Beans and pasta are served up in a garlicky tomato base to create this vegan pasta e fagioli that’s topped with a sprinkling of crunchy coconut bacon.
This past weekend I had brunch with my family and took the opportunity to prod everybody about their favorite comfort foods. I do this quite a bit lately in the hopes of getting some ideas for the blog. Anyhow, Mom was the first to chime in with a response of pasta e fagioli.
That wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. I’d been thinking childhood junky kinds of foods…more along the lines of cheesy burgery casseroley marshmallow-coated things one might not go near with a ten foot pole as an adult. What could be more fun to veganize? Pasta e fagioli isn’t quite that. It’s actually pretty darn respectable, and not all that tough to veganize.
Nevertheless, I took note of her suggestion, and wouldn’t you know it, on the way home that afternoon I up and decided to swing by the store and cook up some pasta e fagioli for dinner. Sometimes after a morning of slamming mile high stacks of pancakes you need a little respectable food for dinner.
Respectable or not, this stew was certainly comforting. I sprinkled my version with coconut bacon after learning that panchetta (some form of bacon or another?) is a key ingredient in some authentic Italian versions of the dish. That and the fact that coconut bacon makes everything better.
Pasta e Fagioli
- 3 cups small dried pasta shells
- 1 tbsp. olive oil, plus extra for pasta
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup dried brown lentils
- 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 tsp. dried
- 1/2 tsp. dried basil
- 1-14 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1-14 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1-14 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- salt and pepper to taste
- chopped fresh parsley, for serving
- coconut bacon, for serving
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pot. Toss with a few dashes of olive oil.
- Coat the bottom of a large pot with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and place over medium heat. When oil is hot add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add broth, lentils, rosemary and basil. Raise heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat and allow to simmer until lentils are almost fully cooked but still a bit firm at their centers, about 20 minutes. Add tomatoes, chickpeas and cannellini beans. Bring back to a simmer and allow to cook until lentils are tender, about 10 minutes more.
- Transfer about 1/3 of soup to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Return to pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide pasta into bowls and ladle soup over top. Sprinkle with parsley and coconut bacon. Serve.
I didn't include coconut bacon in the nutrition information, since it will vary depending on how much you use. You can refer to the coconut bacon recipe for that info.