Slow-Cooker Minestrone Soup (Low Sodium + Vegan!)

Whenever I share a recipe, I tend to stick to a format. A photo or two of the completed dish, nutrition information, ingredients, directions. But today’s post is a little different. For the first time in Daily Dish history, I’m sharing a NAKED recipe!

I hate to disappoint. If you were hoping for breasts and thighs, I’m sorry, but I’m vegan.


Last week I mentioned having spent much of December fighting a terrible respiratory plague. Well apparently when I made this soup – mere days before becoming bed-ridden, the foggy malaise must have already descended because for the life of me I cannot find a single photograph of this recipe. I’ve gone through my entire digital archive, twice, and can’t find so much as a semi-blurry, badly lit, anything even remotely resembling minestrone.. so this “naked” version will have to suffice.

Imagine hearty chunks of potato, carrot, celery, garlic and onion. Soft diced tomato, toothsome pasta, and beans. A richly fragrant, highly flavorful vegan broth, each spoonful sending you smacking your lips and returning for more.

Speaking of broth, did you know you can make a really delicious low-sodium broth out of:

V8 Low Sodium 100% Vegetable Juice? You can! To be honest, I’ve always equated vegetable or tomato juice strictly with Bloody Marys – a drink I’m not terribly fond of because 1) they tend to be super high in sodium, and 2) I have children and drinking at breakfast tends to put mommy in bed for the afternoon. Anyway, I found this product at BJs Warehouse. I’d been slogging down the juice aisle, pushing our 300 lb. cart when the bright green LOW SODIUM lettering caught my eye. WOW! I decided to give it a whirl. The rest, my friends, is history.

NOTE: Because the V8 Low Sodium Vegetable Juice is so highly flavorful, I was able to stretch the broth further (as well as reduce the amount of sodium per serving) by adding water to it. In this case, for every 1 cup of juice I added a 1/2 cup water. If you’re not interested in using low sodium vegetable juice, either because you can’t find it or you are watching your potassium and don’t want to use a product with potassium chloride, please feel free to substitute an equal amount of low sodium broth. Either way, this soup is DELISH!

Adapted from The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook.

Serves 8

SODIUM CONTENT: 122 mg per serving


1 large onion, chopped
2 T. minced garlic
3 medium carrots, halved and sliced
3 medium stalks celery, sliced
2 medium potatoes, diced
2-15-oz. cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes (with juice)
1-15-oz. can no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 c. short/small pasta (your choice)
4 c. low-sodium vegetable juice
2 c. water
2 T. red wine
1 T. agave nectar
1 T. balsamic vinegar
1 T. salt-free all-purpose seasoning
2 bay leaves
2 t. dried oregano
1 t. dried basil
freshly ground black pepper to taste


Place ingredients (except pasta) into a slow cooker. Stir, cover, and set to high. Cook on high 6 hours, adding pasta around the 4th-5th hour (depending upon size). Stir occasionally. Serve hot.

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18 Responses to Slow-Cooker Minestrone Soup (Low Sodium + Vegan!)

  1. Ashle Pemberton says:

    This looks delish! What does the agave nectar do? Can it be left out, or substitute something In its place if I don’t have agave nectar?

    • Christy says:

      Hi Ashle! Sorry for my s-l-o-o-o-w response! I truly am the worst comment responder ever!

      With that groveling over (hah) yes, feel free to substitute for the agave. Brown or regular sugar would work, as would honey, molasses, even maple syrup. It’s just intended to add the slightest hint of sweetness – you won’t taste it, but without it, the tiniest bit of the puzzle is missing.

      Good luck!

  2. Carol says:

    This looks great! I never use tomato juice – I have used V8 for years in chili, beef stew, anything that calls for tomato juice. I like the taste so much better.

    • Christy says:

      Hi Carol! Yes I am loving this V8 low sodium veg juice. I’ve bought it twice now and have been using it in everything. My older daughter even wants to use it in her morning smoothies. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT??! Me neither! LOL Great taste, same sodium as in commercial low-sodium broth, and extra vitamins. Oh! And when you buy in bulk like I do, super price too! 🙂

  3. DIRTY! I’m sold on any soup that involves pasta, though, so I’ll forgive you.

  4. Lucy says:

    I’m going to make a pot very soon. Need to Head to the store and buy some ingredients. Thanks. I have a question for you… How much sodium is in a cup of low-sodium V8?

  5. Lucy says:

    I am so sorry that I asked that question about the sodium count for the V8. I just looked above and saw the info. Kindly Disregard the question.

  6. Hahaha… some soups are just a bit camera shy by nature. It sure sounds delicious, though, Dishy!

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  8. mary wagner says:

    I just shopped for ingredients but I do not have a slow cooker (I just recently moved to Maine. will use the stove top method.

    • Christy says:

      Hi Mary! Welcome to beautiful Maine! Hope that your stove-top version was as easy and delicious as the crockpot-made soup. Feel free to follow up with any tips, tricks, or comments. 🙂

  9. cindy says:

    Hi! Sounds yummy! Can I substitute anything for the chick peas (I don’t care for them)?
    Also what is balsamic vinegar?
    Thank you!

    • Christy says:

      Hi Cindy!

      Yes, you can definitely substitute for the chickpeas – kidney beans would be a great choice. Or you can leave them out altogether.

      Balsamic vinegar is a dark, intense vinegar – actually a reduction – made from Italian grapes. It’s widely available in supermarkets and online.

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