After a weekend at the lake vacationing with family (and a lot of junk food), I came home craving a healthy and light dinner. With few fresh groceries on hand, but a ton of frozen veggies and pantry-stored dried pasta and canned beans at the ready, this hearty soup was quickly simmering on my stove. The best part is that though it made a lot of soup, the left-overs freeze well and will make another easy, healthy meal when I'm in a pinch later. If you're really hungry, toast up a grilled cheese and call it a night. You won't be disappointed.

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery or one bell pepper, diced 
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces, or whatever leftover fresh or frozen veggies you have (like corn)
  • 1 tbsp. oregano (or 1 tsp. dried) - home grown!
  • 1 tbsp. rosemary (or 1 tsp. dried) - home grown!
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 28-ounce can no-salt-added diced tomatoes (I only had three cans of diced tomatoes, so I pureed two of them in my food processor ... problem solved!)
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 5 to 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth (homemade, stored in the freezer!)
  • 1 15-ounce can low-sodium kidney or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup small pasta, like elbows or shells 
  • 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil 
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about four minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add the celery/pepper and carrot and cook until they begin to soften, about five minutes. Stir in the green beans, herbs, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; cook three more minutes.
  2. Add the diced and crushed tomatoes and the chicken broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in the beans and pasta and cook until the pasta and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt. Ladle into bowls and top with the parmesan and chopped basil.

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