Many thanks to Michele Scicolone and her book, The Mediterranean Slow Cooker, for this recipe which provides the ease and comfort of soup served at room temperature on a hot day. 

Food For the Field is a recurring feature on PastaRun Music. My work has me travelling away from home (and kitchen) during the week, and I am trying to save money and eat better by preparing meals at home that I can bring with me into the field. Staying in your standard hotel room, I don’t have access to a kitchen while I’m away, so it’s important that the meals I bring with me require very little preparation once I leave my home. They also have to hold up for 5 days without turning to mush. As I search for recipes online and from friends, I’ve set up 3 simple rules to help guide me on my quest to find quality food for the field. 

3 Simple Rules:

  • Easy to make and requiring little to no preparation after cooking
  • Travels well in a cooler or thermos into the field on hot summer days 
  • Healthful and nutritious for strenuous activity in the heat 

The simplicity of the preparation for this meal makes it a go-to dish if I’m looking to prepare a lot of food with minimal effort (as is often the case)

Let’s get into it…

Summer Minestrone


  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 medium boiling potatoes, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • olive oil
  • parmigiano-reggiano cheese
Summer Minestrone pre-cooking

Prior to Cooking


  1. In a large slow cooker (at least 6qts) combine tomato, celery, carrot, garlic, onion, chickpea, potato, bell pepper, zucchini, and add salt & pepper to taste.

  3. Add water and stir to combine.

  5. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours until the vegetables are tender but not mushy. 

  7. Stir in rice and cook for 30 minutes until rice is tender and the soup has thickened.

  9. Stir in basil and let cool to room temperature.

  11. Scoop into bowls, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle parmigiano-reggiano cheese on top. 

  13. That’s it.

Soup may not be the first dish that comes to your mind during the summer months, but this minestrone recipe is excellent whether you serve it hot, at room temperature, or slightly chilled. Its versatility and ease of preparation are tough to beat. Adding to that, the simple ingredient list makes it a prime candidate for improvisation with whatever fresh vegetables you have on hand. You’ll no doubt see a variation on this recipe later in the summer. I found 2 garlic cloves to be nearing my tolerance limit for a lunchtime meal at work, but they say garlic helps keep mosquitos at bay, so maybe that’s a plus. 

If you’re looking for something easy to prepare that will last you a whole week, I’m not sure what more you could ask for. 


Food for the Field: Episode 4 - Summer Minestrone
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