had never tried making it myself until I started developing this recipe. The reason is probably because my husband has a vendetta against beans. Not all legumes mind you—he will crush a plate of hummus and go back for seconds of green beans but when it comes to all other beans, he’s all HELL TO THE NO with a hair flip.
OK so there’s no hair flip, but if there are beans involved, he’s not having it.
As much I support and wholeheartedly endorse customizing your recipes, minestrone soup without the beans or pasta isn’t technically minestrone soup at all, rather it’s vegetable soup.
So what’s a girl to do?
(DON’T) SPILL THE BEANS
To make sure my husband could also enjoy this giant slow cooker pot of soup, I had to get creative and a little bit sneaky.
Hence why the recipe directions call for pureeing the cannellini beans with a cup of vegetable stock prior to adding them to the slow cooker.
My husband was all: “There’s no beans in this soup, right?”
Me: “Nope. No beans—see?”
Hook. Line. Sinker.
OK so it’s not like I was trying to trick him so much as see if he could detect them if I pureed them and the answer is no.
If you have a bean hater at your table, this is a sure fire way to sneak the legumes into the soup without anyone being the wiser. And I’m not saying you have to puree all the beans—just the cannellini ones, trust me on this one.
Because even if you do like legumes, pureeing the cannellini beans will make the soup taste really rich and creamy without any added cream or dairy.
It’s a win win.
Seriously, when I served him a cup of this soup he had NO idea there were beans secretly pureed into the broth. Granted the secret’s out now but whatevs. He already gave it his seal of approval so, T if you’re reading this—no take backs!
As for the red kidney beans, they are best left whole in my opinion so to get around this part, I simply served them alongside the soup so that I could add them to mine and he didn’t have to pick them out (i.e. I didn’t have to listen to him complain about the beans).
It’s a great solution for all the picky eaters in your life.
The same goes for the pasta. While the rotini I used in this recipe is actually grain- and wheat-free Banza chickpea pasta, some of you may wish to cut the carbs down and omit the pasta altogether. Totally fine! Or again, simply offer it on the side.
I’m all about those options so you can customize these recipes to fit your needs to a T.
What else could you change?
You could swap out the parsnips for regular potatoes or sweet potatoes. You could add whole wheat pasta or rice noodles. You could add quinoa or rice, peas or corn, more carrots, more tomatoes—go crazy!
Since this soup is on the lighter side, it makes a great lunch or even a snack. Heck, you could even a bowl of it for breakfast. No really, you could. We are all so accustomed to eating sugary cereals and sweet breakfasts in the U.S. but elsewhere in the world a bowl of nutrient-rich soup would be the norm at breakfast.
Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
Personally, I prefer eating this soup with a drizzle of olive oil and a slice of avo toast.
Let’s get to it, friends!
Vegan Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup
gluten free, vegan, paleo option, dairy free, wheat free, grain free
Servings: 6-8 cups; 4-6 bowls | Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 6-8 hours via slow cooker*
2 containers (8 cups) organic vegetable broth (reserve 1 cup)
1 cup diced onions, 1/2 cup diced celery, 1/2 cup diced carrot (or use a pre-cut mirepoix blend like the one available at Trader Joe’s!)
1 can organic diced tomatoes
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups green beans
3 cups organic lacinato/dino kale or spinach
1-2 cups Banza chickpea rotini pasta (cooked al dente**)
1 cup red kidney beans
1-2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried parsley
2-3 garlic cloves pressed
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
- Add 1 tsp olive oil to a small skillet pan and sauté mirepoix (carrots, onions, celery) with garlic until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Transfer to crock pot.
- Using a high-speed blender, puree 1 cup vegetable stock with the can of cannellini beans until creamy and well blended.
- Add all other ingredients EXCEPT cooked Banza pasta, red kidney beans, and kale to slow cooker. Set slow cooker to low for 6-8 hours or until parsnips are tender. Remove bay leaves and rosemary sprig. Turn slow cooker to warm and add Banza chickpea rotini pasta and red kidney beans.
- Enjoy, friends!
*If you don’t have a slow cooker, this soup can be made in a stoneware type pot like a Le Creuset keeping the stove on it’s lowest setting. However unless you have a ceramic cooktop (i.e. not gas or electric), I don’t know that I’d leave it unattended! Just my two cents.
**You can also add the pasta directly to the slow cooker for the final 30 minutes and it will cook while it simmers/stays warm.
**To make this recipe paleo, simply omit the legumes and the pasta. Instead you can add more vegetables such as diced zucchini and yellow squash near the end of the cooking process.
Hope you all enjoy this soup!
It makes a TON and freezes really well, which is exactly what we could all use more of right? Easy to prepare, easy to store healthy recipes. You’re welcome.
In fact, it may be what we eat when we return from our travels to the East Coast for the Christmas holiday. Nothing better than a warm bowl of homemade soup after a cross country flight and travel day.
Wishing you all a joy filled week ahead, happy (and healthy!) holidays and hope you get to spend time with your beloved family and friends—no matter what holiday you celebrate. We are currently in Atlanta headed to my parent’s home in the Asheville/Marietta area of SC/NC. It’s such a cozy mountain home and we can’t wait to cozy up in front of the fireplace.
Follow along via Snapchat — my snap name is honstlynourishd. See you there!
Oh and I have ONE more delicious healthy cookie recipe for you so stay tuned for that this Friday—baking cookies sounds like the perfect way to spend the holiday afternoon to me. 😉
Banza provided us with boxes of the chickpea pasta to sample. All opinions are our own.