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Vegan Pasta e Fagioli Soup (Gluten Free Optional)

Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup navy beans
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large or 2 small onions diced
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 ounces pasta rigatoni, caserecce, rotini, and elbows are all great here; use a brown rice or quinoa pasta for a gluten free option
  • 1 14- ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 6 ounces baby spinach
  • Pepper to taste
  • Optional stir-ins: 1/4 cup chopped and packed basil 1/4 cup chopped and packed parsley, 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Instructions

  • Place the navy beans in a bowl and cover them with 3 cups water. Allow them to sit overnight, or for 8 hours. Drain them, rinse them, and set them aside.
  • Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy bottomed pot or a Dutch oven. Add the onions and sprinkle them with salt. Saute the onions for 7-8 minutes or until they're very soft and clear. Add the celery and continue cooking until the celery is soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.
  • Add the navy beans and the bay leaf, along with enough water to cover the beans by 1 inch. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer until the beans are tender but not mushy (this should take 45-75 minutes). Check the beans starting at the 45 minute mark, and if they're not ready, check them every ten minutes until they're tender.
  • Remove the bay leaf. Add the pasta, tomatoes, thyme, salt, and pepper to the soup. Add 1 1/2 cups additional water, or more/less as needed (depending on how soupy or stew-like you want the pasta to be; it will thicken considerably as the pasta cooks). Cook, stirring every couple of minutes, until the pasta is cooked al dente (about 8 minutes). Stir in the baby spinach and cover the soup for a few moments to allow the spinach to wilt. Keep stirring until the spinach is tender and cooked into the soup.
  • Taste soup to adjust seasoning and add water as needed. If you like, stir in herbs or basil. Serve soup with a small drizzle of olive oil if desired, or with crackers or a hunk of crusty bread. Soup will keep in the fridge, covered, for up to five days, and can be frozen for up to a month.