All leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, chard and collard greens, are high in calcium, as are legumes – beans such as navy and kidney beans and black-eyed peas. The inexpensive combination of beans and pasta make a complete protein, and a sausage, if you choose to use one, will add flavour to the entire pot of soup. Serve hot, with a chunk of crusty bread.
canola or olive oil, for cooking
1–3 fresh mild Italian or chorizo sausages (optional)
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
3/4–1 cup (185-250 ml) uncooked small pasta such as gemelli (pictured)
1 14 oz (398 ml) can tomato sauce (any spaghetti sauce works well)
4 cups (1 L) chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp (5 ml) dried thyme, oregano or basil
salt and pepper, to taste
2–3 cups (500-750 ml) (packed) spinach, kale or chard, ribs removed and leaves torn or coarsely chopped
1 19 oz (540 ml) can red or white kidney beans or black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
For those who can eat dairy products, freshly grated Parmesan makes a nice garnish.
1. In a large saucepan set over medium heat, heat a drizzle of oil and sauté the sausage, breaking it up with a spoon, until it’s no longer pink.
2. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2–3 minutes, until soft.
3. Add 2 cups water, pasta, tomato sauce, stock, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the pasta is tender.
4. Add the spinach and beans and cook the soup for another 3–5 minutes, until the spinach wilts.
5. Serve hot, topped with Parmesan if you like (for those who can eat it). Serves 4.
PER SERVING (made with 1 tablespoon oil for cooking):
371 calories, 13.9 g fat (3.9 g saturated fat, 7.2 g monounsaturated fat, 2.8 g polyunsaturated fat), 44.7 g carbohydrates, 23 mg cholesterol, 17 g protein, 9.8 g fibre.