3 tablespoons finely shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese
If desired, peel eggplant. Cut eggplant into ¾-inch pieces (you should have about 3 cups).
In 3- ½- or 4-quart slow cooker, combine eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, cannellini beans, tomato, garlic, rosemary, pepper, and dried basil, if using. Add tomato juice. (see Tip)
Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours. Stir in fresh basil, if using, and balsamic vinegar.
To prepare croutons: Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly brush bread slices with olive oil. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the Romano cheese. Place bread slices on baking sheet. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until toasted.
To serve, ladle vegetable mixture into bowls. Top with croutons and sprinkle with remaining Romano cheese.
Tip: For easy cleanup, line your slow cooker with a disposable slow cooker liner. Add ingredients as directed in recipe. Once your dish is finished cooking, spoon the food out of your slow cooker and simply dispose of the liner. Do not lift or transport the disposable liner with food inside.