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Tuscan White Bean Pasta

Tuscan white bean pasta is the ultimate quick and easy dinner that is sure to please everyone! This healthy sun-dried tomato and kale pasta recipe is comforting without being overly heavy. This healthy meatless meal is made with pantry staples and great for meal prep!  

Tuscan white bean pasta in a large white bowl.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Simple recipe – this Tuscan white bean pasta recipe is easy to make, and it all comes together during the time the pasta is cooking. The simple Tuscan pasta sauce is light, simple and is ready in about 10 minutes with simple, flavorful ingredients.
  • Simple, pantry ingredients – you likely have everything you need to make this white bean Tuscan pasta in the pantry and fridge right now. Using staples like canned tomatoes, canned white beans, sundried tomatoes and frozen kale or spinach makes this recipe perfect for the days when you don’t feel like going to the grocery store for ingredients.
  • Great for meal prep or feeding a crowd – this vegan white bean pasta recipe makes a lot of pasta and can be doubled if you are feeding a crowd. The leftovers are even better the next day, making this perfect for your weekly meal prep too!
Ingredients to make this vegan white bean pasta in ramekins on marble countertop.
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Ingredients

  • Pasta of choice – this recipe is great with longer pasta (like spaghetti or fettucine) but would also be great with shorter pasta like penne or fusilli. Use your favorite pasta for this recipe. If you want to add even more protein, use a legume-based pasta (like chickpea pasta or lentil pasta).
  • Olive oil – olive oil is used to sauté the onions and garlic in and creates the base for the Tuscan tomato and kale sauce.
  • Onions and garlic – diced onion and thinly sliced garlic create the base of flavors for this recipe and are the aromatic ingredients that help create a super flavorful sauce in just a few minutes. Be sure to let the onions cook down a few minutes before adding the garlic or it can burn.
  • Diced tomatoes (drained) – you can use regular diced tomatoes or fire-roasted. Be sure to take the time to drain as much of the juice from the tomatoes as you can be before adding them to the sauce. The juice will make this pasta sauce too watery and will take longer to make.
  • Balsamic vinegar – balsamic vinegar is my secret ingredient anytime I’m using canned tomatoes. It helps to add richness and a bold flavor to the dish but also helps to really cut down on the “canned” taste of the tomatoes.
  • Sundried tomatoes in oil – sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil are such a great way to add flavor to any dish. The tomatoes are sweet, savory and have a unique flavor profile that adds so much flavor to the dish. I suggest you use some of the oil the tomatoes are packed with in this sauce, it’s also full of flavor and will help to coat the pasta.
  • Spices: Salt, garlic powder, italian seasoning – these spices help to add a depth of flavor to the sauce. Salt amplifies flavors, garlic powder adds umami and the italian seasoning is an easy way to impart many italian inspired herbs and spices in the dish at once. 
  • Frozen kale or spinach – I prefer using frozen kale or spinach because it’s easy to keep on hand and you don’ have to worry about how much it will cook down in the pan. You can also use regular spinach or kale but will likely need 3-4 cups to cook down to what is in 1 cup of frozen.
  • White beans – use whatever white beans you have on hand. Cannellini beans are my go-to for Tuscan dishes, but any white bean will do! These beans add a creaminess to the recipe and also help increase the protein and fiber, making it a really well-balanced meatless meal (especially paired with a legume based pasta).

How to make tuscan white bean pasta

Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil.

Put a large skillet (or pot) over medium heat.

Prep your ingredients: Finely chop the onion. Thinly slice the garlic.

Chopped onion and sliced garlic on a wooden cutting board.

When the skillet is hot, add the olive oil and the onion and cook 3-4 minutes. After 3-4 minutes, add the garlic and cook 1-2 more minutes.

White onions cooking in olive oil in a large white pot.

While the onions are cooking, drain out the juice from the canned tomatoes and rinse and drain the white beans.

Canned diced tomatoes in mesh strainer.

When the water is boiling for the pasta, add the pasta and cook it to the lowest recommended time stated on the package (for example if it says cook 5-6 minutes, cook to 5 minutes). The pasta will cook a bit in the sauce too, so you don’t want to overcook the pasta.

Pasta being added to boiling water in stainless steel pot.

After the garlic has been cooking 1-2 minutes with the onions, take about ¼ cup of the cooking liquid from the pasta and pour it over the onions and garlic. Scrape the bottom of the skillet.

Glass measuring cup scooping out some pasta water to pour onto onions and garlic.

Add the drained tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, sundried tomatoes, and spices to the skillet with the onions and garlic. Cook 1-2 minutes.

Tomatoes, sundried tomatoes and spices added to cooked onions in white pot.

Add in the frozen kale to the skillet and stir well.

Frozen kale being added to tomato mixture in large white pot.

