This pasta uses a few pantry staples as the base, and interchangeable veggies, making it the perfect quick and satisfying pasta bowl dinner for a lazy weeknight.
I try to keep a quart or two of cooked vegan protein around at all times to make weeknight dinners as easy as I possibly can. Whether that’s seitan (get recipe intructions for homemade seitan here), lentils, chickpeas, or black beans, cooking one big batch of something in the slow cooker and keeping it in the fridge for a few days makes meal planning way easier. Plus mixing white beans into a pasta sauce is the best trick ever, because it brings a boatload of protein without you having to cook separate component like tofu. This is even a great recipe for picky eaters, since it delivers like a creamy pasta sauce. What’s not to love?
For this recipe, I used white beans, but you can sub in chickpeas or even hummus if you like. Hummus is actually the basis to some of my favorite pasta sauces ever. It’s super creamy and adds a lot of hidden protein.
First, make sure you have beans ready. You can use the canned kind, or you can follow my steps outlined here, which describe a few simple ways to ensure you get the perfect cook on your white beans.
Boil your pasta in salted water according to package directions. I used linguine, but you could prep this with shells, penne, whatever floats your boat. As this is boiling, start sauteing onions and garlic cloves in a giant pot. Pour in two tablespoons of olive oil and cook on medium heat, stirring regularly, so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Here I’d like to offer a pro tip for increasing flavor without having to do ANY additional work impacting the actual preparation time of your meal. Jazz up your olive oil! This is a trick as old as time and makes a huge impact on the flavors you’ll be able to create.
I keep three medium size cruets on my counter, each infused with a different herb or spice to help impart a little extra flavor. In the first, I keep 4-5 raw garlic cloves, a teaspoon of onion flakes, a few peppercorns, and about a teaspoon of dried parsley. This is my go to olive oil for almost any dinner I’m making. Even if I use one of the other oils, I wind up also throwing a splash of this one in as well because who doesn’t love garlic in everything? In the second, I just keep one big dried arbol chili, which makes the oil surprisingly spicy and is amazing for Mexican or Caribbean dishes. In the last, I keep a few sprigs of dried rosemary and thyme for an earthy, herby flavor. It takes a few days for the flavors to come through in the oils, so just keep refilling these as they get halfway empty and keep on your counter. Thank me later.
Cook onions and garlic for about 5-8 minutes on medium heat (until they start to brown around the edges) before adding other veggies. Cut the white bottoms off of asparagus, chop into thirds roughly, or smaller if you prefer, and add to the pan.
At this point, add cooked white beans and halved artichokes to the pan as well. I used artichokes marinated in oil, and didn’t drain them since the oil marinade has so much flavor from the spices and herbs. You can rinse and drain, use frozen, or use artichokes packed in water. It doesn’t really matter.
Be sure to keep stirring your veggies so nothing burns As you stir, some of the white beans will be crushed, which forms the basis of the creamy sauce. Dice sun dried tomatoes finely, and pop into the pot. If using wild mushrooms, which take less time to cook, toss in at this point. They’re pretty delicate, so they only need a few minutes of heat. If using baby cremini mushrooms or sliced shitake, add in when you begin to cook the onions and garlic so they can get a great brown color on them as well.
Mix in your spices at this point. Let cook for another 5-8 minutes until all veggies are softened. When pasta is one minute away from being finished boiling, pour out 3/4 of the water down the sink, and save the rest. Dump the pasta, along with other 1/4 of the starchy water into the pot with veggies and beans, and stir, allowing the pasta to continue cooking.
At this point, judge your pasta sauce. If the beans are getting a smidge over cooked or dried out, you can add in 1/4 cup nondairy milk to help create a creamier base, or even toss in 1-2 tablespoons of vegan butter. If cooking in a cast iron or oven safe pan, you can sprinkle with vegan cheese and breadcrumbs and bake for 5 minutes or so to create a white bean pasta casserole type of meal that I think everyone would find quite cozy and satisfying.
I sprinkled red pepper flakes and vegan Parmesan cheese over top of mine and served.
You can swap in chickpeas in place of white beans if you’d like.
Any vegetable would be amazing in this dish if you don’t have or don’t like asparagus. Broccoli, zucchini, kale, whatever you’ve got, toss it in!
Save on pasta calories by swapping in a protein rich noodle in place of linguine. Try chickpea fettuccine or mung bean linguine, a few of my favorites.
You can add 1-2 tbsp vegan butter to this dish when adding the pasta to the veggie pot for a richer flavor.
If pasta seems too dry, you may add in 1/4 cup of nondairy milk, or retain more of the starchy pasta water.
If cooking in a cast iron skillet, you can top with bread crumbs and vegan cheese, and finish in the oven for a crispy casserole texture – highly recommended, definitely do this.
Great for meal prep, make a double batch and keep in the fridge in individual portions to dive into throughout the work week.
This white bean pasta would even be amazing served cold as a pasta salad at picnics and parties. Maybe sub in shells or macaroni noodles so it’s more bite size, but I think it would be a hit!
As always, if you make this recipe, tag me on Facebook or Instagram, and let me know how it goes! You can also check out my Pinterest page for more easy weeknight dinner inspiration! I have a ton of vegan meals under 30 minutes saved if you’re looking for a fast way to feed the family or make a bunch of food to get you through the week as part of meal prep plan.
If you liked this recipe, you might also enjoy some of my other favorite quick and easy weeknight dinner recipes: