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.