minestrone slow cooker recipe

It’s autumn that means it is soup time and one of my very favourite soups is the classic Italian Minestrone. It’s full of vegetables and goodness and with the addition of pasta towards the end of the cooking it makes a real hearty comfort food option.

My trial this time round was to see if the twins would go for it. As per usual when confronted with something to eat they haven’t seen before the initial reaction was to turn their nose up and refuse BUT mummy got clever.

Alice: I don’t like that (very sad face on the verge of tears – my sensitive one)

Bessie: Me neither, I don’t want that. (very determined little face – my stubborn one)

Me: Ok, but you know the rules, first of all we try something and for those who eat it all up and see that it is delicious, there’s ice cream for pudding (NEVER fails)

Result – Two clean plates and not a murmur from either of them but lots of ‘Mmmm, this is really tasty mummy’.

Like I said, a little gentle persuasion can go a long way.

If you ask any Italian I am sure they never stick to one exact recipe when it comes to Minestrone it’s a base of vegetables with tomatoes and cannellini beans but if you haven’t got one vegetable or another chop and change, use up what needs consuming. for example the recipe calls for pork ribs but I had a pork chop in the fridge so I chopped that up (no bone) and it worked perfectly

Classic Italian Minestrone slow cooker recipe


Olive oil 
1 onion finely chopped
2 celery sticks finely chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped
3 large carrots diced
2 large potatoes diced
2 large courgettes diced
1 tin cannellini beans
1 tin chopped plum tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 litres vegetable stock
150g pork chop (substitute with any meat, cut off the surplus fat)
200g small pasta like ditalini or maccheroncini


  1. Sauté the onions, celery, and garlic until softened in a little olive oil.
  2. Add the carrot potatoes and courgettes and sauté for a few minutes.
  3. Add the cannellini beans, the tin of tomatoes, the tomato puree and the vegetable stock. Stir all the ingredients well
  4. Add the pork chop to flavour the broth. I cut off all the excess fat.
  5. Cook on high for 4 hours.
  6. 30 minutes before the end add the small pasta, stir well and leave covered for the last half an hour to cook.

Best served with fresh chunky bread.

Buon appetito!

sage slow cooker minestrone

Harvest vegetable soup with smokey baconIt’s soup time of year for me, the perfect warming option for a quick lunch on the go. Following on from my slow roasted vegetable soup I decided to try a harvest vegetable soup and I’m really pleased I did.

Homemade chicken stock

After cooking a roast chicken for Sunday lunch, I kept the carcass which still had odd bits of meat on it here and there, I placed it in a tall pan with a selection of root vegetables, some herbs and peppercorns, covered it with water and left it to simmer for about an hour and a half. I strained off the liquid into a container and threw away the rest. As I was suing for soup I didn’t feel the need to strain any further but you can pass through a sieve for a finer liquid.

Chicken stock can keep in the fridge for 3/4 days or can be frozen and kept for 2/3 months.

Using my homemade chicken stock I then made 

Harvest vegetable soup with smokey bacon

harvest vegetable soup with smokey baconIngredients
25g butter
1 large onion diced
3 large carrots peeled and sliced thinly
2 medium potatoes peeled, quartered and sliced thinly
1 leek sliced
2 parsnips peeled and sliced thinly
250g bacon diced
1 lt homemade chicken stock or a stock cube
small bay leaf
salt and pepper
Crusty fresh bread to serve


Melt the butter in a large pan and soften the onions.

Add all the other vegetables, cover and soften on a low heat.

Add the bacon and cook until coloured

Add the chicken stock and bay leaf and simmer for 30 minutes.

Check the seasoning and serve with fresh crusty 


For a vegetarian option omit the bacon and use vegetable stock.
Add 50g red lentils when adding the stock.