Skip to Content

White Bean Pasta Sauce

White bean pasta sauce is thick, creamy and the perfect dairy free alternative to alfredo sauce. This healthy vegan white bean pasta is packed with flavor, it’s so easy to make and perfect for meatless meals! Nut free and dairy free, this white bean alfredo silky smooth and packed with protein and fiber from the beans!

Be sure to serve this along side of your favorite salad or italian inspired soup for an elegant and delicious dinner perfect for parties, entertaining or just a simple weeknight meal!

Large white bowl filled with vegan white bean fettucine alfredo.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Simple ingredients – this recipe uses simple panty ingredients you likely have on hand right now. This white bean alfredo is perfect for those days when you don’t seem to have much left in the pantry but don’t want to go to the store either.  For ease, this recipe uses canned white beans, but you can also make white beans from dried to use in this recipe to make it even more budget friendly.
  • Quick and easy to make – This vegan white bean sauce is ready in about 15 minutes and is so easy, thanks to the blender doing most of the work. The most time intensive part of this recipe is sautéing the onions and the garlic together to make a flavorful base for the sauce. You can make the sauce while your pasta is cooking and have a healthy, hearty, and super filling meal ready in under 20 minutes!
  • Versatile – use this white bean pasta sauce on more than just pasta! You can use it over steamed or roasted vegetables, over baked potatoes or as a white sauce base for pizza. You can also change up the flavor of the sauce based on what you have on hand. Add some pesto or sundried tomatoes to completely change the flavor without any additional work!
  • Budget friendly – beans and root vegetables are so budget friendly! This recipe is a great way to stretch your pasta (it’s more filling because of the fiber and protein in the beans) and can be frozen to use as part of your meal prep as well!
Ingredients to make white bean pasta sauce in white bowls.
This post contains affiliate links. As an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Click here to read my policy and more about affiliate links.

Ingredients

  • Onion and garlic – onions and garlic are the base of flavor for the white bean alfredo sauce. They are aromatic vegetables and create a really savory base flavor. Be sure to let the onions cook until they start to brown and start to caramelize for the best flavor. Don’t add the garlic right away or it can burn.
  • White Beans – white beans are the star of the white bean alfredo sauce. This recipe calls for canned beans since they are easy to find and so easy to work with, but you can also use dried beans that you cook from scratch (this is very budget friendly). The best beans are cannellini beans, great northern white beans, navy beans or large or small butter beans. I do not recommend chickpeas (garbanzo beans).
  • Vegetable broth – vegetable broth is the secret ingredient to this sauce. It helps bring a lot of flavors to the sauce and helps it taste like it’s been cooking all day long. This along with the sauteed garlic and onions really make the sauce.
  • Dairy free milk – use whatever you have on hand, just be sure it’s plain and unsweetened. Almond milk, cashew milk, coconut milk (in the carton or in the can), oat milk, hemp milk or flax milk would all work great here. You can also make your own dairy milk by combining water with almond butter, cashew butter, sunbutter or tahini. It’s about 1 tablespoon to 1 cup of water.
  • Olive oil or avocado oil – the added oil really helps to give the sauce a creamy, rich texture. If you love the flavor of extra virgin olive oil, you can use that here (you do taste the olive oil some). If you want a really neutral sauce where the other flavors really shine, I recommend using avocado oil because it’s so neutral tasting. If you want a more buttery flavor to the sauce, you can use butter (vegan or regular) or ghee (not vegan but mostly dairy free).
  • Spices: Salt, garlic powder, dried thyme (or italian seasoning) – these spices just help to elevate the flavors of the sauce. The sauce will taste salty without pasta (or veggies or whatever you are serving it with) but once it is coating the pasta, it’s the perfect level of saltiness. The garlic powder helps bring an umami flavor to the dish and the dried thyme pairs really well with the white beans. You can also use italian seasoning.
  • Pasta – use whatever kind of pasta you have on hand. I love this vegan white bean pasta sauce with fettuccine noodles (vegan fettuccine alfredo) but it’s also great with shells, spiral pasta or just plain spaghetti. You could also use this sauce in lasagna or over gnocchi.
  • Broccoli – broccoli is great to add to white bean pasta because it cooks right in the pot with the pasta and adds a veggie to the dish. If you don’t love broccoli, you can add whatever veggies you love.

