Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup with Spicy Italian Sausage
Author: 
Recipe type: Main Course
Serves: 6
 
Weight Watchers Info: 8 PointsPlus per serving
Ingredients
  • 4 links turkey Italian sausage
  • ½ large onion (maybe a whole small or medium onion), chopped
  • 1 cup carrots (about 2 carrots), chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can white (cannelini or navy) beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups fat free chicken broth
  • 1 oz chunk “good Parmesan cheese rind” (original recipe calls for this–we have never used it)
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped fresh (or frozen and defrosted) spinach
  • 2 cups cooked small pasta (farfalle, shells, elbows, or something similar)
  • Parmesan cheese to top (extra WW points to taste…)
Instructions
  1. Remove sausage from casings (or use bulk sausage), brown and break into small pieces over medium high in a skillet.
  2. Rinse and drain beans. Puree beans with 1 cup broth in a blender, or with hand held immersion blender in the crock pot itself (that’s what I do).
  3. In crock pot, combine pureed beans, cooked sausage, broth, tomatoes, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, herbs, parmesan rind (if used), salt, and pepper.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  5. minutes before ready to eat, add zucchini and spinach. Cover and cook 30 more minutes.
  6. Add cooked pasta, cook 10 minutes more.
  7. Remove bay leaves, rosemary sprig, and parmesan rind (if you bothered), and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve with extra parmesan cheese and a crusty roll, if you’re so inclined…
Notes
The original did not have the Italian Sausage, and we doubled the garlic. I love to sprinkle red pepper flakes in it as a condiment, Colleen just likes to pile on the parmesan. The original recipe’s author says that puree’ing the beans is optional. Many people like to have whole beans in their soup. It would be an easy step to skip if you were pressed for time.
Recipe by The Taste Place at http://www.thetasteplace.com/2011/12/04/slow-cooker-minestrone-soup-with-spicy-italian-sausage/