Over the past month or so, I’ve been teaching a series of soup classes at our local senior center. I was honored to be asked back again this year – what a rewarding experience to say the least. The ladies in the class were all so gracious and it was really fun to swap food shopping tips and stories. I didn’t have a set menu for any of these classes; instead, I polled the class to see what they wanted to make next. One bowl soup meals seemed to be overwhelmingly the favorite.
One of the soups I made during this soup class series was this Easy Vegetable Bean and Pasta Soup, a bowl of comfort that has all the elements to nourish the body. There are endless possibilities when making soup. Vegetables can easily be added or swapped out. Different beans can be used. Favorite pasta shapes can be added. The base, however, is always consistent. I saute onion, carrot and celery until fragrant, then start adding the other ingredients. The idea behind teaching this soup to the class was to demonstrate that soup is extremely flexible and can provide a complete meal in a short amount of time.
You can cook the pasta directly in the soup or you can simply add some leftover cooked pasta. Just remember to add more liquid (broth or water) if you choose to cook the pasta in the soup.
Today, a group of bloggers is celebrating Severine von Tscharner Fleming, one of the Top 50 Women Game Changers In Food. I had never heard of Severine, but according to Gourmet Live, she is the founder and director of the Greenhorns, whose mission is to recruit, promote, and support young farmers. “The upshot: Nonindustrial farming is fun and it’s hip; it’s an explosive movement. And this is indubitably a good thing.” According to their website, Greenhorns is a land-based non profit serving young farmers across America whose mission is to recruit, support, promote and support young farmers in America.
In addition to creating an interactive map charting farmers under 40, Severine is making ‘‘The Greenhorns,’’ a documentary on ‘‘organic entrepreneurs.’’ ‘‘I want to show how sweet and honest and brave and purposeful they are,’’ she said of her subjects.
I thought this simple soup recipe chock full of farm fresh vegetables was representative of the movement that Severine is spearheading. Served with some whole grain bread topped with fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil, this made a nice satisfying lunch that I think Severine would approve of – I know the ladies in my class did.
Easy Vegetable Bean Soup with Pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 carrot finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary thyme, or Herbs de Provence
- 1 zucchini chopped
- 1 1/2 cups one 15-ounce can small white beans or red beans
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 1 cup cooked pasta
- 2 cups fresh spinach kale, or other leafy green vegetable
- Heat oil in a soup pot. Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic.
- Saute until onions turn translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add rosemary and thyme and saute another minute.
- Add zucchini, beans and broth.
- Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes until vegetables are tender.
- Stir in cooked pasta and cook until warmed through.
- Add spinach and cook about one minute until just cooked through.
This soup recipe is extremely flexible. Instead of rosemary and thyme, try substituting your favorite herb mix, e.g., Italian seasoning, Herbs de Provence, Fines Herbes. Use whatever beans/lentils and leafy green vegetables you have on hand.