Slow Cooker Hamburger Minestrone
This Slow Cooker Hamburger Minestrone is loaded with fresh vegetables, ground beef, and pasta. This hearty, comforting soup is a meal in itself. Slice a loaf of crusty bread, pour a glass of wine, and dinner is served!
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef I use 90% lean
- ½ teaspoon salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 cup diced sweet yellow onion
- 1 cup peeled and chopped carrot
- 1 cup chopped zucchini
- 2 ribs celery chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 28 ounce can crushed Italian seasoned tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 15 ounces canned cannellini beans rinsed and drained
- 15 ounces canned kidney beans rinsed and drained
- 1 cup ditalini pasta uncooked
- ½ cup grated Parmesan plus additional, for garnish
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over MEDIUM heat. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring to break it up. Season with salt and pepper and cook until no longer pink. Drain off as much of the grease as possible and transfer the cooked beef to the slow cooker. Add the onion, carrot, zucchini, celery, garlic, beef broth, crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, thyme, and bay leaf to the slow cooker with the beef. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on LOW 5 to 7 hours or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.
After initial cooking time, add the beans, ditalini pasta (uncooked), and Parmesan. Cover and cook on HIGH for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until pasta is al-dente.
Garnish individual servings with additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.
To add even more nutrition, throw in a big handful of raw baby spinach at the end of the cooking time and stir to blend well. Allow to lightly wilt for just a couple of minutes and serve.
Transfer leftovers to an airtight container and refrigerate promptly. Leftover Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup should be consumed within 3 to 4 days.
Allow the frozen soup to thaw safely and completely in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat gently on the stove on in the microwave.
Soups that contain pasta will thicken a good amount upon resting. Add additional broth or water to thin to the desired consistency when reheating.
- Allow the soup to cool, then spoon it into freezer-safe plastic storage bags.
- Remove as much air as possible, seal the bags, and label them with the contents and date.
- Lay the bags flat in a single layer in your freezer until frozen solid. After frozen, they can be stacked to save space.
Calories: 293kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 651mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 5g