Crock-Pot® vegetable soup is one of the easiest, healthiest meals that can be prepared in a slow cooker. It can be made in the morning and cooked all day, so it is ready to eat at dinnertime; those who want to make it more filling may choose to quickly boil some noodles and mix them in right before serving. In general, there is no wrong way to prepare Crock-Pot® vegetable soup, as it is simply made with mixed vegetables and spices. Tomatoes, carrots, and sliced potatoes are some of the most common inclusions, as well as fresh onion and garlic for flavoring.
Most people choose to prepare Crock-Pot® vegetable soup as a vegetarian dish, though for extra flavor, ground beef, or any other meat can be added. It is very important to brown the meat in a little bit of oil ahead of time before putting it in the slow cooker; though it may be cooked thoroughly in the Crock-Pot® all day, it will be a pretty unappetizing color if it is not browned first. Otherwise, preparing Crock-Pot® vegetable soup is generally a fairly simple undertaking.
Some cooks choose to prepare Crock-Pot® vegetable soup by simply chopping up all the ingredients, adding water in order to make the broth, and letting it cook throughout the day. Others will try to enhance the flavor of the soup by sauteing some of the ingredients ahead of time in a pan before adding them to the slow cooker, as this can help to release some of the flavors. For instance, sauteing fresh minced garlic and onion in some olive oil before adding it to the slow cooker is a great way to add extra flavor; some cooks will choose to do this with all the vegetables they'll be adding. Throwing in some salt, pepper, and thyme can help even more.
Typically, Crock-Pot® vegetable soup is prepared with a base of water and canned tomatoes. Other common vegetables include corn, beans, and carrots. Peas and cabbage may also be included. There are many different recipes to be found online, or it is possible to simply improvise with whatever vegetables are on hand. Typically all these ingredients are cooked in the Crock-Pot® for four to six hours on high, or seven to eight hours on low, as it is a fairly forgiving recipe. Cooking some noodles and adding them right at the end can make the soup a bit more dense, but never cook pasta in the slow cooker all day, as it will just disintegrate.