How to make white bean pasta sauce

Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. If you are making pasta as well, add water to the pot and place it over high heat to bring to a boil.

Chop the onions and thinly slice the garlic. When the skillet is hot, spray it with olive oil or avocado oil spray and add the onions, sauté them 4-6 minutes until golden brown. Add garlic and cook 1-2 more minutes, remove from heat.

Before and after sautéing onions and garlic in cast iron skillet.

When the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook the pasta 2-3 minutes less than the box indicates (this allows the pasta to cook with the sauce some after draining).

Dry fettucine noodles added to pot full of boiling water.

Chop the broccoli florets into small bites size pieces.

Chopped broccoli on a wooden cutting board.

With 2 minutes left on the pasta timer, remove about ½ cup of the pasta water, and add the broccoli florets to the pot of boiling pasta water.

Glass measuring cup scooping out pasta water, broccoli added to pot.

Drain the pasta and broccoli, add it back to the pot (turn off the heat).

Fettucine and broccoli in a large stainless steel pot.

Make the white bean sauce by combining 2 cans drained white beans, the sauteed onions and garlic, vegetable broth, dairy free milk, and spices. Blend on high about 1 minute until smooth and creamy. Note: If you are using a bullet blender, divide this up into 2 to blend or it will overfill the blender and never get smooth.

Before and after blending white bean sauce in bullet blender cup.

Add the white bean pasta sauce to the pot with the pasta and broccoli. Stir well. Add up to ½ cup of the reserved pasta water to make the sauce thick, creamy and the perfect consistency. Cook over medium heat for 2-5 minutes until heated through. Serve hot.

Vegan white bean alfredo sauce being poured over fettucine and broccoli.

Top tips

  • Be sure to get some of the cooking liquid from the pasta before draining the pasta. This will help create a thick and creamy sauce that sticks to the noodles.
  • If you are using a bullet style blender, cut the ingredients for the sauce in half and blend in batches or you won’t get a smooth consistency.
  • If you don’t have a blender, you can blend the sauce using an immersion blender or the food processor. Reduce some of the liquid in the food processor and stir it in after everything is smooth to ensure that it doesn’t come out of the sides of the food processor.
  • Salt the pasta water before cooking. I usually include a large pinch (about a tablespoon) right as the water comes up to a boil before adding the pasta.
  • Cook the broccoli with the pasta to save time and not have to dirty another pan.
  • Cook the pasta for 3 minutes less than the minimum cooking time indicated on the box. This allows the pasta to cook more with the sauce and ensures it doesn’t overcook.
  • Short on time? Skip sautéing the onions and garlic and instead use 2 tablespoon dried minced onions and 1 tablespoon dried garlic granules. These are packed with flavor and are a great alternative to cooking with fresh if you don’t have time or don’t have fresh on hand.
Silver tongs stirring white bean pasta sauce with fettucine pasta.

Other additions

  • Veggies: Tomatoes, zucchini, asparagus, cauliflower, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, spinach, kale, green beans. Note that some may be better sauteed on their own then added to the pasta like mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, or brussel sprouts, where some can be boiled with the pasta like cauliflower, green beans, or asparagus. You can add the tomatoes, spinach, or kale right to the sauce while it’s warming up in the pot with the pasta at the end.
  • Spice: Add crushed red pepper flakes
  • Creaminess: If you want this to be even creamier and smoother, add 1/4 cup of raw cashews soaked in hot water for 5 minutes then drained to the blender with the rest of the sauce ingredients.
  • Different flavor: Add sundried tomatoes in oil (1/4 cup) or pesto (1/4 cup) to the pasta sauce or add the zest and juice of 1 lemon.
  • Protein: Add italian chicken, italian chicken sausage, shrimp, tofu

What to serve with pasta with white bean sauce

White bean alfredo with fettucine wrapped around a fork.

Common questions

What are the best white beans to make white bean alfredo sauce?

