Crock-Pot, Hearty Minestrone Soup

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Look on the menu of most Italian restaurants and you’ll see this classic Italian soup. My recipe is so hearty and satisfying, it makes for a wonderful, soup meal. Each huge, 2 cup serving has only 223 calories, 2 grams of fat, and 3 Blue WW Freestyle SmartPoints, and 7 Green. So fiber-rich, each serving has 10 grams of fiber!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: LOW heat for 6 to 7 hours or HIGH heat for 3-3½ hours


Ingredients

2½ cups onion, diced

1 cup carrots, diced

1 cup celery, diced

1 tablespoon garlic cloves, minced

1 (32 oz) container reduced-sodium beef broth, chicken broth or vegetable broth

1 (24 oz) jar Barilla pasta sauce or your favorite. see shopping tips

1 (15 oz) can red kidney beans or white kidney beans, (cannellini) rinsed and drained

1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, drained

2 bay leaves

1½ teaspoons Italian seasonings

Fresh ground pepper, to taste

1 Parmesan cheese rind, see food facts below

2½ cups zucchini, diced

4 cups fresh spinach

2 cups cooked small whole wheat or whole grain pasta elbows (al dente) (1 cup uncooked pasta)

Parmesan cheese, grated for topping, optional


Instructions

1. In a microwave-safe bowl, add onions, carrots, and celery. Cook for 3 minutes to soften.

2. Add to crockpot, cooked onions, carrots, celery, garlic, broth, pasta sauce, beans, drained tomatoes, bay leaves, Italian seasonings, and pepper. Mix well. Drop-in Parmesan cheese rind. Cover and cook on LOW heat a total of 6 to 7 hours or cook on HIGH heat a total of  3-3½ hours. Time varies depending on your crock-pot. Mine cooked on high heat for 3 hours.

3. Note: One hour before the soup is done, add zucchini. Cover and cook on high heat for the last hour. Or, cooked chopped zucchini in microwave for 2-3 minutes and add to soup with cooked pasta and spinach and continue to cook 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves and parmesan rind. Adjust seasonings, if desired.

4. To serve: Add 2 cups of soup to each bowl and top with grated parmesan cheese, if desired.

5. This soup freezes great!

Makes 12 cups total. Each serving, 2 cups


Food Facts
Minestrone (“big soup”) is a thick vegetable soup that usually contains pasta and sometimes peas or beans. It’s usually topped generously with grated Parmesan cheese.

An old Italian secret is to add a Parmesan rind to the soup while cooking. It creates a wonderful flavor. Once cooked you remove it from the crock-pot.


Serving Tips
Serve with a side salad and some bread, if desired. It’s fun to serve this soup with my skinny Caesar salad on a stick. It creates a delicious, easy meal: Super Low Calorie Caesar Salad on a Stick


WW Freestyle SmartPoints
3-Blue
WW SmartPoints
7-Green
WW POINTS PLUS 5

SKINNY FACTS: for 1 serving (2 cups) (w/out cheese on top)
223 calories, 2g fat, 0g sat.fat, 0mg chol, 11g prot, 43g carbs, 10g fiber, 980mg sod, 11g sugar
FACTS: for Freestyle SmartPoints
92 calories, 0g sat. fat, 3g protein, 5g sugar

If you make this recipe, let me know how you liked it. Leave me a comment below or give it a rating. Thanks so much. Happy Skinny Cooking!