The burst of orange essence from the orange zest gives it a light citrusy flavor that keeps it from feeling heavy. You can serve this as a side dish or as a full meal. Either way, it’s an easy way to add a variety of colors, crunches and flavors along with healthful fiber.
I was never a fan of chorizo, even in my meat-eating days but I do like a little spice especially when the weather gets colder. In this dish, I use Field Roast brand plant-based sausages. Field Roast actually makes a chorizo-style sausage which you can use in this dish. I’m partial to their Italian style but either one will work.
The black beans add to the heartiness of the soup and bring in lots of fiber to keep you full and healthy. While oregano is not a spice I use often (unless I’m making pizza), it works well in this soup and the cumin gives an authentic Mexican flavor.
Pasta Fagioli combines both ingredients and there are many variations to this recipe. I’m using a bean called “Christmas Lima” from the Rancho Gordo company (www.ranchogordo.com). I was seduced by the beautiful marble color of the beans and the chestnut-like flavor, so I used them to replace the white beans in my mom’s recipe. Feel free to use whatever bean you have available – that’s the joy of Pasta Fagioli.
Because I did not use canned beans, I needed to soak them the night before and boil them separately to soften them up. For this recipe, I’m suggesting canned beans as a time-saver, but feel free to use whatever beans work for you depending on the time you have available.
I’m also using elbow macaroni because I happen to have it in my pantry– any small pasta will do. My mother used to break up spaghetti into bite-sized pieces in her version.
This soup is so simple and hearty. You’ll enjoy it any time of year, but it’s especially wonderful in the fall. Serve with bread and salad and you’ll want to add it to your regular rotation of meals.