This slow cooker Italian sausage vegetable soup meets all my criteria for a slow cooker recipe: simple, quick, hearty, and flavorful. It can be adapted based on whatever’s in season: this time I was using up a quarter head of cabbage and the last of the fresh beans from the garden as well as a couple cups of leftover rice. Most of the time I use some type of pasta: small pieces or broken spaghetti noodles.
Precook the Italian sausage before adding it to the slow cooker bowl (if using fully cooked links, omit this step and just slice and add them with the other ingredients). Then combine beef broth with a bit of dry red wine (or more broth if you don’t do wine) and pour it over the meat in the bowl.
Here’s the best part: add all the remaining ingredients and cook on low for 8 hours (or high for 3-1/2 to 4 hours). I just love my slow cooker.
If using uncooked pasta or rice, add it about 45 minutes before you want to eat, making sure the cooker is on high. If you have leftover rice or pasta, add it the last few minutes to heat through.
Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with shaved or grated Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. I served it this time with butter and garlic Quick Breadsticks. Yum.
Slow Cooker Italian Sausage Vegetable Soup
- 1 lb. Italian sausage (any kind-ground, links, or precooked)
- 4 c. beef broth
- 1/2 c. dry red wine (or more broth)
- 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 med. onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 15-oz can garbanzo beans (or freezer beans– and I use whatever type I have)
- 2 c. chopped green cabbage, chard, kale, or spinach
- 1-2 c. chopped green beans (if using frozen, thaw a bit and add with pasta)
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1 c. small pasta (macaroni, orzo, ditalini, broken spaghetti, etc.)
- salt to taste
- Parmesan for serving (grated or shaved)
- Parsley for serving (optional)
- If using uncooked sausage, cook it in a skillet until brown, drain and transfer to the bowl of a large slow cooker.
- Combine the broth and the wine (if using) and pour over the meat.
- Add the remaining ingredients except the last four. Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours or high for 3-1/2 to 4 hours.
- Add the noodles (turn cooker to high if you used the low setting) and cook for another 45 minutes until the noodles are done. Salt to taste, if needed.
- Serve with Parmesan and parsley.
Makes 8 servings