Stick-to-Your Ribs Cabbage and Bean Soup With Pasta

17 Dec

Cabbage-Bean-Pasta SoupThis is my favorite winter soup recipe. I adapted it from one I got at a Weight Watchers meeting many years ago; I make it every winter. It can stand on its own for lunch – or add a salad and some crusty bread to make a nice dinner. The hardest part of this recipe is opening and recycling all the cans!

The recipe makes a huge potful of soup, but it lasts well in the fridge. The original recipe says it is 3 points per 1½-cup serving, but the Weight Watcher system has changed since then so I can’t say what the points value is now. If you use vegetarian soy crumbles instead of beef, as I do, the soup will have fewer calories and less fat. You can also use high-fiber pasta. Even with regular pasta, it’s high fiber and low fat – and very tasty.

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef (or 1 bag veggie “beef” crumbles)
2 tsp. vegetable oil (if you use beef)
3 cups water
A small head of cabbage (1 to 2 lb.), chopped
Large can tomato juice
1 Tbs. dried oregano
1½ tsp. garlic powder
1½ tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. dried thyme
3 15-oz. cans kidney beans, Great Northern beans or a combination, drained and rinsed
3 14.5-oz. cans diced tomatoes, not drained
2 14-oz. cans fat-free beef or vegetable broth (or use 2 cups water and 2 tsp. beef or vegetable stock powder)
8 oz. uncooked pasta (I like elbow macaroni best, but you can also use spaghetti or angel hair pasta broken into smaller pieces or another small shaped pasta like shells)

Directions:

If you use beef, heat the oil in an 8- or 12-quart Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat and cook the beef until browned, stirring to crumble it. Drain well and return to pan.

Add all remaining ingredients except pasta. If you use veggie crumbles instead of beef, add them at this point as well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Add a little water if the soup seems too thick.

After 2 hours, raise heat if necessary to bring soup to a boil. Add pasta (if you use spaghetti or angel hair, break it into small pieces) and cook at medium-low heat for another 8 to 10 minutes until pasta is done.

Serves 12

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