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Red, White, and Bean Minestrone

1  Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Italian turkey sausage, in small pieces
2 Tbsp.tomato paste
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
2 Tbsp.minced garlic
1 cup chopped carrots
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 can (16 oz.) chopped canned tomatoes
5 cups chicken stock
1 can (15.5 oz.) cannellini beans with liquid
1/2 can (16 ounces) red kidney beans, drained
2 cups zucchini cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups baby spinach
1-1/2 cups cooked bowtie pasta
2 Tbsp.pre-packaged pesto
2 Tbsp.fresh grated parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium sauté pan. Add sausage; brown well. Add tomato paste; cook 5 minutes until brown. Add onions, celery, garlic, carrots, and oregano. Cook until garlic is aromatic, approximately 5 minutes. Pour into a 4-quart slow cooker. Add tomatoes and chicken stock. Cook on low setting for 6–7 hours or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in beans, zucchini, spinach, and cooked pasta. Cook on high setting for 8 minutes or until beans and pasta are warmed through and spinach has wilted. To Serve: Pour the soup into a bowl. Top with a little pesto and fresh grated parmesan cheese. Serves 7 to 9.

 

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