This nourishing Slow Cooker Autumn Minestrone Soup is a satisfying twist on a classic. Perfectly satisfying for lunch or dinner, it freezes well and is naturally vegetarian, dairy-free and gluten-free.
Oh my gosh you guys, I am so excited about this soup! It's so simple to make, super satisfying, and the leftovers make for the best lunches. It also uses one of my favorite fall ingredients: butternut squash.
How do you feel about butternut squash? Do you love it? Or do are you afraid of it? Or both? I know several of my friends love the taste of butternut squash but they are afraid to cut into one.
I say: don't fear the squash! With a sharp knife and a few minutes you can cut a squash easily.
HOW TO CUT A BUTTERNUT SQUASH
- First, peel the tough peel using a vegetable peeler or sharp knife.
- Next, slice one inch off the top and bottom of the squash.
- Then, slice the squash in half so that the top, thiner part is separated from the bottom, rounder part.
- Stand the thin part on its end and slice the long way into planks.
- Then slice each plank into 1-inch strips.
- Finally, cut those strips into small pieces.
- You can then remove the seeds from the bottom round part of the squash and chop into small pieces.
Of course, you can also buy pre-sliced butternut squash at many grocery stores these days, so that's an option too! Once you have the squash sliced it's only a matter of chopping an onion and some garlic, and then dumping a few other ingredients into the slow cooker.
After the soup cooks a few cups are removed, blended, and added back to the slow cooker to create a perfectly balanced soup that's both creamy and chunky. I actually used my immersion blender for this step and recommend this method if you own one since it's faster and less messy. This soup also freezes nicely, so you might want to check out these instructions on my favorite method for freezing soup in jars.
Kid-friendly notes. Here are some options for resistant eaters:
- If your child prefers a creamier texture serve him some of the pureed soup before adding the puree back to the slow cooker.
- If she resists eating anything with green in it, ladle out her serving prior to adding the spinach or swiss chard.
- Soup can be a bit difficult and messy to eat for little ones. Try serving the soup in a mug so he can sip the broth and then eat the larger pieces with a fork.
Now, on to the recipe!
This recipe is: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Nut-Free, Freezer-Friendly
Slow Cooker Autumn Minestrone Soup
1 large butternut squash, chopped into 1-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-oz can chickpeas
1 15-oz Great Northern or other white beans
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
1 32-oz box vegetable stock (chicken stock will also work)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 bunch swiss chard or 1 4-oz box baby spinach
Freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)
1. Place the butternut squash, onion, garlic, chickpeas, white beans, tomatoes, stock, salt, and Italian seasoning in a 6-quart slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 hours or until the soup is bubbling and the squash is cooked through.
2. Carefully ladle 4 cups of the soup (broth, veggies, and beans) into a blender and blend until smooth. Add the blended mixture back to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Alternatively, use an immersion blender to blend the soup for just a few seconds (you want a creamy consistency, but with plenty of beans and veggies left unblended).
3. Add the swiss chard or spinach to the slow cooker and stir to combine.
4. Ladle the hot soup into bowls and sprinkle with parmesan cheese (if using).
Makes 6-8 servings
Making this recipe? Let me know what you think and any adaptations you make in the comments. I really love hearing from you!
To follow along with Real Food Whole Life and for healthy recipes, meal plans, and tips straight to your inbox, subscribe here.