I have said it once and I will say it again, soup is the ultimate comfort food for me. This soup fits that comforting qualities with hearty veggies and pasta/beans in a flavorful broth. This soup is great on a cold night in or serve to a crowd. It can be switched up with the different kinds of pastas you use and served with your favorite bread. Topped with some vegan parmesan cheese and call the troops for dinner and watch the pot disappear.
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-3 slices of vegan bacon (minced) or 2 Tbsps vegan bacon bits
-1 big sprig thyme with several sprigs on it, left intact
-2 bay leaves
-1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
-1 medium onion, chopped small
-2 large carrot, chopped
-1 rib celery, finely chopped
-3 large cloves garlic, minced
-2 (15 ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
-1 cup canned tomato sauce or canned crushed tomatoes
-3 cups fresh baby spinach, left whole
-1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
-1 quart vegan chicken stock
-1 teaspoon imitation vegan pork stock powder or paste
-1 cup Israeli couscous or ditalini pasta
-Salt & fresh black pepper, to taste
-Vegan Parmesan Cheese on top
In a separate pot cook pasta or your choice to al dente. 6 to 8 minutes for ditalini or as directed for couscous. Once pasta is cooked, set aside to add to soup. (You can cook the pasta in the soup but it will soak up the broth, if you want it thicker cook in or more soupy cook out. All your choice)
Heat a deep pot over medium high heat and add oil and vegan bacon, brown the bits lightly. Add thyme, parsley, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, chopped carrots, onions, celery, and garlic. Season vegetables with salt and pepper to and cook for 5 minutes. After, Add beans, tomato sauce, and stock & vegan pork powder/paste to pot and raise heat to high, bring soup to a boil and cook until vegetables are tender.
Remove thyme stems and bay leaves from soup and Add cooked pasta. Reduce heat to medium, Add spinach and cook in soup, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until spinach is cooked. Taste for salt & pepper and season to taste, if desired. Let soup rest and begin to cool for a few minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and top with vegan parmesan cheese and serve with crusty bread on the side. Enjoy!