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Vegan: Pasta Fagioli with Cranberry Beans and Kale

By Susan Voisin, FatFree Vegan Kitchen

Since the weather got cooler, I’ve been making a lot more soups and stews. And since I’ve been test-driving a new 
Instant Pot (more about that in an upcoming post), I’ve been pressure cooking a lot of dried beans. So it was only natural to use my new gadget to make a soup/stew starting with dried beans. But don’t worry–you don’t have to have a pressure cooker to make this thick, Italian-inspired soup because I’ll tell you how to make it in either a pressure cooker or in a regular pot on the stove.

I’ve had these beautiful cranberry beans sitting in a jar in my kitchen for a while, and though they make for an attractive decoration, beans do get old and should be used before they’re eligible for social security. So when I saw a Food Network recipe for Cranberry Bean Pasta Fagioli, I knew I had to make–and veganize–it. And pressure cookerize it. And fatfree-ize it. You get the picture. By the time I got through doing all that and doubling the amount of beans, it wasn’t much like the original. But it was delicious.

You don’t have to go searching for cranberry beans if you don’t have them because this recipe works just as well with pinto beans (cranberry beans have a slightly nuttier flavor, but with all the other flavors in this soup, I doubt you’ll notice). I used whole wheat pasta, but any pasta, including gluten-free, will do. I also used tomatoes from a box to avoid BPA, but you could use one of those big cans of tomatoes if you prefer. And I have a big rosemary bush right outside my kitchen window, so using fresh is easy for me, but you could always substitute dried.

I was actually very surprised at how much my family loved this dish. I’ve made other “pasta and beans” dishes, but this is one of the few times I’ve started with dried beans, and I really think it makes a difference. Lately it can be hard to get my daughter to eat beans, other than chickpeas, so I was thrilled when she liked this so much. I served it with a large chopped salad and that was all we needed for a hearty meal.

Read on and get the recipe here

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