Optional: 1/2 cup your favorite gluten-free elbow pasta (if grain-free, omit and use zoodles instead)
In a small bowl, add 1/4 cup of beans and mash well with a fork, set aside. (This will help to thicken the soup.) Remove stems from spinach and rough chop; set aside.
Heat a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, onion and garlic. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion softens and becomes translucent. Add salt, pepper, tomato paste, whole beans and mashed beans. Cook, stirring until beans are well coated with tomato paste.
Add diced tomatoes with juice, water, thyme, red pepper flakes, sliced zucchini and pasta (if using). Bring soup to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Allow soup to simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until pasta is cooked.
Turn off heat. Add chopped spinach leaves, also add zoodles, if using. Then stir and cover. Allow soup to sit about 5 minutes before serving.
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