Keep healthy resolutions with this pesto and bean soup

Linda Gassenheimer
Tribune News Service

Thinking of trimming the budget and waistline after the holidays? This pesto and bean soup is quick, easy on the pocketbook, healthful and delicious. A simple pesto sauce adds body and flavor to this Italian soup.

This meal can be turned into a vegetarian dinner by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

The recipe calls for acini pepe, which is a very small pasta that is perfect for soups. You can use orzo, rice-shaped pasta, or any type of small pasta. You can also use any leftover pasta you have. Break it up into equal-size, small pieces.

Helpful Hints:

— Great Northern beans can be substituted for cannellini beans.

— Thick sliced country bread or French baguette can be used instead of Italian bread.

Pasta, Pesto and Bean Soup

Olive oil spray

1 cup sliced onion

1 cup sliced carrots

31/2 cups fat-free, unsalted chicken broth

1/3 cup acini pepe pasta

1 cup rinsed and drained canned cannellini beans

1/2 cup frozen peas

Several drops hot pepper sauce

3 tablespoons reduced-fat prepared pesto sauce

2 tablespoons chopped basil (optional garnish)

Heat a large sauce pan over high heat and spray with olive oil spray. Add onion and carrots and saute, stirring, 3 minutes. Add chicken broth, pasta and beans. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, uncovered 15 minutes. Add peas and hot pepper sauce and simmer 5 minutes. Remove soup from heat and stir in pesto sauce. Sprinkle chopped basil on top.

Yields 2 servings.

Per serving: 455 calories (19 percent from fat), 9.8 g fat (1.6 g saturated, 4.1 g monounsaturated), 4 mg cholesterol, 27 g protein, 67.4 g carbohydrates, 11.8 g fiber, 368 mg sodium.

Roasted Pepper Bruschetta

2 slices Italian bread or 2 Italian rolls split in half

Olive oil spray

1/4 cup sweet roasted red peppers, sliced

Preheat broiler and line a baking sheet with foil. Spray one side of bread with olive oil and place under broiler for 1 minute. Remove and spoon roasted pepper evenly over bread. Return to broiler for 1 minute. Remove and serve with soup.

Yields 2 servings.

Per serving: 90 calories (31 percent from fat), 3.1 g fat (0.3 g saturated, 1.5 g monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 2.2 g protein, 14.4 g carbohydrates, 1.1 g fiber, 173 mg sodium.

Recipes by Linda Gassenheimer


— Linda Gassenheimer is an author of over 30 cookbooks. Her newest is “The 12-Week Diabetes Cookbook.” Find her on Facebook (@FoodNewsandViews) and Twitter (@LGassenheimer), and listen to her podcasts at