A hearty vegetarian soup with lots of protein and plenty of flavor
1 1/2 c dried cannellini or navy beans
1 1/2 c dried kidney beans
About 12 cups stock or water
About 1/4 cup olive oil
1 lg. onion finely chopped
3-4 garlic cloves or more, peeled and chopped
4 celery stalks, including leaves, thinly sliced, more if you want
3 carrots, 3/4” thick or so, chopped, more if you want
1 tsp crushed red pepper or 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to your liking
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. basil
Onion and Garlic powders, opt.
Two 16 oz. cans tomatoes or 1 lg. can tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley (washed) or 2 Tbsp. dried parsley
About a Tbps. of pesto, opt.
Half box whole wheat or whole grain penne or cork screw pasta
Parmesan cheese for garnish
1. Sort through the dried beans picking out stones, broken or split, and nasty-looking ones. Rinse with water. Drain.
2. Fill lg. bowl with about 9 cups water, 1 Tbsp. salt and beans for soaking overnight. Next day, drain and rinse. Add about 10 cups of water or stock in lg. pot. Add beans, some onion powder and garlic powder if you have some. Bring to a boil; cover and simmer until beans are tender, adding some water or stock if needed.
3. In another large pan, sauté the onion, garlic, celery and carrots in olive oil for about 10 minutes on medium heat. Add the oregano, basil, “the heat” (cayenne), and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for about an hour.
4. Boil the pasta in at least 1 Tbsp. of salt added to the water to season the pasta. Drain and add the sauce and pasta to the bean mixture. Now’s the time to add the fresh parsley and pesto. Taste for seasoning i.e. salt and pepper more basil, oregano. I usually add more water or stock here so it, too, can get flavorful because when the entire soup is finished and pasta is added, for some reason, the stock becomes really thick and I have to add more stock.
5. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. The left over fresh parsley leaves can be frozen, too, for future use.
6. If you want to use canned beans, I think 2 cans of each kidney and white beans, drained and rinsed many times. But then you won’t need that much stock.