I’m always looking for new and interesting ways to cook with my slow cooker, and this minestrone casserole is a real winner. It’s easy to put together, and the end result is a hearty and comforting dish that’s perfect for winter weather.
My kids are like their mama and love a good pasta! Plus, I love finding new ways to add a package of pasta to our meals. This Minestrone Casserole Recipe is simple to make, perfect for busy weeknights and one that everyone will love!
What is Minestrone Casserole?
Minestrone casserole is a hearty dish that is perfect for a chilly winter day. The casserole is made with a variety of vegetables, including tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, and onions. Beans and pasta are also often added to the mix, making it a filling and nutritious meal.
The casserole is usually topped with cheese or bread crumbs, and it can be served with a side of garlic bread or a salad. Minestrone casserole is a versatile dish that can be easily customized to suit your taste. So whether you are looking for a hearty winter meal or a light summer lunch, minestrone casserole is sure to hit the spot.
Minestrone Casserole Ingredients
For this delicious casserole, you’ll need lots of veggies and pasta. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Onion- You will want to dice up your onion, so you don’t have big chunks of onion.
- Bell pepper- I used red bell peppers for a sweeter flavor, but you could use yellow, green, or orange if you prefer.
- Zucchini- Cut your zucchinis in half and slice them up. Try to make sure all your slices are about the same width so they cook evenly.
- Beans- I used canned kidney beans. If you want to use dry kidney beans, make sure to soak and cook them before adding them into the casserole.
- Mushrooms- Use any mushrooms you like for this casserole.
- Tomatoes and paste- You will need diced tomatoes and tomato paste to create a tomato based sauce for your minestrone casserole.
- Broth- I used chicken broth, but you could use vegetable broth as well. The broth helps to thin the paste to create the perfect sauce.
- Seasonings- To season this casserole, you will need Italian seasoning blend, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.
- Pasta- Before beginning this recipe, make sure your shell pasta is cooked and drained according to the instructions on the box.
- Shredded cheese- I used mozzarella cheese, but you could use cheddar cheese, Colby, Swiss, or Monterey jack if you prefer.
- Parmesan- Although optional, I recommend garnishing your finished casserole with a bit of Parmesan cheese just like you would spaghetti.
How to Make Minestrone Casserole in the Slow Cooker
Making this minestrone casserole in the slow cooker is a great way to have your food ready to eat when you come home from work. Follow the steps below!
Step 1: Prepare the Slow Cooker
First, spray the inside of your slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray so that casserole doesn’t stick to the sides.
Step 2: Add the Veggies
Add the onion, red bell pepper, zucchini, beans, and mushrooms to your slow cooker.
Step 3: Make the Sauce
Combine the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth, and all of the seasonings together in a mixing bowl.
Step 4: Add Sauce
Then, add the sauce to the slow cooker and stir to combine it with the vegetables.
Step 5: Cook
Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.
Step 6: Add the Pasta & Cheese
After the veggies have cooked, stir in the cooked pasta. Sprinkle cheese over the top and cover until the cheese has melted.
Serve garnished with grated Parmesan, if desired. Enjoy!
How to Make in the Instant Pot
If you don’t want to wait 5-6 hours for this to cook in your slow cooker, you can easily make it in the Instant Pot. Follow this Instant Pot Minestrone Soup recipe, and then add the cheese at the end just as you would for the slow cooker recipe.
Where Does Minestrone Come From?
Minestrone is a hearty soup that originates from Italy. It typically includes a variety of vegetables, beans, and pasta in a tomato-based broth. While there are many regional variations of minestrone, the dish is generally believed to have peasant origins.
In the past, poor families would often make soup from whatever ingredients they had on hand. Over time, the soup became a popular dish among all social classes. Today, minestrone remains a staple of Italian cuisine and can be found on menus all over the world.
Side Dish Recommendations
Looking for a simple side for this meal? Some of our favorites are:
How to Store Leftovers
The best way to store minestrone is in an airtight container in the fridge. Minestrone will keep in the fridge for up to four days. When you’re ready to eat it, simply reheat the casserole on the stove until it’s piping hot.
Can I Freeze It?
You can also freeze minestrone for longer-term storage. Minestrone will keep in the freezer for up to three months. To reheat, simply thaw the casserole in the fridge overnight and then heat it on the stove.
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 2 zucchini, halved and sliced
- 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (8 ounce) package sliced mushrooms
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato paste
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 (16 ounce) shell pasta, cooked according to the instructions and drained
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Grated Parmesan, as garnish if desired
1. Prepare a slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
2. To the slow cooker, add the onion, red bell pepper, zucchini, beans, and mushrooms.
3. In a mixing bowl, stir together the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth, and seasonings. Add the mixture to the slow cooker and stir to combine with the vegetables.
4. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.
5. Stir in the cooked pasta. Sprinkle cheese over the top and cover until the cheese has melted.
6. Serve garnished with grated Parmesan, if desired.
How to make in the Instant Pot -
Place everything in the Instant Pot, except the cheese.
Pressure cook on high for 5 minutes.
Manually release the pressure. Remove lid and stir.
Add the cheese, place the lid on loosely for it to melt.
Garnish and serve.
More Slow Cooker Recipes You’ll Love
Here are some of our other favorite weeknight slow cooker recipes to try: