One way to bump up the fiber content in pasta recipes is to add a magical legume- like beans! Beans are packed with lots of good stuff, like B vitamins and iron, which are important especially for vegetarians to consume from non-meat sources to prevent against feeling run down. The Italians have been combining pasta and beans for centuries, known as pasta e fagioli.
The vegetarian beans and pasta combo is an inexpensive way of forming a complete protein because the beans contain the essential amino acids that pasta lacks, and vice versa. While it’s not absolutely necessary to combine vegetarian protein sources together in the same meal, it’s good to at least mention it because I personally like when my meals are complete- it makes me feel a little more secure in maintaining my balanced eating mindset.
Beans absorb the flavor of the dish when cooked along with the other ingredients. You can even puree the beans ahead of time and stir them into the dish at the end of the cook time to go unnoticed by your picky little ones, and add a creamy texture to the dish.
The great thing about recipes is that they are just a guide, and you have the freedom to use them how you like to make your own special creations.
Here’s a healthy, hearty winter pasta recipe that uses chicken broth instead of water for cooking. My mom has been making her own version of this recipe for years, and is still one of my favorite recipes.
Vegetarians, feel free to sub chicken broth for vegetable broth. I love the extra layer of richness added by using broth instead of water.
I also like to use rotini pasta because it’s spiral shape seems to hold in flavors the best compared to other pastas with less surface area.
Wild Oats Pasta with Broccoli and Beans Recipe
½ box of Wild Oats Rotini Pasta
½ a can of Wild Oats Organic Garbanzo Beans , or White Beans, as pictured
1 32 ounce container Wild Oats Organic Chicken Broth
1 teaspoon Wild Oats Organic Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Wild Oats Organic Onion Powder
1 Tablespoon Wild Oats Organic Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 head broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces, or 3 cups broccoli florets
Bring the chicken stock to a boil. You will notice that you are using less liquid than you normally would why cooking pasta. This is the way it should be because the objective is for most of the liquid to absorb into the pasta by the time it’s done cooking.
Add the garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper and italian seasoning and pasta to the boiling stock. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Let the pasta boil in the simmering stock and stir occassionally. When the pasta is about half way cooked, add the beans and the broccoli. Stir occasionally.
If more liquid is needed, add some more stock or some hot water. The pasta will take longer to cook than the cook time given on the box, so do a taste test when you think it looks about finished. Drain and transfer to a large bowl for serving. Drizzle a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on top and toss.
Serve with grated parmesan cheese.