Slow Cooker Vegetarian Pasta e Fagioli Soup Recipe with Whole Wheat Orzo
I made Vegetarian Pasta e Fagioli Soup in my new Ninja Cooker, but you can use any slow cooker to make this delicious tummy-warming soup!
Pasta e Fagioli means simply “pasta and beans” and there are many variations of this traditional Italian soup. If you have an Italian grandmother, this is the soup she probably made for you, or perhaps you’ve had a version of it at an Italian restaurant. Either way, this soup is Italian comfort food at its best. In Utah we’re right smack in the middle of those spring weather fluctuations where the temperature can drop 20 degrees overnight, and this Slow Cooker Vegetarian Pasta e Fagioli Soup tasted great when I tried it out with my brother Rand on one of those chilly days.
I made this soup in the new Ninja Cooker that my wonderful blogging and real-life friend Lydia sent me as a housewarming present. Lydia got a Ninja Cooker a few months ago and she was so sure I would love it too that before I even closed on the new house she promised to send me one for a housewarming present. (Thanks Lydia!)
And Lydia is right about this fantastic little cooking gadget; the convenience of being able to saute things right in the slow cooker and then switch to slow cooking is especially great. However, I’m not trying to convince you that everyone needs a Ninja Cooker, so rest assured that any recipes I’m making in the Ninja can also be made in a regular slow cooker, and I’ll give instructions that make it clear how to make the dish either way.
Heat the olive oil and saute the onion (either in a pan on the stove or in the Ninja Cooker) until it’s starting to soften, about 4 minutes.
Add the chopped celery and carrots to the onion and cook 3-4 minutes more. Then add the minced garlic, Italian Herb Blend, Spike, fennel and red pepper flakes and saute about 1 minutes more. (Transfer to slow cooker if you’re sauteeing in a pan.)
Rinse the canned red beans until no more foam appears.
Add the beans, vegetable stock, and tomato sauce to the slow cooker and season the soup with a little salt and fresh ground black pepper and start to cook.
And if you really want to get the full Italian grandmother flavor, add a couple of Parmesan rinds to the soup when you start cooking it. (This is optional, you can add more Parmesan to the finished soup if you don’t have a rind.)
After the soup has cooked 3-4 hours on high (or 6-7 hours on low), add the whole wheat orzo and cook about 40 minutes more.
Stir in balsamic vinegar to finish the soup and serve hot, with chopped parsley and freshly grated Parmesan to add at the table. If you’re a slow cooker fan, click here for more Slow Cooker / Pressure Cooker Recipes on my other site!
Slow Cooker Vegetarian Pasta e Fagioli Soup with Whole Wheat Orzo
(Makes about 6 servings; recipe adapted from 50 Simple Soups for the Slow Cooker, although I spiced it up quite a bit.)
I used my new Ninja Cooker to make this soup, but any medium-sized slow cooker (4-5 quart size) will work.)
2 T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 T minced garlic
1 tsp. Italian Herb Blend (Use any brand of Italian seasoning that you have.)
2-3 tsp. Spike Seasoning (Or substitute any type of all-purpose seasoning blend that you like.)
1/2 tsp. ground fennel (probably optional, but it adds a lot of flavor.)
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 cans (15 oz.) red beans, rinsed and drained
3 cans (14 oz.) vegetable broth (or use homemade vegetable stock, which would be fantastic in this)
8 oz. can tomato sauce
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
several pieces Parmesan rind (optional, but does add wonderful flavor to the soup)
1/2 cup 100% Whole Wheat Orzo Pasta (could substitute any type of small whole wheat pasta, or use brown rice for gluten-free variation)
2 T good quality balsamic vinegar
freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving
chopped fresh parsley for serving
Heat olive oil (either in the Ninja Cooker or in a pan on the stove) and saute the onions until they start to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and cook 3-4 minutes more, then add the minced garlic, Italian Herb Blend, Spike Seasoning, ground fennel, and red pepper flakes and cook about a minute more. (Transfer to the slow cooker if you’re using a pan on the stove.)
While the vegetables are cooking, put the beans in a colander placed in the sink and rinse well with cold water, until no more foam appears. When vegetables are done, add the drained beans, vegetable broth, tomato sauce, salt, and fresh ground black pepper to the slow cooker (along with the Parmesan rinds if you have some) and cook on high for 3-4 hours (or on low for 6-7 hours.)
Add the orzo (or other small pasta shape) and cook about 40 minutes more. Remove Parmesan rinds and stir in the balsamic vinegar. Serve soup hot, with freshly grated Parmesan and chopped fresh parsley to add at the table.
This freezes well, and I’m glad I have some in the freezer for the next chilly spring day!
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This soup would be Phase 2 or 3 for the South Beach Diet, due to the carrots and whole wheat orzo. If you substitute another pasta shape, it needs to be whole wheat pasta for South Beach. You could make this soup lower in carbs by using less carrots, beans, and pasta, but this can never be a very low-carb soup.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn’t have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.
More Tasty Slow Cooker Soups:
Slow Cooker Soup or Stew Photo Index Page ~ Slow Cooker from Scratch
Indian-Spiced Slow Cooker Red Lentil Soup with Spinach and Coconut Milk ~ Kalyn’s Kitchen
Slow Cooker Sweet Tomato Basil Soup ~ 365 Days of Slow Cooking