If you love a classic minestrone soup then you will love my Chicken Minestrone Soup recipe! It is hearty and flavoursome, filled with a rich broth, delicious vegetables, shredded tender chicken and perfectly al dente pasta.
For some reason I never used to like minestrone soup, but over the years my husband and I have fine tuned our recipe and now it is one of my favourite, most comforting soup recipes that I go back to time and time again.
Having a big batch of chicken minestrone soup cooking away in the slow cooker is just the best feeling. And even better that it takes very little effort to get such a delicious and wholesome soup. In this post I will provide you with instructions for making this soup on the stovetop and in the slow cooker.
Things To Love About Chicken Minestrone Soup
- allergy friendly - this soup is completely nut free, and can be made dairy free and gluten free (I have used gluten free pasta and you can leave out the parmesan rind).
- nutritious - with protein from both the white beans and chicken, lots of vegetables and wholesome broth, this soup is filled with easy to absorb nutrients, perfect for the flu season!
- delicious - this is a hearty soup that the whole family will love!
Ingredients Notes & Substitutions
Minestrone soup is a soup made from simple ingredients like broth, fresh veggies and beans. Read onto see any notes and possible substitutions for these ingredients. The ingredient quantities can be found in the full recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- extra virgin olive oil - as far as cooking oils go, extra virgin is the best option for cooking as it is the least processed, retaining more nutrients.
- bacon - streaky bacon is great in this recipe but short cut bacon works well too.
- cannellini beans - other beans that you can use include butter beans, red kidney beans, navy beans, pinto beans or great northern beans.
- tomato paste
- chicken stock or broth - chicken broth is preferred for this recipe as it provides more nutrients, however it is completely fine to use chicken stock as well. For other broth substitutes you can
- chopped tomatoes - I use tinned crushed tomatoes for this recipe. You can use passata, however if using passata I would recommend not using tomato paste as well as it will be a bit too rich in tomato flavour.
- chicken breasts - I add raw chicken breasts straight into the soup and cook them in the soup liquid. You could also use leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken and add it at the end cooking to warm the chicken up before serving.
- dried oregano and dried thyme - you can use fresh oregano and fresh thyme or use other fresh herbs like parsley or marjoram.
- bay leaves - I've used dried bay leaves but you can definitely use fresh bay leaves if they are available to you.
- parmesan rind - I cut the rind from the end of the parmesan cheese and add it into the soup as a way to increase flavour. This ingredient is optional if you need to keep the soup dairy free.
- pasta - you can use the kind of pasta you prefer - either small elbow macaroni, small shells, ditalini pasta or a small pasta of your choice.
- sea salt and cracked black pepper - season to taste.
- leeks - use the white ends of the leeks. Save the green tops for making homemade vegetable stock! Yellow onion can be used in place of leek.
- fresh garlic - you can also use jarred minced garlic.
- zucchini (courgette) - you can use green beans or yellow squash in place of zucchini.
- red pepper flakes - add chilli flakes for a little bit of spice!
- Low FODMAP - use the green tops of the leeks instead of the whites of the leeks. Don't add the beans or garlic to the recipe.
- Vegan option- don't add the parmesan rind or the chicken or bacon. Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth/stock.
How to Make Healthy Chicken Minestrone Soup in Slow Cooker
You definitely don't have to make this soup in a slow cooker, however I think it's a great way of making life easier, especially in the business of the working and school week. I love being able to throw everything in the slow cooker in the morning for an easy, already done dinner when you walk in the door.
Which Slow Cooker To Use?
I have used a slow cooker that has a searing/sautéing function and it makes life so much easier! If you don't have this function on your slow cooker then you will need to complete the first few steps in a dutch oven or large pot on the stovetop.
Lets Make Chicken Minestrone Soup!
First, turn the slow cooker to the sauté function. Add the olive oil to the slow cooker pan and bring to a medium heat. Add the bacon to the pan and stir, sautéing until the edges of the bacon are beginning to brown.
At this point, add in the leeks and sauté until tender. Add the garlic to the pan, stirring, and sauté until fragrant. Next add the celery and carrot to the pan and stir through. Sauté for a further minute.
Next, add the dried herbs and tomato paste to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Pour the tomato and stock into the pan and add the diced zucchini, diced potato, bay leaves, beans, salt and pepper and parmesan rind. Stir to combine and then add in the chicken breasts, submerging under the liquid.
Place the lid onto the slow cooker and set to slow cook on high for 6 hours.
After 5 hours and 20 minutes transfer the chicken breasts from the slow cooker to a plate and use two forks to shred the chicken. Return the shredded chicken back to the slow cooker along with the pasta. Stir through and replace the lid, allowing to slow cook for another 20 minutes or until pasta is al dente.
Tip: Only add the pasta in 20 minutes before serving so that the pasta doesn't overcook and turn to mush.
Remove the bay leaves and parmesan rind before serving. Serve warm topped with shaved parmesan and a side of your favourite crusty bread with butter.
How to Make Chicken Minestrone Soup on the Stove Top
Place a large dutch oven onto the stove top and bring to a medium-high heat. Drizzle with olive oil and then follow the steps above for cooking in the slow cooker. Once all of the ingredients have been added to the pan, bring the soup to a boil and then reduce to the simmer on the lowest temperature. Place the lid on and allow to simmer for 30 minutes.
Once cooked through, remove the chicken breasts and use two forks to shred the chicken. Return the shredded chicken to the pan along with the pasta. Stir through, place the lid back on and simmer on low for a further 15 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente.
Store leftover, room temperature soup in a heat proof airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. If reheating in the microwave in the container, make sure to heat in a microwave safe container.
- 1 Slow cooker with sear function optimal
- Chopping Board
- Sharp knife
- Garlic mincer
- Wooden Spoon
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 100 grams bacon diced
- 1 leek white parts, washed and thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 celery sticks diced
- 2 medium carrots diced
- 1 large zucchini diced
- 1 large potato peeled and diced
- 790 grams crushed tomatoes canned
- 1 litre chicken stock
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 parmesan rind
- 400 grams Cannelini beans canned
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 cup pasta small, gluten free
- Turn the slow cooker onto sear function. Add the olive oil and bring to a medium heat. Add the bacon and fry until starting to brown before adding the thinly sliced leeks. Sauté until tender.
- Once the leeks are tender add the garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add the diced carrot, and celery and sauté for another minute.
- Add the dried oregano, dried thyme and tomato paste. Stir and sauté briefly.
- Add the remaining vegetables, crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, parmesan rind, beans, and chicken breasts. Turn the slow cooker to slow cook on high for 6 hours.
- At around 5 hours and 30 minutes, transfer the chicken breasts to a plate and use two forks to shred the chicken. Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker along with the pasta. Stir through and place the lid on. Cook for a further 20 minutes or until the pasta is al dente.
- Season with sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste.
- Remove the bay leaves and parmesan rind and serve hot topped with shaved parmesan.