This vegetarian slow cooker minestrone is made with tomatoes, white kidney beans, orzo, and plenty of vegetables for a delicious soup that’s sure to satisfy!
Everyone loves a good set-it-and-forget-it slow cooker recipe. It’s so wonderful to finish the day and have dinner just about ready for you.
That’s why I love this slow cooker minestrone! It’s vegetarian and oh-so satisfying. Just throw it in the pot in the morning and by dinner, you’ll have amazing scents of thyme and sage wafting through your home.
How wonderful does that sound?
Before you eat, all you’ll have to do is add the orzo, zucchini, and spinach to cook for a final 30 minutes. The result is a big bowl of hearty comfort you’ll want to make again and again!
How to make slow cooker minestrone
The beauty of this recipe is that the slow cooker will do most of the work for you. All you need to do is combine the ingredients and cook the orzo!
Step 1: Combine the stock, tomatoes (with their liquid), beans, carrots, celery, onion, thyme, sage, bay leaves, and pepper in the slow cooker.
Step 2: Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.
Step 3: When the time is almost up, cook the orzo according to the directions on the package.
Step 4: Once the orzo is ready, add it to the slow cooker along with the chopped zucchini and spinach. Continue cooking for another 30 minutes.
Step 5: Remove the bay leaves, ladle into serving bowls, and sprinkle with cheese and basil if desired.
This dish is so easy and so delicious, it may become your new weekly staple!
Variations for this recipe
There are a few different ways to make this minestrone based on your preferences.
First, this recipe makes a VERY thick minestrone. If you prefer your soup to be a little thinner, cut back on the amount of orzo or add a bit more stock.
You’re also welcome to substitute the orzo if you don’t have any on hand. Any small grain will do, preferably whole-grain.
You can also mix it up with other types of beans, vegetables, or greens. I’ve used fresh October beans that were wonderful. Turnip greens and Swiss chard also make great substitutes for the spinach.
Want to reduce the carbs? Skip or reduce the amount of orzo. To keep your soup thick, cut back on the amount of stock as well.
To make this recipe vegan, simply leave out the cheese.
And if you’re gluten-free, you can either omit the orzo or replace it with a small gluten-free pasta instead.
Feel free to customize this minestrone to your liking!
I love making a big batch of this minestrone to enjoy all week. It’s just as good reheated as it is fresh!
Leftovers can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Other vegetarian soup or stew recipes
A hearty soup or stew doesn’t need to be packed with meat. In fact, vegetarian recipes are some of my favorite ways to indulge in healthy comfort food! If you’re looking for more recipes that skip the meat but not the flavor, here are a few of my favorites:
When you’ve tried this soup, please don’t forget to let me know how you liked it and rate the recipe in the comments below!
- 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock (preferably reduced sodium)
- 28 ounces (2 cans) whole peeled tomatoes (chopped)
- 15 ounces white kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
- 2 carrots (peeled and chopped)
- 1 stalk celery (chopped)
- 1 cup onion (chopped)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried sage
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups cooked whole-wheat orzo (about 2/3 cup dry)
- 1 zucchini (sliced in quarters lengthwise, then chopped)
- 2 cups fresh spinach (stems removed and coarsely chopped)
- 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (optional)
- Basil sprigs for garnish (optional)
- Combine the stock, tomatoes (with their liquid), beans, carrots, celery, onion, thyme, sage, bay leaves, and pepper in the slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.
- When the time is almost up, cook the orzo according to the directions on the package.
- Once the orzo is ready, add it to the slow cooker along with the chopped zucchini and spinach. Continue cooking for another 30 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaves, ladle into serving bowls, and sprinkle with cheese and basil if desired.