Now that the weather is getting warmer and the days longer, getting around to making dinner is getting tougher and tougher. The pull to stay outside, to be out and about is just so strong. So I have been making a lot of dinners that can either be cooked very quickly, 5-20 minutes, on the stove or in the pressure cooker (my latest toy), or I have made one-pot dishes that can be prepared in the slow cooker.
So this week I want to share a new favorite in our house, a minestrone that takes advantage of the spring vegetables that are abundant at this time of year. I love this recipe because it is so quick to throw together, can withstand extra time in the slow cooker if needed, is chock-full of vegetables, and tastes like spring. My kids love it because it is cheesy, colorful, has noodles, and they can pick and choose their favorite veggies as they make their way through their meal.
Give it a try! I think you’ll really enjoy it.
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 large can (28 oz) of diced tomatoes
- 2 (15 oz) cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- pepper to taste
- 8 oz noodles (small shells, elbows, etc.)
- ½ lb asparagus spears, stems removed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup of frozen peas
- 1 (6 oz) bag of baby spinach
- ⅓ cup grated or shredded Parmesan, plus more for topping
- Place the onion, garlic, celery, carrot, tomato, cannellini beans, stock, water, and basil into the slow cooker. Give it a good mix. Cook on low for anywhere from 4 to 7 hours.
- About 15 minutes before serving, add the noodles and asparagus and give it a good stir. Then, 5 minutes before serving, add the frozen peas and spinach. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Taste for seasonings and add more salt and pepper, if you need it. Serve immediately with additional cheese on top.
If you want to make this with whole wheat noodles, then add the noodles in 20 minutes before the time is up, rather than 15.