The creaminess of the sauce is based on the creamy white beans. Because of this, I would not recommend chickpeas (as the skins are too thick and the sauce will never quite get creamy enough). Some great options include:

  • Cannellini beans
  • Great Northern White Beans
  • Navy beans (these are small white beans)
  • Large or small butter beans (sometimes labeled as lima beans)

Can you use dried beans?

If you don’t want to use canned beans, you can use dried beans that you cook yourself either in the instant pot or on the stove.

  • To cook dried beans in the instant pot, add 1 pound of beans, cover with 6 cups of water, and cook high pressure for 31 minutes. Let pressure naturally release at least 10 minutes. Drain liquid and store in fridge or freezer.
  • To cook dried bean on the stove, soak the beans (1 pound) in water overnight. Drain the water. Add drained beans to the pot with 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil then cook 1 hour. Drain the liquid and store in the fridge or freezer.

Can you freeze the white bean alfredo sauce for easy meal prep?

Yes! This sauce freezes very well and would be perfect for meal prep! You can freeze the sauce in 1/2 cup or 1 cup portions to easily defrost and use for a single serving of pasta (or 2).

You can defrost the frozen white bean alfredo sauce in the fridge overnight or in a pot over low to medium low heat, covered with an additional tablespoon or two of vegetable broth or water to keep it from getting too thick as it heats up.

Silver tongs picking up vegan white bean pasta out of a stainless steel pot.

What is the best kind of pasta to use?

For this creamy vegan white bean pasta sauce, I like to use either a fettuccine noodle (to make a vegan fettuccine alfredo) or a shell pasta to help catch all that creamy white bean pasta sauce. You can use any kind of pasta though! This would also be great over gnocchi and veggies.

Storing leftovers

Fridge: Store leftover white bean pasta in the fridge in a airtight container for up to 4 days.

Freezer: You can freeze just the sauce or the pasta and the sauce together in a freezer safe bag or container for up to 3 months. Be sure to let it cool completely (I like to store it in the fridge first) then move it to the freezer.

Defrost in the fridge overnight or in a medium pot with a lid over low to medium low heat with an added 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable broth or water (note the pasta may get overcooked this way).

Substitutions

  • Onion and garlic – you can use white onions, yellow onions or shallots in this recipe. You can also use 2 tablespoons of dried minced onion in place of the onion. If you don’t have garlic on hand, you can use 1 tablespoon dried garlic granules or 1 tablespoon of freeze dried garlic (this is my go to as it’s so flavorful). If you don’t have onion or garlic or cannot tolerate them, you can skip them completely.
  • Vegetable broth – the vegetable broth really helps to add a deep level of flavor to the sauce. If you are not vegan or vegetarian, you can use chicken broth, chicken stock or bone broth in place of the vegetable broth. If you don’t have vegetable broth, you can use those vegetable bouillon cubes and water.
  • Dairy free milk – use whatever dairy free milk you have on hand, just be sure it’s unsweetened. You can also use regular dairy milk if you can tolerate that! Note: If you don’t have dairy free milk use ½ cup of water + ½ tablespoon of almond butter, cashew butter, sunbutter or tahini in place of the dairy free milk.
  • Spices – if you don’t have dried thyme on hand, you can also use italian seasoning. If you don’t have garlic powder on hand, you can use onion powder or replace 2 tablespoons of the olive oil with garlic olive oil.
  • Pasta – this recipe can be made with any type pasta you have on hand. You can also use this white bean pasta sauce over gnocchi, over steamed or roasted vegetables, as part of lasagna or as a base for a vegan white pizza.
  • Broccoli – use whatever veggies you love, you can even use frozen broccoli for this (just be sure to cut the florets into bite size pieces before boiling). Check out the list of veggies above.
Large pot filled with white bean alfredo pasta with wooden spoon on the side.

If you love this recipe, you should try

Creamy Vegan Broccoli Pasta

Vegan Creamy Tomato Pasta

Sundried Tomato Pasta

Mushroom Zucchini Pasta

Kale Mushroom Pasta

★ Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating below!
Large white bowl filled with vegan white bean pasta.

