Beans are a great low-fat, high-fibre protein source that's rich in folate (and other B vitamins) as well as minerals, including iron, potassium and magnesium. And they taste delicious in this Italian soup.
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3 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, halved lengthways and cut into 5mm slices
1 red capsicum, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup canned no-added-salt chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cups cooked red kidney beans
1½ cups chicken stock
125g small pasta of your choice (elbow macaroni, shells, etc.)
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over moderate heat. Add the onion, carrot, capsicum and garlic and cook for 7 minutes or until the onion is soft. Stir in the tomatoes, basil, and salt and pepper to taste, and cook for 5 minutes or until some of the tomato liquid has evaporated.
Stir in the beans, stock and 3 cups water. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes or until the beans are beginning to break up and thicken the liquid. With the back of a spoon, mash a quarter of the beans against the side of the saucepan.
Return to the boil, add the pasta and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until the pasta is firm-tender. Serve topped with Parmesan.