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Boost Your Fiber Intake With Chunky Pasta and Bean Soup

Published in Cancer Care, For the Health of It, Healthy Eating Tips Author: Clinical Dietitian Emily Rothstein, RD, CSO, Coborn Cancer Center

Fast recipes are my favorite recipes. And, if it fits with the season — even better! When it’s dark early and cold all the time, I’m on the lookout for comfort recipes to help get me through.

This month features a plant-based soup packed with lots of veggies and is meat-free. Yep, that’s right, no meat. Perfect for those of you who are struggling with chemotherapy-related taste changes and who find yourself hating animal protein, right?!

Instead, canned beans provide the necessary protein for this meal. Not to mention, between all those vegetables and beans, this soup has 6 grams of fiber per serving — well on your way to the recommended 25 grams of fiber per day for women and 38 grams of fiber per day for men.

Feel free to change up ingredients based on your preference and what you have at home. Most vegetables will work — bell pepper would be a great one! Also, any small pasta will do.

If you want to control how much pasta is in the dish, cook the pasta in a separate pot and portion into your bowl before topping with desired amount of soup. If you prefer a thicker soup, add dry pasta right to the pot and simmer until tender. Bonus: less dishes if you do this this way.

To make it a more complete meal, pair up with grilled cheese, a fresh slice of bread or a lettuce salad. Yum!


  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • ½ tsp. dried rosemary
  • 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can cannellini or white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 cups of coarsely chopped escarole, swiss chart or baby spinach
  • 1 cup ditalini or other small pasta
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese, optional


  1. In a stockpot over medium heat, add the oil. Sauté the onion, carrots and celery for 5-8 minutes, or until softened.
  2. Add the garlic, basil, oregano, thyme and rosemary and sauté for 1 minute.
  3. Add the broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the beans and escarole and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring to combine.
  6. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, prepare the ditalini according to the package directions for al dente (just firm).
  7. Add the pasta to individual bowls of soup. Serve with cheese, if desired.

Increase the amounts of vegetables if you want a more veggie-centric soup. By cooking the soup and pasta separately, you can control how much pasta there is in each serving. If you’d like a thicker, more porridge-like consistency, cook the pasta directly in the soup.

Serves 6
Calories: 220
Carbs: 39 g
Protein: 11 g
Fat: 3 g