Vegan Pasta e Fagioli
Now that the weather has finally started to turn and the East coast has cooled down a bit, it’s finally soup weather, which in my opinion is the best weather. There is nothing like a nice warm bowl of soup on a chilly fall day. So I figured it would be a good time to test out a veganized version of a popular, hearty Italian soup, pasta e fagioli.
To be completely honest I think the only time I ever had non vegan pasta e fagioli was at Olive Garden a long time ago. I remember ordering it during the unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks lunch time special and loving it. It was like the Italian version of a chili, which I guess makes sense because the translation of pasta e fagioli is literally pasta and beans.
This recipe uses TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) instead of ground sausage, which is what you usually see used in pasta e fagioli. TVP sounds like a weird hard to find ingredient, but I believe it can be found at all larger grocery stores in whatever aisle they stock the Bob’s Red Mill brand. At approximately $5 for a decent sized bag, it’s also a relatively cheap ingredient. TVP needs to be rehydrated before use & once it has been rehydrated it has a similar texture to cooked ground meat making it a perfect meat substitute. Alternatively, you could leave the TVP out or use “meatless” meat crumbles, which are usually available at most large grocery stores as well in the refrigerated vegan/vegetarian section.
For the “sausage”
⅓ c. TVP*
½ Tbsp. olive oil
½ c. yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
½ Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. smoked paprika
½ tsp. ground fennel
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
For the soup
⅓ c. carrots, diced
⅓ c. celery, diced
1 c. mushrooms, sliced
1- 14oz can of diced tomatoes
3 c. vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. dried thyme
1- 15oz can of dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 c. elbow pasta or small pasta of your choice
Couple handfuls of spinach (Optional)
Rehydrate the TVP according to directions on the package and set aside.
Over medium heat, add olive oil to a large saucepan. Add in the onions and sauté until translucent. Add in the garlic and sauté about 1 minute. Add in the rehydrated TVP, then add the soy sauce, vinegar, paprika, red pepper flakes, and fennel and sauté until everything is combined and liquid has evaporated.
Add the rest of ingredients up until the kidney beans. Bring to a boil, and then lower to simmer. Once lowered to simmer, add in the kidney beans. Simmer covered for about 30 – 45 minutes.
Towards the end of the cooking time cook your pasta according to the directions on the package. When the soup is complete add in the pasta and stir to combine.
Add spinach at the very end(if using) and top with vegan parmesan or nooch and salt and pepper to taste!
Makes approximately 6 cups of soup.
*Instead of TVP you could use “meatless” meat crumbles. If using that, I would use ¾ c. of crumbles in its place.