Add the carrots, celery, onions, garlic, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, seasonings and chicken stock to the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours.
Add the green beans and zucchini and cook another 30 minutes on high.
While that’s cooking prepare the noodles on the stove, per the package instructions, to al dente. Then drain, reserving some of the pasta water.
Add to the slow cooker along with the parsley and canned beans. Allow a few minutes to warm through.
Stir in the spinach and when wilted, serve immediately (about 2 minutes). If you feel more fluid is needed add some of the reserved pasta water.
Parmesan - Add the rind of a parmesan wedge to your soup at the beginning of the cooking time. It will flavor the soup with parmesan and salty flavor.
Pesto - Add 2-3 tablespoons of basil or sundried tomato pesto to the pot right before serving for a bright and flavorful variation.
Pasta-free - Add potatoes at the beginning of the cooking time, or cooked rice before serving if you have someone that can't have gluten.
Why do I use pasta water?It has the flavor and the starch of the pasta in there.Can I add meat?Yes! You can either add one pound of raw chicken breasts or one pound of cooked and crumbled ground beef or turkey at the beginning of the cooking time. Shred the chicken breasts before serving.Can I use tortellini?Yes! Precook the tortellini before adding it to the slow cooker. I recommend 2-3 cups of refrigerated tortellini. Add right before serving.What other vegetables can be used?Other vegetables that can be tossed in minestrone soup are mushrooms, corn fresh off the cob, sugar snap peas. You can even use kale or cabbage instead of spinach (add cabbage at the beginning of cooking).Can I freeze the leftovers?Minestrone freezes well! Place in freezer ziplock bags or airtight containers. Freezer for no longer than three months for best flavor.How to reheat?The best way to reheat the soup is to place it in a small saucepan on the stovetop and cook it until it is piping hot. You can use the microwave to reheat, but be sure to place a paper towel over your bowl for it will splatter.