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Minestrone Casserole – $5 Dinner Challenge

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!)

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