Recipe: Pasta e fagioli soup
Soups are a fantastic way to incorporate a variety of vegetables, beans and herbs into your diet. A good goal is to consume 3-5 (or more!) servings of vegetables each day, and soups are also an excellent way for families, picky eaters and vegetable lovers-alike to eat their veggies.
Preparing soup at home is also an excellent way to cut back on sodium in food to improve heart health. Waiting to add salt to taste until the end of the cooking process gives vegetables, spices, and herbs a chance to bloom into their full flavor palate. By doing this you may find you use much less salt or that don’t miss it.
Makes 12 servings
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound ground buffalo or extra-lean organic (grass-fed) ground beef
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 medium-size carrots, finely chopped
1/4 pound fresh fennel (half a small bulb, tall stalks and leaves discarded), finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
2 cups canned, chopped tomatoes in juice
6 cups organic vegetable or beef broth
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 cup canned cannellini or Great Northern beans
1/2 cup whole-wheat or brown rice pasta (tube-shaped or elbows)
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Shredded Parmesan cheese
Heat the oil in a heavy 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the buffalo, chopped onion, carrots, fennel and garlic, and cook, stirring until they begin to soften, about 2 to 4 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes, broth, basil and parsley, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
Add the beans and pasta and cook, stirring frequently until the pasta is tender but firm, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish each serving with Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Per cup without Parmesan cheese: 130 calories, 3.5g fat, 1g saturated fat, 20mg cholesterol, 430mg sodium, 15g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 10g protein