Meet Alex Caspero
Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.
I’ve got a cozy dinner for you tonight. Slow cooker minestrone soup that’s packed with vegetables, beans, lentils and orzo pasta (my favorite soup pasta!)
I actually rarely make a recipe then quickly turn around and post it, but this one was so yummy that I wanted to get it up for you so you could make it this week. In fact, I made both this soup (to freeze) and a lasagna for a dinner party on Saturday night and BL loved this soup so much that he heated himself up a bowl the moment everyone left. Soup 1, my new lasagna recipe, 0.
There’s a little more effort here than just ‘set it and forget it’, but every step is worth it to layer the flavors. If you’ve ever made a slow-cooker soup before, you know that there is a difference between piling all of the vegetables in and browning a few before you get started.
I do recommend sautéing the onion, celery and carrot before adding to the soup. While you can just throw it in there (and I’ve done it countless times to know it works), you’re also missing out on the caramelization that happens when you reduce onions. A flavor that I think is key in really good soups. Therefore, I recommend taking the extra 10 minutes and doing it.
If you’re making this in your Instant Pot, then you can use the saute function before slow-cooking it.
The other step is adding the orzo pasta in towards the end. Adding pasta along with the beans will create pasta mush– and very little broth. Set a timer, then stir in the pasta.
Same goes with the kale or spinach- you’ll want to add them right towards the end so they just wilt into the hot soup.
Lastly, don’t be tempted to skip the hit of fresh lemon juice at the end, that’s key for a flavorful soup! My secret weapon in just about every dish is some type of acid– it’s what heighten’s flavors (especially salt) and finishes the dish. If you don’t have any fresh lemons, red wine vinegar will also work.
I choose to add some fresh grated parmesan cheese on this, but that can be optional depending on whether or not you eat cheese. Enjoy friends! xo
Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup! This vegetarian or vegan soup is SO delicious and packed with vegetables. Healthy comfort food with kale, beans, lentils and orzo pasta.