Add the drained pasta and white beans to the skillet (or transfer everything to the large pot you cooked the pasta in after the water has been drained out). Cook 1-2 minutes to allow the kale to fully defrost and all the flavors to come together in the pan.

Before and after stirring the spaghetti and beans in with the tomato mixture.

Top tips

  • Be sure to drain the canned tomatoes before adding them to the sauce or the sauce will be too watery.
  • Use fresh or frozen spinach or kale. I prefer to use frozen, it’s easy to keep on hand and more budget friendly.
  • Balsamic vinegar helps to cut through the canned tomato taste. This is a key ingredient if you want this to taste like it’s been cooking all day.
  • Use some of the oil in the sundried tomato jar, it’s packed with flavor.
  • Add more protein by using a legume-based pasta like chickpea pasta or lentil pasta. I really enjoy the yellow lentil and brown rice pasta from Trader Joe’s it’ has great texture and is very budget friendly.
  • Take some of the cooking liquid from the pasta to add to the pan to scrape down the bottom after cooking the onions and garlic. This pasta water has starch from the pasta and will help create a sauce that “sticks” to the noodles.
  • If you are short on time: Chop your onions and garlic in a mini food processor to make chopping a breeze. You can chop onions up to 5 days in advance and store them in an airtight container.
Tuscan white bean pasta in a large white pot with wooden spoon on side.

Other additions

  • Freshness: Fresh basil or pesto (added at the end)
  • Spice: Red pepper flakes
  • Veggies: Roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts
  • Cheese: Mozzarella, parmesan, goats cheese, feta
  • Protein: Hemp hearts, 10 Minute Italian chicken, shredded chicken, shrimp, chicken sausage, balsamic tofu

Common questions

What kind of pasta to use?

For this Tuscan white bean pasta, I like to use a longer pasta like spaghetti, fettuccine or linguine pasta.

But you could also use penne, ziti, fusilli or medium shells or even elbow macaroni if needed.

What are the best gluten free pasta brands?

To increase the protein in this meatless meal, use a legume-based pasta. The most common on the market at chickpea pasta and lentil pasta. There are some great options in stores and online. Some of my favorites are:

  • Tolerant Brand pasta (the green lentil is the best)
  • Barilla chickpea pasta (there are no added gums to this, I really like it).
  • Trader Joe’s Yellow Lentil and Brown Rice pasta, or the red lentil penne pasta are both great. They have good texture and taste.
  • If you are looking for a gluten free pasta that is not legume based, I recommend Jovial Brand Pasta.
Fork picking up some of the vegan white bean pasta out of a bowl.

What are the best white beans to use

  • Cannellini beans – cannellini beans are creamy and come from Italy. If you can get your hands on these, they are a great option and my usual go-to.
  • Butter beans – butter beans are such a fun alternative to the traditional white beans and are creamy on the inside and would be perfect in this dish.
  • Great northern white beans– these are like white pinto beans. Usually available in every grocery store and very close in texture to the cannellini beans.
  • Navy beans – usually I only see these as dried beans (not canned). These are slightly smaller than cannellini beans but are also very creamy.

Can you use dry packaged sundried tomatoes

Yes, however you will need to rehydrate the tomatoes before adding them to the sauce.

To make this recipe with packaged sundried tomatoes, you will need to soak the tomatoes in boiling water (just enough to cover them) for at least 5 minutes (the longer the better). Add both the rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes and the water you soaked them in to the pan (the water is filled with flavor now too).

Can you make this lower in carbs?

Yes, if you want to make this Tuscan white bean pasta lower in carbs, you can replace the pasta with zucchini noodles, hearts of palm pasta or make your own low carb noodles (with daikon radish).

Storing leftover vegan white bean pasta

  • Fridge: Store leftover Tuscan white bean pasta in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. This reheats well in the microwave (1-1:30) or on the stove (low to medium low heat, covered).
  • Freezer: Freeze leftovers in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. I recommend freezing leftover pasta in individual servings for a quick meal anytime!
    • I use Soupercubes to do this. You can freeze 1 or 2 cup servings, then transfer the frozen block to a freezer safe bag. When it’s time to eat, add the frozen block to a microwave safe dish or a pot on the stove and reheat over medium low heat, covered, until hot.
Wooden spoon in a white pot filled with tuscan white bean pasta.

