“What’s For Dinner Dad?” Their eyes waited patiently for my reply as I saw them notice the Barilla® Elbow Pasta on the counter. As I informed them that we would be having minestrone soup, their mouths immediately began to water as they walked slowly off to the bath to get ready for their evening. See…dinner always comes after baths at our house. We finish up dance classes or sports and come home to sit down as a family to eat dinner. It doesn’t happen every night, but tonight it was a confirmed family dinner. So when my friends at Barilla asked me to compete with my fellow dads to make an awesome recipe in 30 minutes or less…I had to say yes!
My kids have alway been drawn to pasta. I think all kids are. Our family eats a plant-based diet so, the Barilla Elbow Pasta ingredients worked out perfectly. Other than some simple vitamins and minerals, the main ingredients in this pasta are semolina (wheat) and durum wheat flour. I would say, the most important part of any pasta is the “al dente” texture once they are finished. Kids can tell “soggy pasta” from a mile away, so it was important that the pasta for this soup was up to the challenge. Barilla didn’t disappoint.
For any good chef of the house, a sous chef is always a big help. For this recipe, I was lucky enough to have my daughter join me. I supervised her closely as she chopped the fresh vegetables and mixed the spices into our bowl. For me, helping my daughter cook feels amazing. Spending time together with her in the kitchen is something I will always remember, and I know someday she will look back fondly on these times when she is cooking for her own family. I can only hope that the small tips and tricks I teach her will live on in her mind and she will hopefully surpass my dadly culinary expertise in the kitchen.
In this dish, the pasta take the main stage and you can use as much or as little as you’d like. Since my kids love pasta, we used a bit more than the 8oz. that the recipe calls for, which makes the dish more like a traditional pasta than a soup. For leftovers, feel free to add any of the Barilla Pasta Sauces to your dish for a slightly different twist. Whether you make this as a soup (as the recipe calls for below) or as a pasta dish, it will leave you feeling light, yet satisfied. The combination of flavors blends wonderfully and you can throw your ingredients in the pot and go finish up bath time with the kids. The prep time is simple…the hard part is waiting while the amazing flavors blend and the aroma fills your house!
As you can imagine, our lives with three kids are pretty busy. It’s really great to have meals like these that are quick dinners and stress free cooking, but also they can really help with school lunches. There are always leftovers to use the next day and the perfect texture of the noodles in this recipe keeps my kids coming back for more! We love the elbow pasta, but Barilla has 38 different cuts of pasta and 14 different sauce varieties to choose from, so you can make your perfect combination any way you’d like!
The most important part of this recipe to me is the time spent with my girl. By working together to create a wonderful tasting recipe, we are spending quality time together and focusing on what really matters…family around the dinner table. Have a great week everyone! Full recipe is below for you.
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 4 stalks of celery, cleaned and diced
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- One 15oz. can of tomato juice
- One 15oz. can of diced tomatoes
- 8oz. of Barilla Pasta noodles
- One 15oz. can of red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- One 15oz. can of white beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 large handfuls of freshly chopped baby spinach
- 1 tsp. coriander (sub for cumin if you don't have coriander)
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. basil
- 1 tsp. paprika
- Sea salt to taste
- Fresh chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
- In a large pot, over medium heat, simmer the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery in the vegetable broth for 20 minutes.
- Add the tomato juice, diced tomatoes, dry pasta noodles, beans, spinach, and spices. Continue cooking for 20 more minutes.
- Salt the soup to taste and serve topped with fresh parsley! Enjoy!