This is the classic, only better! Perfect for lunch or dinner and filled with a variety of high-fiber foods and delicious flavors!
Recipe adapted from John La Puma, ChefMD and Oldways Whole Grain Council by Guido’s Own Dietitian, Rachel Alves
1 fennel bulb, untrimmed of fronds
1-2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil 1 lg. onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 lg. carrot, chopped
Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 – 14.5 oz. can diced (undrained)or crushed tomatoes
1 – 15 or 16 oz. can no-salt-added navy, white cannellini or red kidney beans, drained, rinsed and half of them mashed with a potato masher (or clean hands)
3 c. low-sodium chicken 1-1/2 c. low-sodium spicy vegetable juice ½ c. whole wheat medium-sized pasta, such as wagon wheels, rotini or shells ½ c. frozen peas ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional) ½ lb. chopped escarole or kale ½ c. shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese
Cut off and reserve 2 tbs. fennel fronds for garnish and chop enough fennel bulb to yield 1 c.
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chopped fennel, onion, celery, carrot and a pinch of salt and black pepper; cook until softened (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic and cook about 1 minute more. Add tomatoes with their juice, all of the beans, broth and vegetable juice and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, add pasta, stir well and simmer uncovered 10 minutes.
Stir in the peas and pepper flakes, if using and chopped greens. Return to a simmer; cook for an additional 5 minutes more or until pasta and fennel are tender, stirring occasionally. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with: reserved fennel fronds and cheese.
Note: Vegetable broth may replace chicken broth and crumbled feta may replace Parmesan.