Beans are both vegetable and protein, the only food that falls into two groups on the USDA Food Guide Pyramid. They're low in fat and calories and rich in vitamins and minerals.
They also are quick to prepare if you use canned broth and beans either canned or dry-packaged.
Italians have long relied on beans' hearty texture for trademark dishes, including soups and pastas. Minestrone Verde is a meatless soup with fresh green veggies. It is both quick and nutritious.
6 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1 large onion, sliced
1/2 cup small or medium pasta shells
15-ounce can kidney beans, or 1 1/2 cups cooked, dry-packaged kidney beans, rinsed, drained
15-ounce can Great Northern beans, or 1 1/2 cups cooked, dry-packaged Great Northern beans, rinsed, drained
2 cups sliced zucchini
1 1/2 cups small broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups cut asparagus (1-inch pieces)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, or 2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
Shredded Parmesan cheese, as garnish
Heat vegetable broth and onion to boiling in large saucepan. Add pasta, reduce heat and simmer, covered, 5 minutes.
Add beans and vegetables to saucepan; simmer, covered, until broccoli is tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in herbs and garlic; season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in bowls; sprinkle lightly with cheese.
Makes 8 servings of about 1 1/2 cups each.
Nutritional information per serving: 201 cal., 1 g fat, 39 g carbo., 204 mg sodium, 11 g pro., 9 g dietary fiber, 0 mg chol.
Recipe from: Bean Education & Awareness Network (www.americanbean.org)
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