Crockpot Minestrone

Last Updated on Monday, 6 February 2012 12:44 Written by Flax Monday, 6 February 2012 12:44

I really do love using my crockpot in the winter.  Not only do I come home to a warm nourishing meal, I also come home to a house that smells great.  Crockpot cooking is also a much safer way to cook large beans as you don’t have to leave the stove on for long periods of time.  (Maybe it’s my own anxiety, but I’m always afraid that I will forget that the stove is on and accidentally burn down the house.)  Smaller beans, such as the adzuki beans and the mung bean are wonderful summer beans as they require under an hour cooking time.  Larger beans such as the kidney  bean, garbanzo bean,  and of course the fava bean require much longer cooking times and are much more appropriate for the winter where it is appropriate to keep a dish simmering for even an entire day.

Crockpot cooking also happens to provide an excellent solution for “working mom’s” who are sometimes the last ones to walk through the door.  Either prepare the food in the morning before leaving, or if your morning are just too busy, prepare all of the ingredients the night before and then just plug-in the crockpot the following morning.  It’s like magic!  Your family has a  healthy nourishing meal without your even being home!

The recipe below is for minestrone.  Minestrone is a hearty Italian vegetable soup which is essentially a whole meal.  The soup has red kidney beans which are a wonderful winter food as they nourish the kidneys, the organ that should be strengthened in the winter.  Please note how the recipe includes, white, orange, and  green vegetables.  When all  three colors of  vegetables are in a dish, you can be sure that the dishl will be balanced, both with regard to nutrition, as well as with regard to flavor.


  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/4 cup kidney beans, soaked overnight
  • 1/4 cup lentils
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 2 parsnips, diced
  • 1 celeriac (celery root), diced
  • 1 broccoli stalk, peeled and diced
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 4 liters water
  • 1/8 cup brown rice
  • turmeric
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt
  • pepper


  • 1 bunch basil
  • 2 tbsp roasted pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

To prepare the soup, place all of the soup ingredients, other than the salt, in a crockpot.  Set the crockpot to  low and allow to cook for 8-12 hours.

Prepare the pesto by pureeing all of the ingredients together in a food processor until you have a smooth paste .  Set aside.

Add the salt and the pesto to the soup a few minutes before serving.

Serve hot.  Serves 6-8.

Note:  When beans are cooked with salt the skin doesn’t soften and they remain hard.  It is preferable to add the salt only after they are at least slightly cooked.

Sima Herzfeld Navon is a Nutritional Healer and teaches Healthy Cooking Classes.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 August 2011 08:40 Written by Flax Thursday, 24 June 2010 02:51

Lentils are wonderful to eat all year round but I especially like to make them in the summer.  This is because they are the quickest cooking legume and won’t heat up the house as much as beans that require longer cooking times.  One of my favorite lentil dishes, both to cook as well as to eat,  is majadera.

Majadera is a traditional middle-eastern dish that consists of rice cooked with lentils and topped with fried onions and yogurt.  It is a simple dish to make and requires very little prep time.  While I prefer to make this meal for dinner and serve it hot, Egyptian Jews would also serve it cold for Shabbat lunch.

I like to serve this dish along-side a chopped Israeli salad.  I suggest using pickled lemons in the salad to give it a bit of tangy flavor.  Pickled lemons are sold in supermarkets, usually next to the horseradish and other refrigerated condiments.



  • 1 cup Persian brown rice
  • 1/2 cup green lentils
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • salt and pepper

Fried Onions:

  • 2 large onions, diced
  • olive oil (apx.1/4 cup)


  • 1 tomato
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1 bunch rocket
  • 1 tbsp pickled lemon (optional)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper

Place the rice and lentils in a pot. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 45 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan.  Add the onions, stirring often until they turn dark brown and are almost carmelized.

Chop the salad vegetables into small pieces.  Place in a small salad bowl and toss with the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Serve the majadera on a plate  topped with the fried onions and accompanied by salad.

Serves 4-6.


Sima Herzfeld Navon has a clinic for holistic medicine.  She also teaches healthy cooking and holistic nutrition.

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