Fall has really arrived in Texas now, with temperatures getting lower and lower. Along with the cool weather comes the need for some warm, comforting dishes, including this quick and hearty Black Bean, Pasta, Bacon, and Vegetable Soup — which I call Brazilian Minestrone. If you have ever tasted a classic minestrone, I know you will become a fan of our soup.
Minestrone means “a big soup”… or a thick soup of Italian origin made with beans, pasta or rice, and vegetables such as onions, celery, carrots, and tomatoes.
Ours contains basically the same ingredients, but with a few variations. White beans have been replaced by black beans, a popular ingredient in Brazilian cuisine… and I have also added bacon to the soup (just as one would find in a feijoada).
Although this type of soup is known as ‘sopa de feijão com macarrão e verduras’ (black bean soup with pasta and vegetables), it is actually a variant of the Italian minestrone — well, at least this particular version of black bean soup. I can only imagine that this must be due to the influence of Italian immigration in Southern Brazil.
I remember my mother used to make hers by pureeing either pinto bean or black bean leftovers in the blender and then cooking them with angel hair pasta — and oh how I used to love its comforting flavor. But there is more than one version of black bean soup in Brazil. Most of them are made with pinto beans or black beans (pureed or not), a pasta of one’s choice, and other optional ingredients such as bacon, beef or sausage, and a variety of different vegetables.
Ours is definitely more similar to the Southern Brazilian version.
Well, enjoy a good bowl of our Brazilian minestrone soup accompanied by your favorite bread… and stay warm.
Brazilian Minestrone (Black Bean, Pasta, Bacon, and Vegetable Soup)
- 4-5 strips of thick sliced smoked bacon chopped
- 1/2 large yellow or white onion chopped
- 1/3 cup diced carrots (if using baby carrots, simply slice them into rounds)
- 1/3 cup diced celery
- 1 can black beans 26.5 oz/751 g, or homemade black bean leftovers
- 4 cups beef stock
- 1 cup canned tomatoes and their juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup mezzi rigatoni pasta or any other small pasta of your choice such as macaroni or pasta shells
- 1 bay leaf
- Chopped cilantro or parsley optional
In a medium to large non-stick saucepan, cook the chopped bacon over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the onions and sweat them for about 3 to 5 minutes in the bacon fat. Add the carrots and celery and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the beans, beef stock, tomatoes and their juice, salt and pepper to taste, pasta, and bay leaf.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; then cover, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for about 10 to 12 minutes (or until pasta is cooked). Remove bay leaf and adjust the salt and pepper if necessary. Serve hot, sprinkled with chopped cilantro/parsley (if desired) and accompanied by bread. Enjoy!
To make a vegetarian version of this Brazilian minestrone soup, omit bacon and add 2 to 3 Tablespoons of olive oil to the recipe in order to sauté vegetables. If desired, other vegetables can be added to this soup such as 1/3 cup of chopped potatoes, pumpkin, or butternut squash.