Pasta Soup and Butternut Squash Quesadillas

Hayley Feldman and her husband, Jesse, own a restaurant and natural wine bar in Venice Beach called Chez Tex. As a mother of two children (Loulou, 4 and Carlo, 10 months), Hayley’s always on the lookout for healthy, delicious meals (mostly vegetarian, with some fish) that will please the entire family.

Here, she shares two of her fam-favorite veggie-friendly recipes…

Pasta Soup

1/4 cup olive oil
2 large leeks, sliced into semi circles
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt to taste
White wine (optional)
Parmesan rind (optional)
32 ounces vegetable broth
16 ounce can great northern beans (or adzuki, cranberry or cannellini)
1 bunch dino kale (or any sturdy green, like swiss chard), chopped
1 cup tiny pasta (like orecchiette, or a tiny shell pasta) 


  • In a large pot heat the oil over medium heat. Once warm and shimmering, add in the leeks (chopped into semicircles is fine, or smaller if you prefer).
  • Cook until soft, translucent, and just starting to brown (about 10 minutes).
  • Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Salt everything to taste. If you have an open bottle of white wine on hand, de-glaze the pot to get all the brown bits with a splash.
  • Add in the can of beans. Stir to incorporate and salt again, before adding the vegetable broth and a parmesan rind. If you prefer a “brothier” soup, add 1 cup of water as well. Turn the heat up and bring to a simmer.
  • Let simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes. While this is happening, fill a separate pot with water and heavily salt.
  • Bring to a boil, putting in the tiny pasta to cook, per the box instructions. Once done, drain the pasta and let sit to the side. (I prefer cooking the pasta separately which keeps it more al dente in the soup and prevents it from getting too starchy. But for ease, you could throw the pasta directly into the soup mixture while it cooks).
  • In the soup pot that’s been simmering, add the chopped kale and salt again. Cook until wilted (about 5 minutes). Turn off the heat and let the flavors come together.
  • Put some of the cooked pasta into a bowl and top with the soup mixture and broth. Serve with grated parmesan, salt, and pepper to taste. Add a spoonful of pesto, if you like!

Butternut Squash Quesadillas


Olive oil
2 white onions, peeled and finely sliced
A quarter of a butternut squash, peeled and grated
2 teaspoons chipotle paste
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
50 grams of cashews, finely chopped
4 large tortillas, flour or corn
Queso fresco


  • Heat the olive oil in a pan, and add the onions and a good pinch of salt. Cook until soft and sweet (about 10 minutes).
  • Add in the butternut squash, chipotle paste, spices, and cashews, and cook the mixture for 2-3 minutes, until squash is soft.
  • Move the mixture to a bowl and let it cool a bit. Add in crumbled queso fresco, to taste, and gently mix in.
  • Warm a frying pan on medium heat and lay a tortilla on the bottom. Spoon some of the squash mixture on top and even it out. Put another tortilla on top and heat until blistered and golden brown, then flip over and do the same to the other side.
  • Take out of the pan, cut into slices, and serve with guacamole!