Minestrone Casserole – $5 Dinner Challenge

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on April 25, 2011

All the loveliness of Minestrone Soup…in casserole form.

The beans, the pasta, the veggies, the cheese.

Without a drop of broth!

This one didn’t last long at our house.

(And for those of you dairy-free folks, I actually made half with cheese for Steve to have for dinner and lunch the next day…and made the other half with dairy-free shredded cheese for the boys and myself. If you have to keep the cheeses separate for anaphalactic allergy reasons, then make in 2 8×8 inch dishes.  Other than the cheese toppings, the dish is dairy free!)

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Minestrone Casserole


  • 1 lb. box elbow macaroni noodles ($.50)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil ($.10)
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped ($.30)
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped ($.20)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed ($.05)
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained ($.16)
  • 1 15 ounce can dark red kidney beans, drained ($.68)
  • 1 10 oz box frozen spinach leaves ($.50)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese ($.25)
  • 1-2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese ($1.25)
  • Parsley, sprinkle on top ($.05)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Side of fresh fruit or veggies ($1)


  • Cook the pasta as directed in a saucepan.  Drain. Do not rinse.
  • In the same saucepan, add the olive oil and saute the carrots, celery and garlic for 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the undrained diced tomatoes, drained kidney beans, and cooked spinach leaves.  Add the pasta back into the saucepan and toss with the other ingredients.
  • Pour them into a lightly greased 9×13-inch baking dish.  Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over top, then sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over top. Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cheese has melted and begins to golden on top. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve Minestrone Casserole with side of veggies or fruit.

Cost $5.04

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah (Frontier Kitchen) April 25, 2011 at 8:03 pm

I’m not a fan of most casseroles but this looks yummy!


mandie April 25, 2011 at 10:41 pm

My mom would love this! Thank you!


Food on the Table April 26, 2011 at 12:53 am

Mmm, now that’s what I call comfort food! This reminds me of a chicken noodle soup casserole I made a few months ago. The secret ingredient for that dish? Ritz Crackers!


Debbi Does Dinner Healthy April 26, 2011 at 5:28 am

That casserole sounds wonderful! I can’t wait to try it, thanks so much!


Staci (ClickandCookRecipes) May 4, 2011 at 6:03 pm

This is right up my alley. I love making new dishes. Thanks for sharing this!


Miranda May 11, 2011 at 6:01 pm

I was really disappointed in this. Very plain, dry macaroni. Nothing really “casserole” about it. If i make it again I will add another can of tomatoes (drained) and mix cheese into the body of it.


Heidi June 21, 2011 at 12:18 am

I was also really disappointed in this. Next time I would add 1/3-1/2 the amount of noodles and possibly another can of tomato.


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom June 21, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Thanks for your feedback Heidi!


Jamie July 29, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Made this tonight and really liked it! My almost 3 yo son ate a whole bowl, all the while declaring he didn’t like it. LOVED all those veggies going down! I changed it up a bit though- no time here to saute anything, so just threw my raw carrots and celery in with the pasta and added some chopped frozen spinach and my beans the last few minutes of cooking time just to warm up. I drained all that, put it right back in the same pot, then added the tomatoes with some garlic powder and a palmful of parmesan cheese (from a can- fancy, fancy!) to the pasta and veggie mix. I threw some mozzarella cheese on the top and put it right under the broiler for just a few minutes to melt the cheese- no time to wait to bake in this house!

I wanted to try cooking the pasta and veggies in chicken stock or broth to impart more of that soup flavor, but I had none in the house. Maybe next time! Thanks for the great idea!


Megan March 12, 2013 at 11:32 pm

I made this tonight and I added an extra can of tomatoes and a small can of tomato sauce as it seemed really dry. Very good with those additions.


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