1 Small Onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 large celery stalk, chopped
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp dried thyme
1 32 oz can diced tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 (32 oz carton - 4 cups) vegetable broth
1 medium zucchini; sliced into halves or quarters
1/4 cup canned or cooked red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup canned or cooked cannellini beans, chickpeas, or great northern beans, drained and rinsed
water-add only as much as needed to cover vegetables
1/4 cup dried small shell pasta
1 cup fresh baby spinach, chopped
1/2-1 tsp balsamic vinegar, optional
shredded or grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Fresh parsley finely chopped, for garnish
In a large heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat.
Add onions, garlic, carrots and celery and saute for about 4 minutes, or until vegetables are slightly softened.
Add basil, oregano and thyme and cook for an additional 1 minute. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, vegetable broth ad both of the beans. Depending on how large your pot is, add just enough water to cover the vegetables.
Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 2-25 minutes.
Stir in the dried pasta shells and zucchini and cook for another 10 minutes, or until pasta is cooked. Stir in the spinach and allow to wilt (about 1-22 minutes). Add more water as needed if you like a thinner soup.
Season with more salt and pepper as needed and stir in balsamic vinegar (if using)
Serve warm with bread and top with Parmesan cheese and garnish with parsley if desired.