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Pasta and Bean Soup


It's the time of year when we enjoy eat all kinds of Holiday treats but don't like the extra it brings to the hips. So why not eat something light in between those Holiday parties? Here's a nice, filling recipe that I absolutely love and helps warm the soul at the same time. One serving is only 133 calories, so you can enjoy that piece of pie afterward and not feel so guilty. Enjoy!

PASTA BEAN SOUP
servings: 8

1 chicken or vegetable flavor bouillon cube plus 8 cups water
6 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1/8-1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2-3 cups cooked white beans like cannellini or navy (if canned, drain and rinse)
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup medium whole wheat pasta shells, orecchiette or rotini
2 cups frozen spinach, thawed and strained
6 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Combine bouillon cube, water, garlic, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper in a large pot; bring to a simmer. Partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes to intensify flavor. Meanwhile, mash 1 cup beans in a small bowl.
Scoop garlic cloves from the broth with a slotted spoon. Add mashed and whole beans to the broth, along with tomatoes; return to a simmer. Stir in pasta, cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is just tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
Stir in spinach, cover and cook just until spinach is heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each serving with a drizzle of oil, if desired, and a sprinkling of Parmesan.

Adapted from Pasta & Bean Soup at Eating Well

NOTE: chicken broth or vegetable stock can be used instead of the bouillon cube and water.

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