Although it is 58 degrees and sunny today here in New Hampshire, I know there are several more brutal weeks of cold before REAL SPRING arrives.  Plenty of chilly nights where this yummy, fiber-rich soup will fill you up and make your taste buds smile.

FIBER is an often overlooked component of a healthy diet.  Many times the focus is put on calories, protein and fat and we forget that fiber helps to keep the belly full and has also been linked with decrease risk of many chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.  Many of my clients track their food on their computer or phone, if you do this, be sure to take a few minutes each week to see how man grams of fiber, on average, you are consuming.  The target range is 25-35 grams of fiber per day.  Be sure to gradually increase your fiber intake to this range.  Increasing dietary fiber too fast/too soon may lead to bloating and cramping.

Beans are an excellent source of soluble fiber. 1 cup of black beans has 15 grams of fiber and a cup of lentils has 16 grams (18 grams of protein). In addition to fiber, beans are also a great source of inexpensive lean protein.

I always try to keep several cans in my pantry to toss into soups, stews and stir fries.

My friend Lara was kind enough to share the recipe below and it has become a family favorite – ENJOY

Chickpea & Cavatelli Soup 

*3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
*2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
*1 carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
*1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped
*2 cloves garlic, chopped (I usually add more)
*Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
*6 cups vegetable stock
*1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
*8 oz cavatelli (I use whole wheat elbows)
*Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
*2 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (I tend to use about 1/4 cup)
*Grated Parmesan Cheese

Heat oil in 6 qt saucepan over medium-high. Add celery, carrot, onion, rosemary and garlic and cook until soft, 8-10 minutes. Add stock and chickpeas and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove half of chickpeas and puree until smooth; return chickpeas to pan. Add pasta and cook until al dente, 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with parsley and Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

Also very good reheated. Serves 4-6

To your Health – Noreen Gallo MSRD