Happy New Year!
How in the world can it be 2020?
For my first post of the New Year, I wanted to do something a little healthier to kick off my January Clean Eating Month. Because I believe in baby steps and there is football on today, I offer you my healthy version of Pasta e Fagioli.
What makes this soup/stew healthier?
I offer you a couple of swaps-
Swap #1 -use ground turkey as your protein instead of ground beef. But…if you have carnivores that want beef, drain the beef and wipe down your pot to reduce that fat.
Swap #2- use farro or bulgur instead of ditalini.
I use tons of fresh vegetables- carrots, onions, celery, fresh spinach- kale would be fantastic as well. Fresh herbs and lemon are added to give this soup a burst of flavor- the rosemary just perks up everything. And, of course, beans. Beans are full of fiber and protein. I chose dark red kidney beans, but white beans are fantastic as well. Dark red kidney beans offer 8.7 grams of protein per serving and 6.4 grams of fiber. One bowl of this satisfying soup will fill you up, but not pack on the pounds.
January is a natural time for us all to take stock of our health and try to eat better. This month I will focus on offering you simple, but super healthy options. Even Friday Cocktail Hour will have either low calorie or low carb cocktails. But, for today, when we all might have a tiny headache, make this comforting bowl of goodness. The leftovers make a great lunch or share with a neighbor. Enjoy!
Healthy Pasta e Fagioli
1 lb ground sirloin or ground turkey
1 TBSP olive oil
3 carrots, peeled and chopped into coins
4 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1- 16 oz can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups fresh spinach or kale, washed, stemmed removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 TBSP fennel seeds, crushed
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped fine
juice of one lemon
1 box- 26.46 oz chopped tomatoes
1- 14.5 oz can unsalted beef broth
1 cup ditalini pasta, bulgur or farro, cooked
Method- Prep time- 30 minutes. Cooking time- 1 hour. Serves 6-8
- In a large Dutch Oven, on medium heat, brown beef or turkey until almost done- about 5-7 minutes. The meat will compete cooking while it simmers in the soup. Remove, drain the fat from the meat and wipe down the pot with a paper towel to remove excess fat.
- Heat olive oil over medium heat, add in carrots, celery and onions and sauté 6-8 minutes until fragrant. Add in minced garlic, bay leaf, rosemary, fennel, red pepper flakes, oregano and salt and pepper. Cook 1 minute.
- Next, add in tomatoes. Cook until warmed through. Add in beef broth. You can swap in chicken broth if desired. Add back in cooked beef or turkey and beans. Bring to a boil for 1 minute. Cover and simmer on low for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to prevent sticking.
- In another pot, while the soup is simmering, boil 6 cups of water. Add pasta or grains. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- To complete the soup: Remove cover, add in juice of lemon and spinach or kale. Simmer another 5 minutes. Check for seasonings. Add more salt or pepper if desired. Remove bay leaf.
In large bowls, add in one serving of the cooked pasta or grains, then top with soup.
If you are feeling decadent, you can top with grated parmesan.
When storing leftovers, keep the grains or pasta separate from the soup so it s does not soak up all the broth and become gummy.