Garden Minestrone



1 onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
1½ teaspoons minced fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dried
teaspoon red pepper flakes
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup dried great Northern or cannellini beans (6½ ounces), picked over, salt-soaked, and rinsed
2 carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
1 zucchini (about 8 ounces), quartered lengthwise and sliced ¼ inch thick
8 ounces Swiss chard, stemmed and leaves sliced ½ inch thick
½ cup small pasta, such as ditalini, tubettini, or mini elbows
½ cup minced fresh basil
Salt and pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


1. Microwave onion, garlic, oil, oregano, and red pepper flake in bowl, stirring constantly, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to slow cooker.

2. Stir broth, tomato sauce, soaked beans, and carrots into slow cooker. Cover and cook until beans are tender, 9 to 11 hours on low or 5 to 7 hours on high.

3. Stir in zucchini, chard, and pasta, cover and cook on high until vegetables and pasta are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in basil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve with Parmesan and additional olive oil.

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