You’ll love, love, love this rich, hearty, fiber packed soup! It tastes very similar to the pasta e fagioli at Olive Garden. It’s one of the lowest-fat items on the Olive Garden menu, with 2.5 of fat per serving. My recipe actually contains more calories than theirs does because I’ve added more beans and veggies. The skinny for 1 cup of soup, 156 calories, 2 grams fat, 6 grams of fiber and 4 Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS. So flavorful, this recipe makes a TON of soup to stock your freezer with. It’s great as a first course or make the serving size 1½ to 2 cups and it becomes a very filling main-course soup. You’ll want to add this satisfying dish to your soup repertoire. It’s a keeper for sure!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey, see shopping tip
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 cups onions, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28oz) can tomatoes, diced
1 (16 oz) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (16 oz) can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 (16 oz) can great northern beans, rinsed and drained
3 (10oz) cans reduced-sodium beef broth
1 (24 oz) jar spaghetti, marinara, or pasta sauce, I used Prego’s Heart Smart pasta sauce
½ cup water
1 zucchini, chopped
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning blend, see shopping tip
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
6 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
Grated Parmesan cheese to top each bowl with, optional
1. Brown beef in a large soup pot. Drain in a colander in sink.
2. In the same pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir often.
3. Add the drained beef back to the pot. Stir in the canned tomatoes, beans, beef broth, spaghetti sauce, zucchini, water, Italian seasonings and pepper.
4. Bring soup up to a boil. Turn heat to a simmer, cover and let cook for 50 minutes.
5. Add pasta to the soup. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes longer until pasta is ready. If you like a thinner soup, just add another ½ cup water or so.
6. Ladle soup into a small bowl or cup. Top with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired
Makes 20 cups
Look for the leanest ground beef in your supermarket. I bought mine at Trader Joe’s.
I used my favorite blend of Italian spices from a company called, Spice of Life. They call it “Italian Traditions.” To find out where to buy, visit their website, www.PasoSpices.com. Or, use an Italian spice blend from the spice section of the supermarket.
Beans are loaded with protein and fiber. They actually contain a wider variety of healthy nutrients than most foods. These include calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, magnesium, folate, and alpha-linolenic acid.
Just by browning the beef and draining the fat before adding it to the soup, you’ll cut way down on the fat. It’s a simple prep tip that makes browning any type of meat healthier.
Freeze leftover soup in pint size containers. Stores like Smart and Final sell deli style plastic containers that are perfect to freeze in. They’re very reasonably priced.
Weight Watchers (old points) 2
Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS 4
|SKINNY FACTS: for 1 cup
156 calories, 2g fat, 12g protein, 25g carbs, 6g fiber, 438mg sodium, 6g sugar
|FAT FACTS: for 1 serving Olive Gardens Pasta E. Fagioli
130 calories, 2.5g fat, 17g carbs, 6g fiber, 680g sodium, 6g sugar