Easy (Cheap) Minestrone

So, I made this yesterday. The recipe varies a bit each time I make this, depending on what I have in the pantry – but this is the basic template.
In my big slowcooker (6L), this makes about 12 serves.

Basic ingredients
– 2x 440g cans diced tomatoes
– 2 cups of various dried beans/legumes/soup mix (soup mix has split peas, barley and a few types of beans in it) (or canned beans – you’d need 2-3 cans)
– 1 stock cube (or replace 500ml of the added water with premade
– 1 brown onion, finely chopped
– 250g dry pasta
– seasonings/herbs to taste (I generally add worcestershire sauce and some mixed herbs)

Optional extras
– diced bacon
– various veges (celery, swede, turnip, potato, carrot, spinach, cabbage, WHATEVER). Hard veges and spinach/cabbage should be added at the start of the process. Frozen veges should be added with the pasta (or they’ll go to mush)

Method
1. If you’re using dried beans, set them to soak for at least an hour (but overnight is best) before starting this recipe. Adding a tsp of bicarb to the water helps them rehydrate quicker. Make sure you rinse them before adding to the slow cooker.
2. Put everything except the pasta into a slow cooker. Add about 2-3L of water and set to Low. Leave for about 8hrs (flexible time here, I left the lot I made yesterday for 12hrs purely because I went out and was out for longer than I planned).
3. About 1/2hr before serving, add pasta and seasonings to taste. Set cooker to High and leave for an additional 30-45mins, or until pasta is al dente.

This freezes fantastically, and I’d happily eat it every day for lunch during winter 🙂
If you dont have a slow cooker, this can be made on the stove, you just have to keep an eye on it so it doesnt burn or boil over. Bring to boil then reduce to lowest heat setting, leave (stirring occasionally) until beans etc are cooked through, then add pasta.
For a smaller pot, just halve all measurements (except the onion – just use the whole thing, it’s easier).

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