Essentially this recipe is a delicious bean, spilt pea & lentil base that can be used for Pasta e Fagioli soup or as an addition to: tomato based pasta sauces; vegetable soups like minestrone or kale; stews; or even casseroles. In my house the bean base is most often used in ‘leftover soup’...heat up leftover pasta, rice or potatoes & vegetables with stock & bean base. A surprisingly good edition of leftover soup included mac & cheese. Another great edition included rice, frozen spinach and a lemony stock. The possibilities are limited only by your leftovers and your imagination. I would love to hear about your culinary creations using the bean base.
This recipe seamlessly transitions to vegetarian or vegan and the bean base is gluten free.
If you have a food processor I you may want to pull it out for this recipe, if not don’t worry about it just put something good on the radio, grab a glass of wine (optional but recommended), enlist some helpers and it will be done in a flash.
I freeze the leftover bean base in 250ml (1cup) hefty single serving portions that we pull out and use as required.
This recipe was inspired by The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook by Kim O’Donnel.
(serves at least 14, preparation time: active 30 minutes, cooking 60 minutes)
- 250ml (1cup) dried beans – cannellini, pinto, romano, cranberry, flageolet northern, etc.
- 250ml (1cup) dried green or yellow spilt peas
- 250ml (1cup) green or brown lentils
- 60ml diced organic bacon (lardons) or 30ml (2tbsp) oil/fat
- 2 onions finely diced
- 4 carrots finely diced
- 4 celery finely stalks diced
- 4 cloves of garlic sliced or diced
- 5ml (1tsp) each dried thyme, oregano & sage or 15ml (1tbsp) herbs du Provence
- 1 bay leaf
- 1ml (¼ tsp) hot pepper flakes – to taste
- Parmesan or Romano cheese rind (optional)
- 30ml (2tbsp) tomato paste or 2 chopped tomatoes (optional)
- 4-6 cups water or stock
- salt & pepper to taste
- ½ bunch parsley chopped (optional)
- Soak the beans – as discussed above
- Over medium heat in a large soup pot sauté the diced bacon until it is crispy - remove the crispy bacon. Leave 30ml (2tbsp) of the fat.
- Lower the heat to medium-low/medium and add the diced vegetables. Sauté until the vegetables are very tender and starting to dry out.
- Add the spices, beans, spilt peas, lentils, cheese rind, tomato, and stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, cover & cook until tender – 45-60 minutes.
- Add the parsley and season with salt & pepper.
Pasta e Fagioli
(serves 1, preparation time under 10 minutes)
- 250ml (1cup) bean base
- 250ml (1cup) stock or water
- 100g (4oz) dried little pasta or broken long pasta
- salt, pepper, parsley & lemon to taste
- parmesan (optional)
- Bring the bean base & stock to a boil.
- Add pasta and cook until tender
- Season with salt, pepper, parsley and lemon to taste
As an added treat garnish with the crispy bacon bits from above. Delish.