White Bean Pasta Sauce

White bean pasta sauce is a silky smooth, creamy sauce made from white beans! This healthy dairy free white bean alfredo is perfect on pasta, veggies, over gnocchi, in lasagna or even as the base of a white pizza. This vegan white bean sauce is so easy to make, packed with flavor and is so filling thanks to the protein and fiber from the beans. Naturally gluten free, dairy free and vegan!
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: vegan white bean pasta, vegan white bean sauce, white bean alfredo, white bean pasta sauce
Prep Time: 2 mins
Cook Time: 13 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Servings: 6

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. If you are making pasta as well, add water to the pot and place it over high heat to bring to a boil.
  • Chop the onions and thinly slice the garlic. When the skillet is hot, spray it with olive oil or avocado oil spray and add the onions, sauté them 4-6 minutes until golden brown. Add garlic and cook 1-2 more minutes, remove from heat.
  • When the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook the pasta2-3 minutes less than the box indicates (this allows the pasta to cook with the sauce some after draining).
  • Chop the broccoli florets into small bites size pieces.
  • With 2 minutes left on the pasta timer, remove about ½ cup of the pasta water, and add the broccoli florets to the pot of boiling pasta water.
  • Drain the pasta and broccoli, add it back to the pot (turnoff the heat).
  • Make the white bean sauce by combining 2 cans drained white beans, the sauteed onions and garlic, vegetable broth, dairy free milk, olive oil and spices. Blend on high about 1 minute until smooth and creamy.
  • Add the white bean pasta sauce to the pot with the pasta and broccoli. Stir well. Add up to ½ cup of the reserved pasta water to make the sauce thick, creamy and the perfect consistency. Cook over medium heat for 2-5 minutes until heated through. Serve hot.

Notes

Top tips
  • Be sure to get some of the cooking liquid from the pasta before draining the pasta. This will help create a thick and creamy sauce that sticks to the noodles.
  • If you are using a bullet style blender, cut the ingredients for the sauce in half and blend in batches or you won’t get a smooth consistency.
  • If you don’t have a blender, you can blend the sauce using an immersion blender or the food processor. Reduce some of the liquid in the food processor and stir it in after everything is smooth to ensure that it doesn’t come out of the sides of the food processor.
  • Salt the pasta water before cooking. I usually include a large pinch (about a tablespoon) right as the water comes up to a boil before adding the pasta.
  • Cook the broccoli with the pasta to save time and not have to dirty another pan.
  • Cook the pasta for 3 minutes less than the minimum cooking time indicated on the box. This allows the pasta to cook more with the sauce and ensures it doesn’t overcook.
  • Short on time? Skip sautéing the onions and garlic and instead use 2 tablespoon dried minced onions and 1 tablespoon dried garlic granules. These are packed with flavor and are a great alternative to cooking with fresh if you don’t have time or don’t have fresh on hand.
Other additions
  • Veggies: Tomatoes, zucchini, asparagus, cauliflower, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, spinach, kale, green beans. Note that some may be better sauteed on their own then added to the pasta like mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, or brussel sprouts, where some can be boiled with the pasta like cauliflower, green beans, or asparagus. You can add the tomatoes, spinach, or kale right to the sauce while it’s warming up in the pot with the pasta at the end.
  • Spice: Add crushed red pepper flakes
  • Creaminess: If you want this to be even creamier and smoother, add 1/4 cup of raw cashews soaked in hot water for 5 minutes then drained to the blender with the rest of the sauce ingredients.
  • Different flavor: Add sundried tomatoes in oil (1/4 cup) or pesto (1/4 cup) to the pasta sauce or add the zest and juice of 1 lemon.
  • Protein: Add italian chicken, italian chicken sausage, shrimp, tofu
Storing leftovers
  • Fridge: Store leftover white bean pasta in the fridge in a airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • Freezer: You can freeze just the sauce or the pasta and the sauce together in a freezer safe bag or container for up to 3 months. Be sure to let it cool completely (I like to store it in the fridge first) then move it to the freezer.
    • Defrost in the fridge overnight or in a medium pot with a lid over low to medium low heat with an added 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable broth or water (note the pasta may get overcooked this way).
See how I calculate food cost.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
477
Fat
 
9
g
Carbohydrates
 
79
g
Fiber
 
10
g
Sugar
 
4
g
Protein
 
21
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
DID YOU LOVE THIS RECIPE?Let others know by rating and leaving a comment below!

Recipe Rating