Roasted Eggplant, White Bean and Ditalini Soup is hearty and warm and delicious, perfect for Fall!
If you ask me if I want soup in the summer, the answer is definitely NO. Thinking about soup when it’s warm out and the sun in shining, is just, ick, no thank you. But when it gets to be this time of year, I’m all soup all the time. I cannot get enough. It starts right around the first time it’s cool enough to need a jacket outside and lasts pretty much the entire winter. And then, a glimpse of spring and BAM! Back to salad!
I guess one of the other great things about soup is that it’s filling and lower in calories than some of the other things I cook. So even though it’s delicious, I don’t have to worry so much about it eating it. My favorite thing to do it turn one of our old standby meals into soup. I started with our favorite Roasted Eggplant Pasta, (if you haven’t tried it yet, yum!!!) and while delicious, one of the pitfalls of being vegetarian is the tendency to eat too many carbs, especially pasta. I wanted to capture the flavor but make it lighter, so I made it into a soup that still has some pasta but also some added protein. It turned out so well, I am sharing it with you!
A word about broth, stock and salt first. I usually don’t use store bought broth. I never remember to buy it and it’s often high in sodium anyway. And to me, vegetable broth often has pretty strong herb flavors that don’t always compliment what I’m trying to make. But if you’re a broth fan or have some you need to use up, by all means, substitute it for water! But make sure you leave out most of the salt in the recipe!! If you use water, like I do, add salt to taste. But be very careful if you substitute regular table salt for Kosher salt;1 tsp of regular salt would be MUCH saltier than 1 tsp of Kosher salt, they are not equivalent!
Roasted Eggplant, White Bean and Ditalini Soup
1 medium eggplant
1 large onion
1 green pepper
4-5 cloves of garlic in their skins
1 14 oz. can of white beans (Cannellini, Great Northern etc.), drained and rinsed
1 cup small pasta like ditalini
4Tb tomato paste
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp thyme
The juice of 1/4 of a lemon
1 to 1 1/2 tsp of KOSHER salt
7 cups of water
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Wash your eggplant, cut off the stem and slice it in half the long way. Place cut side down on a cookie sheet greased with olive oil. Peel the onion, cut off the ends and slice into 1/2 inch slices. Wash your green pepper, cut it into large chunks and discard the seeds and middle. Lay the onion slices, the green pepper, and the garlic cloves (still in their skins) on the cookie sheet and spray the tops of everything with olive oil or cooking spray.
2. Roast until the Eggplant is very soft, the garlic cloves are soft and the onions and peppers are soft and caramelized around the edges, between 30-50 minutes. Things may finish at different times (especially the garlic) so watch carefully.
3. Scoop out the flesh of the Eggplant and run a knife through it until it’s basically mashed. Chop the onions, peppers and the peeled garlic into a small dice.
4. Add to a big soup pot with a little bit of Olive oil and the beans. I know…roasted eggplant is not the most gorgeous thing to look at. I promise it will look better at the end and taste delicious. Really.
5. Add the tomato paste and herbs and cook for a few minutes to caramelize the tomato.
6. Add the water and salt to taste and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce to simmer and let it cook for 15-20 minutes until the mashed eggplant has pretty much dissolved into the soup.
7. Bring the soup back up to a boil, add the pasta and cook just until the pasta is al dente. (6-9 minutes). I love Ditalini pasta for this soup, it’s the perfect size and shape!