Walking around my quaint town here in Italy, I’m amazed how many Italians are trim–and not overweight like many Americans. How can that be? They enjoy pasta often. Almost daily they eat bread, beans, and other “carbs” that we avoid when trying to lose weight. So how do they do it? Well, if you’ve heard of the Mediterranean diet, you probably know it is not a diet as in “going on a diet” but rather it is a lifestyle ““ including foods, activities, meals with friends and family, and wine in moderation. You probably don’t have the time to read all about the Mediterranean diet right now, but when you’ve got some time, find out more by clicking here. Very interesting.

In America, we tend to avoid high carb foods such as beans. In reality, we shouldn’t be avoiding them but enjoying them more often! However, the difference is that we should be eating less of them. (Oh-oh!) Maybe that’s where my problem lies! I’ve seen that an Italian serving size is often quite a bit smaller than an American serving size!

And don’t forget to combine beans with whole grains to make them complete proteins. (If you haven’t see my chart about complete proteins, I think you’ll find it very interesting!)

So if you’re on a diet, or just re-establishing a lifestyle of healthy eating, you can enjoy–in moderation–bean soup! It’s got lots of flavor. It’s inexpensive. It “sticks to your ribs”.


Ready to try it?

My recipe (below) calls for some small pasta to be cooked separately and added in at the end. However, since I most recently served this Bean Soup (pictured above) in my Bread Bowls, I left out the pasta this time since the whole grain of the Bread Bowls completed the protein in the soup. If you prefer, you can serve it with some crusty bread, with or without pasta in the soup. Just make sure you get some whole grains into your meal, alongside the Bean Soup.

As winter settles in, with chilly evenings, and rain or snow in the forecast, I hope you’ll enjoy making some of my recent soup recipes. They’re healthy, warm, filling and stretch your budget. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 3-4


  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. fennel or basil (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme (optional)
  • 2 (15 oz./400 g) cans white cannellini or soy beans
  • 1 (15 oz./400 g) can whole Italian tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 C. (250 ml) water
  • 1 T. vinegar
  • salt , pepper
  • 1 C. (15 g) small pasta shapes
  • fresh parsley (optional)



  1. In a large saucepan, saute the garlic, and optional spices in the olive oil until aromatic.
  2. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, water, vinegar, salt and pepper. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. If the soup is too thick add a bit more water.
  3. In a separate pan, cook the pasta separately, according to package directions. Stir into the soup just before serving, or put a small amount of pasta in each bowl and then add the soup. Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired.


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