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Minestrone Soup

We were up in the mountains last weekend, and it is still winter up there -- brrrr!  It's warming up some and starting to melt, but there was still about two feet of snow where we were, and it snowed lightly Sunday afternoon.  So we had Light As A Feather pancakes Saturday morning (very cozy) and I made our favorite Minestrone Soup Saturday afternoon (ditto).  This recipe makes a big batch, so we noshed on it whenever we felt chilly all weekend.  I got this recipe from Our Best Bites and was surprised to discover that it was wheat free (no pasta).  I had never seen a recipe for minestrone soup without pasta before, and really wondered if it would be good without it -- and it absolutely is.  It does have the surprise ingredient of a can of Campbell's Bean with Bacon Soup in it, which gives it a lovely slightly smoky flavor.  I checked the ingredient list on the can and it has the vague "food starch" listed for the thickener, but I already knew that my husband doesn't react to it -- it's one of the few Campbell's soups that he can eat.  However, I checked their website under gluten-free and discovered that they have very stringent standards for their gluten-free labeling (as they should have) and not one of their soups measures up.  So those of you with Celiac Disease should avoid using the soup, and may want to try a few drops of liquid smoke (a brown liquid that comes in a bottle--the brand I have is Reese) or actually cooking a couple slices of bacon crisp and then chopping it fine and adding it to the soup.  If you don't use the Bean with Bacon soup, add an extra can of beans.  Also, the recipe calls for a can of great northern beans, but my supermarket didn't have any.  I had some black beans on hand (and my husband tolerates them better than other types) so I used those instead.  When I made the soup this weekend, I had some brown rice shell pasta on hand, so I tried throwing in about a cup worth towards the end of the simmering, and it turned out great! 

Minestrone Soup

1 lb Italian sausage
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves minced garlic
4 Cups water
2 stalks celery, diced
2 large carrots, diced
1-2 small zucchini, quartered and chopped
1 box Swanson's beef stock (the aseptic beef stock is gluten free; the can of beef broth is not)
1 10-oz can Bean with Bacon Soup or liquid smoke to taste (see note above)
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
1-2 cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed well (see note above)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

Remove casings from sausage and crumble meat; brown with onion and garlic. 

Add rest of ingredients in a large stock pot or slow cooker. 

Bring to boil; cover and reduce to simmer.  Cook for one hour, stirring occasionally.  For slow cooker, cook all day on low. 

See the cute little shell pasta?  Excellent soup with or without -- you choose.  Serve with grated parmesan on top.

I forgot to sprinkle on the parmesan (it was so yummy anyway, we never missed it), and I made my favorite GF biscuits (see recipe on March 6 post) as a side -- a very satisfying meal. 


  1. Hi Michelle,

    We can see the creativity and care you put into creating this recipe. We just wanted to point out that the Swanson Beef Broth in your recipe is not gluten free. To view the latest list of our gluten free broths and other products, please visit, or contact us at 800-257-8443.

    Campbell Cares Team

  2. I checked their website and discovered that the Swanson Beef Broth in the can is not gluten free (even though there's nothing in the ingredient list on the can to tip you off; must be something in the processing), but that the Swanson Beef Stock in the aseptic packaging is gluten free, so I have amended the recipe to reflect this. The Swanson Natural Goodness Chicken Broth in the can is gluten free, however, for recipes that you use it in. Thanks Campbell Cares Team!