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Close up of white bean pesto pasta in a white bowl with fork

Creamy White Bean Pesto Pasta

This delicious vegan pasta features a creamy white bean pesto sauce. Not only is the sauce dairy-free, but it's also packed with protein. Spinach and peas round out this yummy weeknight dinner.
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6

Equipment

  • Blender

Ingredients

Creamy White Bean Pesto Pasta

  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided use
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup vegetable broth
  • 1 (15 oz/14 fl oz/398 ml) can cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 2 cups packed basil (2.8 oz/80 g)
  • 1 cup packed baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 lb dried rotini pasta (gluten free if needed)
  • 1 cup chopped baby spinach
  • cups frozen green peas, rinsed
  • Salt and black pepper (to taste)

Brazil Nut Parmesan

  • ¼ cup Brazil nuts
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¼ tsp nutritional yeast

Instructions

Creamy White Bean Pesto Pasta

  • Toast nuts: Add pine nuts to a large saucepan or pot over medium heat (see note 1). Toast nuts, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
    3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • Start sauce: Return the saucepan to the stove. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in broth and beans. Stir to incorporate any brown bits from the bottom of pan. Cover with a lid, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until liquid has been absorbed (5 to 10 minutes).
    5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided use, 1 medium yellow onion, diced, 3 cloves garlic, minced, ¾ cup vegetable broth, 1 (15 oz/14 fl oz/398 ml) can cannellini beans, rinsed
  • Cook pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, before draining.
    1 lb dried rotini pasta
  • Blend sauce: Meanwhile, add pine nuts, basil, (whole) spinach, remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and the onion bean mixture to a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy (it's okay if there are small flecks of basil still visible).
    5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided use, 2 cups packed basil, 1 cup packed baby spinach, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • Combine: Return the noodles to the pot, over low heat. Pour in the sauce, stir until evenly coated. Stir in in spinach and green peas. If needed, add small amounts of pasta water to thin. Cook until peas are warmed through. Season with salt and pepper. Serve hot with brazil nut parmesan on top.
    1 cup chopped baby spinach, 1½ cups frozen green peas, rinsed, Salt and black pepper

Brazil Nut Parmesan

  • Preheat: Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
  • Bake nuts: Scatter brazil nuts on a baking sheet. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through. Transfer to a plate to cool.
    ¼ cup Brazil nuts
  • Peel nuts: Using a small knife, flake off as much of the skin from the nuts as you can.
  • Mix: Add nuts, garlic powder, salt and nutritional yeast (if using) to a food processor (or blender). Process until the mixture looks sandy. Use as a topping wherever you might sprinkle parmesan cheese. Refrigerate extra.
    ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp fine sea salt, ¼ tsp nutritional yeast

Notes

  1. Pan: This pan size might look like overkill for the pine nuts, but you're going to use the pan for cooking the sauce, so go big.

Nutrition

Calories: 563kcal | Carbohydrates: 78g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Sodium: 760mg | Potassium: 687mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1916IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 4mg