My favorite time to make a good bowl of minestrone is after coming from the fresh produce market, where I buy loads of fresh vegetables and beans. In the markets, it is very common to buy prechopped vegetables and beans for making soup.
This barley and vegetable minestrone guarantees you a highly nutritious soup because the ingredients are all healthy. You can get a variety of nutrients from the different vegetables in it, plus carbohydrates from the grains or pasta, calcium from the Parmigiano Reggiano (or Parmesan) and monounsaturated fat from the extra-virgin olive oil.
The good thing about minestrone is that you can put any vegetable you want in it and as much variety as you want. In addition to the vegetables, pasta, rice or other grains can go in too. As long as the minestrone is cooked for a long time on low heat, you will have a good, warm, Italian soup. This is where the slow cooker comes in.
Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 8 hours | Total time: 8 hours 20 minutes
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