Food & Drink

Keep healthy resolutions with this pesto and bean soup

Linda Gassenheimer’s Dinner in Minute’s. This is a pasta pesto and bean soup with roasted red pepper bruschetta. ( AL DIAZ / MIAMI HERALD STAFF /TNS)
Linda Gassenheimer’s Dinner in Minute’s. This is a pasta pesto and bean soup with roasted red pepper bruschetta. ( AL DIAZ / MIAMI HERALD STAFF /TNS)

By Linda Gassenheimer, Tribune News Service

Thinking of trimming the budget and waistline after the holidays? This pesto and bean soup is quick, easy on the pocketbook, healthful and delicious. A simple pesto sauce adds body and flavor to this Italian soup.

This meal can be turned into a vegetarian dinner by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

The recipe calls for acini pepe, which is a very small pasta that is perfect for soups. You can use orzo, rice-shaped pasta, or any type of small pasta. You can also use any leftover pasta you have. Break it up into equal-size, small pieces.

Helpful Hints:

• Great Northern beans can be substituted for cannellini beans.

• Thick sliced country bread or French baguette can be used instead of Italian bread.

Countdown:

• Prepare soup.

• Preheat broiler.

• While soup cooks, make bruschetta.

PASTA, PESTO AND BEAN SOUP

Yield: 2 servings

Olive oil spray

1 cup sliced onion

1 cup sliced carrots

3 1/2 cups fat-free, unsalted chicken broth

1/3 cup acini pepe pasta

1 cup rinsed and drained canned cannellini beans

1/2 cup frozen peas

Several drops hot pepper sauce

3 tablespoons reduced-fat prepared pesto sauce

2 tablespoons chopped basil (optional garnish)

Heat a large sauce pan over high heat and spray with olive oil spray. Add onion and carrots and saute, stirring, 3 minutes. Add chicken broth, pasta and beans. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered 15 minutes. Add peas and hot pepper sauce and simmer 5 minutes. Remove soup from heat and stir in pesto sauce. Sprinkle chopped basil on top.

Per serving: 455 calories (19 percent from fat), 9.8 g fat (1.6 g saturated, 4.1 g monounsaturated), 4 mg cholesterol, 27 g protein, 67.4 g carbohydrates, 11.8 g fiber, 368 mg sodium.

Source: Linda Gassenheimer

ROASTED PEPPER BRUSCHETTA

Yield: 2 servings

2 slices Italian bread or 2 Italian rolls split in half

Olive oil spray

1/4 cup sweet roasted red peppers, sliced

Preheat broiler and line a baking sheet with foil. Spray one side of bread with olive oil and place under broiler for 1 minute. Remove and spoon roasted pepper evenly over bread. Return to broiler for 1 minute. Remove and serve with soup.

Per serving: 90 calories (31 percent from fat), 3.1 g fat (0.3 g saturated, 1.5 g monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 2.2 g protein, 14.4 g carbohydrates, 1.1 g fiber, 173 mg sodium.

Source: Linda Gassenheimer

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