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If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you know that I was a vegetarian for over four years due to an allergy to meat. While I am now able to eat poultry and seafood, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to eat red meat again. This recipe is a go-to for me when I want a big pot of comforting soup, and it’s super versatile! Want to use ground beef, ground turkey, or Trader Joe’s Beefless Beef? Go ahead! Want to use a different type of pasta? I’ve used shells, elbows, bowties, and others. Want to add more vegetables? I’ve added sauteed bell peppers, and mushrooms, but you can add whatever you want.
Start by chopping one medium onion and sauteeing it in a large pot in a few tablespoons of olive oil. When the onion is soft and translucent, add two 14.5 ounce cans of diced tomatoes, one 15.5 ounce can of cannellini beans, 32 ounces of vegetable stock, one tablespoon of Italian Seasoning, eight cups of water, salt and pepper to taste, and one cup of TVP (textured vegetable protein). Seriously–just dump it all in the pot and bring to a boil, then let simmer for 20 minutes.
I usually buy my TVP from Bob’s Red Mill, but I found a great deal on it at The Cheese Shop in Stuart’s Draft, VA. It’s a soy protein and soy flour product that works as a meat substitute in any recipe where you would use ground beef. It has a similar texture, but almost no flavor, so you’ll want to season it before using in other kinds of recipes. In the soup though, you don’t need to season it separately.
After 20 minutes, add 2-3 cups of dry pasta (I used elbow noodles this time). Simmer another 20ish minutes until the pasta is cooked.
Serve with rolls, garlic bread, or saltines. This recipe makes a HUGE pot of soup, so you’ll have leftovers for days. After the first night, the pasta soaks up a lot of the broth, so you can either add more broth, or enjoy the leftovers as they are.