Vegan Pumpkin and Kale Minestrone: Stovetop and Slow Cooker Versions

Who doesn't love a hearty veggie packed minestrone? If you have a slow cooker, you'll not only save the trouble of hovering over the stove, but be able to pop the ingredients into the cooker in the morning and return at the end of the day to a delicious and nourishing home cooked meal. But, it cooks perfectly fine on the stovetop too, so don't hesitate if you don't have a slow cooker! I've provided the method for both below. If you've ever wondered about this "crockpot" thing, I'm a fan because it's a great kitchen tool for the lazy or busy homechef –perfect for those days when we know we will be out all day and barely have time to put together dinner for the family or even for ourselves (if we're cooking for one). Additionally, cooking at a low temperature helps preserve the nutrients in our food, so we are getting just getting more quality out of the same ingredients!

I'm not a "food blogger." Like most recipes on this site, this plant-based minestrone is for anyone who stumbles here of course, but particularly for my clients, whom I encourage to eat more plants (!), even if they don't have a 100% vegan (I'm not a vegan, but maintain a 90% plant diet!). In my work, I find that I could just send clients links to existing recipes, but as I read them through, I sometimes find ingredients that my clients are trying to reduce or even eliminate (such as certain specific sweeteners, dairy, red or pork meat, or gluten), so I prefer to share my own recipes to save them the trouble of having to adapt. Some people find it difficult enough to cook, much less to have to tweak an existing recipe! 

There are many minestrone recipes, but this one is completely vegan and therefore free of the pancetta (bacon) bits and the chicken broth that many recipes call for. Plus, I wanted to use pumpkin and kale, two of my favorite winter vegetables for added nutrition and vibrant color.

I like this one pot meal on its own, but I serve it with pasta for my kids. (And, I prefer to cook the pasta separately so it doesn't get bloated and mushy.) Either way, I hope you enjoy it!

Wishing you radiant health! xx, Juli

  • 3 tablespoons coconut or olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped 
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 8 fresh plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (+ more to adjust to desired thickness)
  • 2 cups purified water
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoons oregano (dried or fresh)
  • 1 small pumpkin, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 white potatoes (optional)
  • 2 cups Tuscan or curly kale, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (jar or BFA free can ones are fine if you haven't cooked them)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (to garnish)
  • sea salt or Himalayan salt and pepper to taste 
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes (optional, but delicious and extra super nutrition!)
  • handful of fresh chopped basil to garnish (optional)

Slow Cooker Version

  1. In the slow cooker pot, put the vegetable broth, water, and tomatoes.
  2. In a small pan on low-medium heat, saute garlic and shallots in olive oil for 2 - 3 minutes, until fragrant.
  3. Add onion and celery and saute for another 4 to 5 minutes and add this to the slow cooker pot.
  4. (If you're in a hurry, skip steps 2 and 3 and just toss everything in the slow cooker!)
  5. Add white wine if using.
  6. Add the zucchini, pumpkin, and white potatoes, and herbs.
  7. Season with a bit of sea salt and ground black pepper.
  8. Cover the slow cooker and turn it on medium setting to cook for 6 - 8 hours.
  9. About 15 minutes before serving, add the spinach or chopped kale and the chickpeas.
  10. Spoon into bowls, sprinkle with nutritional yeast flakes, and garnish with basil.
  11. Optionally, serve with pasta, such as shell pasta—either gluten free or wheat durum if you prefer.

Stovetop Version

  1. In a large stockpot on low-medium heat, saute the garlic and shallots in olive oil for 2 - 3 minutes, until fragrant.
  2. Add onion and celery and saute for another 4 to 5 minutes and add this to the slow cooker pot.
  3. Add the zucchini, pumpkin, and white potatoes, plus the dried herbs: bay leaf, thyme sprigs, and oregano.
  4. Add white wine if you're using.
  5. Season with a bit of sea salt and ground black pepper.
  6. Lower the temperature and simmer for at least 30 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked.
  7. About 10 - 15 minutes before serving, add the spinach or chopped kale and the chickpeas.
  8. Spoon into bowls, sprinkle with nutritional yeast flakes, and garnish with basil.
  9. Optionally, serve with pasta, such as shell pasta—either gluten free or wheat durum.