Hearty Italian comfort food with an extra nutrition kick: Pasta and Bean Soup with Greens.
This month’s Recipe ReDux theme:
A New Ingredient for the New Year
Pick a new ingredient that you’ve been wanting to try… and cook or bake up a new recipe in the new year. Are you curious about fish sauce, matcha, teff – or maybe even ugli fruit? Show us how you’re cooking with something new (to you!) in 2016.
So, what’s my new ingredient? (Clearly it’s not pasta, beans or leafy greens – items that are regularly in my kitchen.)
It’s actually nutritional yeast. I’ve been curious about trying it for awhile now -to see what it taste like and learn more about its nutritional benefits.
Rather that come up with some funky out-of-the box recipe, I figured I’d follow the food advice I’ve always given parents when it comes to feeding kids – serve a new food with familiar and well-liked foods.
And pasta is my security blanket 🙂
I’ve been making a version of pasta bean soup or “Pasta Fah-jule” for many years but ironically I’ve never posted a recipe for it. Probably because it’s one of those recipes that I know by heart and I eyeball the ingredients instead of precisely measuring.Traditional Pasta e Fagioli gets a nutrition upgrade via @tspbasil #thereciperedux Click To Tweet
It’s also one of those recipes where I use kidney beans one time then pinto beans the next. Dilanti pasta this time then whole wheat elbows another time. It’s truly of those “use what you have on hand” recipes which I’m trying to cook more of in 2016 as way to be mindful about food waste and food dollars.
So onto the point of the post: nutritional yeast.
You can buy it in powder form (I bought Bragg Nutritional Yeast Seasoning at my Whole Foods.) It’s dry yeast fortified with B vitamins including Vitamin B12, which is naturally found in animal foods.
Vitamin B12 is essential for nerve growth, creating DNA and producing energy in the body and if you are vegetarian or vegan, you need to get it through fortified food or supplements. Nutritional yeast powders (read the label to make sure B12 is an ingredient!) typically are a good source of B12 – the Bragg product provides 40% of the Daily Value needed for adults in one serving (one tablespoon.)
I found it to be meaty tasting in a mushroom flavor way – it’s definitely the definition of the savory taste of umami. And while it didn’t taste like my favorite aged Asiago, it still was a nice flavor enhancer to my bowl of vegan Pasta e Fagioli.
In addition to using nutritional yeast, this is the first time I added greens to the soup. As a kid, I DEPLORED when my mom made me take a bite of the escarole in her homemade Italian wedding soup – so much so that I thought I hated that soup for years. (Side note: Sally of Real Mom Nutrition wrote a brilliant post on this very issue recently: Should You Make Your Kids Take “Just One Bite?”)
So, if the greens in the soup are a turnoff to your kids (or spouse in my case) by all means, leave them out and serve a salad or other veggie with the meal instead.
As for the nutritional yeast, I’d love to hear if you or anyone if your family has tried it. My 8 year old passed on it this time but next time I’m going to try mixing it into mac & cheese.
Check out all the new ingredients my fellow ReDuxers tried out this month in the thumbnail recipes below: