Quick and Easy Dinner…Thanks to Engine 2 Marinara!


If you’re looking for “convenience in a jar,” we think that we might have the answer for you. When I head to Whole Foods Market®, I generally stock up on loads of Engine 2 products, especially the marinara sauces.  Thinking outside the (pasta) box, there is a plethora of things to do with a jar of our delicious, fat-free sauce. Sure it is delicious on pasta or rice, but it also makes a fabulous and hearty soup base, dipping sauce and more.

Someone in my family recently asked me for an “easy” recipe for “Pasta e Ceci,” pasta and garbanzo bean soup.  It is a thick and hearty soup, based on the true Roman tradition and is infused with fresh sprigs of rosemary.  If  you’re looking for a hearty and easy soup, your search has ended.

This is a sentimental favorite for me because it was the soup that we ate at my grandmother’s when I was a child.  There’s always nostalgia and family history associated in the delicious foods we eat, and I really like converting family favorite foods into bountiful, plant-strong dishes.

Here’s the recipe. It should only take you about twenty minutes to make from stove to table.  Make sure that you gather all of your ingredients for your mise en place, before you begin cooking:


One jar of Engine 2 Marinara Sauce

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 medium onion, finely diced

1  15 oz. can of (rinsed) garbanzo beans

2 T of cooking wine or broth

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

1 cup of Ditilini or small shells (gluten free pastas also work very well)

1 cup of pasta water (upon draining)

The How to:

Place the diced onions in a hot pan on a medium flame, and quickly stir the onions.  When they start to turn brown, add the garlic, stir, and in 30 seconds, then add the two-tablespoons of liquid.

Once you deglaze the pan with the added liquid, add the jar of sauce and rosemary.  Stir ingredients well.  Add half of the beans.  Take the other half and pulse them in a food processor, then, add the bean puree to the soup base.

Cover and let simmer, as the pasta cooks.

In a separate pot of boiling water, add the pasta and cook until “al dente,” (following instructions on the pasta box).  When the pasta is done, reserve one cup of pasta water and add it to the soup.

Strain the pasta, and rinse with cold water.  Add the pasta to the soup and stir well.  Remove rosemary, and let cook for an additional five minutes.

Serve with fresh basil garnish.

You’ll have a nice, thick, garbanzo bean stew!


My grandmother always used cheese rinds for added flavor in her cooking.  Here’s a super, plant-tastic replacement that will give the same flavor and texture.

2 T of pine nuts or almonds

2T of walnuts

1t of garlic powder

2T of nutritional yeast

Place nut mixture in a dry-food container from your blender, and pulse until it looks like “grated cheese.”  Do not over blend or pulse, because you will have a “nut butter.” Store in a glass container in the fridge.  Use as a condiment, and sprinkle a teaspoon on top of your delicious “zuppa.”  Great as a sprinkle on for salads and vegetables, too!

I’d suggest making a double batch of the soup, because it will fast become a crowd-pleaser.  The soup also freezes very well.

Buon Appetito!

Pianta-Forte (plant-strong)!