First off, don’t be scared by the long list of ingredients in this recipe. Much of it is dried herbs that you likely have on hand and basic pantry items like canned beans and tomatoes. Second, the easy prep (see the directions) make up for the lengthy list of ingredients. Plus much of it is vegetables so you’ve got to feel great about making this one (not to mention how low in fat it is). This is one of those throw it in the slow cooker and go recipes, which I love. What Mom or anyone in the world who works doesn’t love a good slow cooker recipe?
I know I’ve probably posted far too many Olive Garden copycat recipes but I love their soups (minus that (what I’m guessing is) canned chicken in their Chicken Gnocchi Soup). We were there last week and of course I ordered the Minestrone, which is probably my favorite out of the 5 soups or whatever it is they have. It reminded me I wanted to make a copycat recipe. So, here it is and I’m excited to say it tastes just like theirs, and even better, it’s made in the slow cooker. Whether or not you like Olive Garden, you’ll want to try this soup. My husband was so hesitant, he thought anything with this many vegetables could never be good, but he loved it. And me, yeah I had like 3 bowls of it, but how could I feel that bad about it? The more veggies the better right :)? Enjoy!
Oh and if you’d like to try out the other Olive Garden copycat recipes I’ve posted here they are (just click on the name and it will take you to the link):
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
- 2 cups water
- 2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
- 1 cup diced celery (3 stalks)
- 1 cup diced carrots (2 carrots)
- 1 cup diced yellow onion (1 small)
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (or 2 tsp dried)
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 3/4 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 1/3 cups diced zucchini (1 small)
- 1 1/3 cups shell pasta
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 oz) can white navy beans or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (14.5 oz) can Italian green beans, drained
- 2 cups packed chopped fresh spinach
- Finely shredded Romano cheese, for serving (Parmesan works too)
- Add vegetable stock, water, tomatoes, celery, carrots, onion, parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and sugar to a 6 or 7-quart slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook on low heat 6 - 8 hours or high 3 - 4 hours.
- Add in zucchini, pasta, garlic, kidney beans and white beans and cook on high heat and additional 30 - 40 minutes until pasta is tender. Stir in spinach and Italian green beans and cook several minutes until heated through. Stir in more vegetable broth or water to thin if desired. Serve warm topped with Romano cheese.
- Recipe Source: Cooking Classy
This can also be made on the stove top - heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat, add carrots, celery and onions and saute 4 minutes adding in garlic during last minute of sauting. Pour in broth, water and canned tomatoes. Add herbs, sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, cover and and reduce heat slightly, allow to gently boil 10 minutes, then add zucchini and pasta, cover and gently boil 15 minutes longer, or until pasta is tender. Then add canned beans (green and legumes) and spinach and cook 2 - 3 more minutes.