Substitutions

  • Pasta – Use whatever kind of pasta you have on hand, you could even make this recipe with gnocchi (cook according to the package directions), then serve with the Tuscan white bean sauce. To make it lower in carbs, use zucchini noodles or hearts of palm pasta.
  • Olive oil – you can also use avocado oil or butter (vegan butter to keep it vegan) in place of the olive oil. If you prefer not to use oil and keep this plant based, add a splash of vegetable broth to the onions while they cook.
  • Onions and garlic – onion and garlic help to create the base of flavors in the recipe. You can use white onions, yellow onions, or even red onions. You could also use 2-3 shallots in place of the onion. If you don’t have fresh garlic, increase the garlic powder by ½ teaspoon.
  • Diced tomatoes – if you don’t have canned diced tomatoes, you could also use whole peeled tomatoes (canned) that you chop up yourself or fresh tomatoes that are cut down into bite size pieces.
  • Balsamic vinegar – this helps to cut through the “canned flavor” of the tomatoes. You can also use white balsamic vinegar or red wine vinegar (this will change the flavor some).
  • Sundried tomatoes in olive oil – these add a deep richness and unique flavor to the dish. You can also soak dry packaged sundried tomatoes in water and use those as well. If you don’t have sundried tomatoes, just skip this ingredient.
  • Frozen kale or spinach – you can also use fresh kale or spinach, just be sure to cut it down into smaller pieces before adding it to the sauce. You may need to cover the pot briefly to help it cook down quickly. Another option would be to add some cut up broccoli rabe.
  • White beans – use whatever white beans you have on hand; you could even use chickpeas (though they have a different texture). IF you don’t have white beans on hand, you could also use black beans or even pinto beans.

If you love this pasta recipe, you should try

Creamy Tomato Pasta

Kale Mushroom Pasta

Zucchini Mushroom Pasta

Vegan Sundried Tomato Pasta

Creamy Vegan Broccoli Pasta

Vegan Baked Ziti

Artichoke Pesto Pasta

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Fork in a bowl filled with tuscan white bean spaghetti.

Tuscan White Bean Pasta

Tuscan white bean pasta is so easy to make and the perfect weeknight dinner recipe. This vegan white bean pasta is a great option for meatless meals and is gluten free and dairy free. Ready in just 15 minutes.
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: tuscan white bean pasta, vegan white bean pasta
Prep Time: 3 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 18 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil to cook the pasta.
  • Place a large skillet or pot over medium heat.
  • Chop the onions and thinly slice the garlic.
  • When the skillet is hot, add the olive oil and onions, cook 3-4 minutes. After 3-4 minutes add the garlic and cook 1-2 more minutes.
  • When water comes to a boil, add pasta and cook according to package directions (cook the minimum time).
  • While onions are cooking, rinse and drain the white beans and drain the liquid from the diced tomatoes.
  • Remove some of the cooking water from the pasta (even if it's still cooking) and add about 1/4 cup to the onions and garlic to scrape down the skillet (you can also use water).
  • Add the drained tomatoes, salt, spices, balsamic vinegar, sundried tomatoes,. Stir well.
  • Add frozen kale and cook 2-3 minutes to let kale defrost.
  • When pasta is done cooking, drain it and add it to the tomato mixture with the white beans. Simmer 1-2 minutes to let the flavors come together.

Notes

Top tips
  • Be sure to drain the canned tomatoes before adding them to the sauce or the sauce will be too watery.
  • Use fresh or frozen spinach or kale. I prefer to use frozen, it’s easy to keep on hand and more budget friendly.
  • Balsamic vinegar helps to cut through the canned tomato taste. This is a key ingredient if you want this to taste like it’s been cooking all day.
  • Use some of the oil in the sundried tomato jar, it’s packed with flavor.
  • Add more protein by using a legume-based pasta like chickpea pasta or lentil pasta. I really enjoy the yellow lentil and brown rice pasta from Trader Joe’s it’ has great texture and is very budget friendly.
  • Take some of the cooking liquid from the pasta to add to the pan to scrape down the bottom after cooking the onions and garlic. This pasta water has starch from the pasta and will help create a sauce that “sticks” to the noodles.
  • If you are short on time: Chop your onions and garlic in a mini food processor to make chopping a breeze. You can chop onions up to 5 days in advance and store them in an airtight container.
What kind of pasta to use?
  • For this recipe, I like to use a longer pasta like spaghetti, fettuccine or linguine pasta.
  • But you could also use penne, ziti, fusilli or medium shells or even elbow macaroni if needed.
Storing leftover vegan white bean pasta
  • Fridge: Store leftover Tuscan white bean pasta in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. This reheats well in the microwave (1-1:30) or on the stove (low to medium low heat, covered).
  • Freezer: Freeze leftovers in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. I recommend freezing leftover pasta in individual servings for a quick meal anytime!
    • I use Soupercubes to do this. You can freeze 1 or 2 cup servings, then transfer the frozen block to a freezer safe bag. When it’s time to eat, add the frozen block to a microwave safe dish or a pot on the stove and reheat over medium low heat, covered, until hot.
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Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
523
Fat
 
7
g
Carbohydrates
 
97
g
Fiber
 
12
g
Sugar
 
9
g
Protein
 
21
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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