Here is a comforting bowl of pasta and cheese in a base of pureed white beans to nurture you during the frenzied pre-holiday season. Mild, high in protein, and with only 333 calories per serving; we give both vegan and dairy variations for this satisfying Macaroni and Cheese Soup.
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 medium celery stalks, finely diced
2 16-ounce cans cannelloni beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups water
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 1/2 teaspoons salt-free seasoning
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1 1/2 to 2 cups rice or regular milk, or as needed
1 1/2 cups firmly packed cheddar-style non-dairy cheese or cheddar
1 cup frozen green peas
2 cups small pasta, such as tiny shells or elbows
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and celery and saute over medium-low heat until both are golden.
2. Meanwhile, puree the beans in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add a small amount of water if necessary.
3. Cover the onion and celery with 2 cups water. Stir in the bean puree, bouillon cube, and seasonings. Bring to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat. Cover and simmer gently for 20 to 25 minutes.
4. Stir in enough rice milk or milk to give the soup a slightly thick consistency. Bring the soup to a gentle simmer once again. Sprinkle in the cheese, a bit at a time, stirring each time until fairly well melted. Add the peas and continue to cook over very low heat.
5. In a separate saucepan, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain well and stir into the soup with more rice milk, if needed, then season with salt and pepper and serve.
Serves 6 to 8.