Pasta with Black Beans {Bolognese Style}

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This scrumptious pasta with black beans uses everyday ingredients and turns your canned black beans into a terrific vegan bolognese sauce. It’s healthy, inexpensive, full of flavors and nutrients.

Close-up of a white dish with pasta with black beans.

But why on hearth I’ve made a vegan bolognese pasta sauce with black beans? Because we don’t eat red meat. 😊 You won’t find any recipe featuring beef or sausages on this blog, but you’ll find plenty of healthy budget-friendly beans instead. These white bean pasta and Italian pasta e fagioli are some delicious examples!

So let me tell you why we love this pasta with black beans. It’s:

  • Rich and flavorsome
  • Healthy
  • Quick and budget-friendly

Firstly, I tried to eke out as much flavor as possible by cooking the sauce the same way I would cook bolognese sauce. I start cooking soffritto in olive oil, then garlic, chili flakes, red wine, herbs, tomato paste and so on. That’s plenty of flavors that mingle during cooking, and the smell is delicious.

The result is a protein-packed pasta sauce that goes wonderfully with your pasta. Even non-vegans will love it!

What ingredients you need

Here’s what you need to make this pasta with bean recipe. It’s vegan without requiring fancy ingredients:

  • Pasta (whatever you like, I used this pasta shape)
  • Black beans
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Soffritto mix (onion, carrot, celery)
  • Garlic
  • Tomato paste
  • Red wine
  • Herbs (rosemary, bay leaves, oregano)
  • Chili flakes and black pepper
  • Salt & Olive oil
The ingredients for this pasta with black bean recipe are arranged over a white background.

How to make it

(Note: full recipe and ingredients are at the bottom of the page)

  • Saute’ soffritto in olive oil
  • Add garlic, spices, herbs and cook for a couple of minutes
Top view of a white pot with soffritto, spices and herbs.
  • Add beans, wine and tomato paste
  • Stir in the rest of the ingredients and cook for 20 minutes
  • Smash the beans with a back of a spoon
Top view of a pot with black beans , herbs and tomato sauce.
  • Cook your pasta until al dente
  • Toss pasta and black bean sauce in the same pot
  • Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese if you don’t keep it vegan. Enjoy!
Close-up of a wooden spoon full of black bean sauce.

Recipe Notes


I’ve made this black bean pasta sauce essentially with the same ingredients as traditional Bolognese, with one main difference: I swapped black beans for beef. 😉

  • BLACK BEANS: their dense texture and flavor make them an excellent meat substitute. If you smash them while cooking, they’ll soak up more flavor!
  • SOFFRITTO: this classic mix of diced/minced onion, carrot and celery makes the essential flavor base in Italian cuisine, bolognese sauce included. Here you can check a few helpful tips about Italian soffritto.
  • HERBS: rosemary, bay leaves and oregano deliver plenty of flavor, but you can use Italian mixed herbs instead, they work just fine.
  • RED WINE: once we sauteed the aromatics mentioned above, we just add in a little red wine and let the wine reduce to really intensify the flavor.
  • PASTA: we toss the pasta in the sauce, always. That’s what I do in ALL my pasta recipes: we want to stir all together, emulsify, until the sauce clings to the pasta.
  • EXTRA FLAVOR: serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, black pepper, and freshly grated parmesan cheese for a fantastic flavor boost (if you don’t keep it vegan!). Also chopped Italian parsley or this tasty parsley pesto make a delicious touch.
Top view of a white plate full of pasta with black beans garnished with parmesan cheese and parsley.

Are black beans good for you?

Black beans are rich in protein, folate, fiber, minerals and offer a multitude of health benefits, from maintaining healthy bones to lowering blood pressure.
Also, their fiber and protein content will keep you feeling full and energetic for hours, definitely a bonus if you are trying to lose weight.

Pasta with black beans & variations

Firstly, you can switch black beans with pinto or cannellini beans; I find they have similar texture and work well in this pasta sauce. Then you can add a twist to the recipe if you wish, here a few ideas to add more vegetables and fiber:

  • Brown rice or whole grain pasta with their fiber content make healthy delicious alternatives to regular pasta.
  • Vegetables such as grilled peppers, eggplants or sauted spinach add flavor, nutrients and work well in this hearty bean sauce.

Looking for more bean recipes?

I love beans, they’re packed with nutrients, economical and super versatile, here I listed a few delicious recipes featuring different beans for you to have a look:

If you make this pasta with black bean recipe, leave a comment, rate it, or tag a photo #theclevermeal on Instagram.
I would love to hear from you!

Close-up of a white plate full of pasta with black bean ragu'.
Print Recipe
5 from 6 votes

Pasta with Black Beans

This scrumptious pasta with black beans uses everyday ingredients and turns your canned black beans into a terrific vegan bolognese sauce. It's healthy, inexpensive, full of flavors and nutrients.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Main Course, pasta
Cuisine: Italian, vegan
Keyword: Pasta with black beans
Servings: 4
Calories: 409kcal
Author: Katia


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 celery rib, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ¼ or ½ tsp chili flakes, according to taste
  • 1 Rosemary sprig
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato paste
  • 1 can (14oz/400 grams) black beans, drained
  • 1 can (14oz/400 grams) diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • ½ scant tsp fine salt, or according to taste
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper, plus more to serve
  • chopped parsley and grated parmesan cheese, to serve (optional)


  • ½ lb (220 grams) pasta (penne, linguine, fusilli, ecc…)


  • In large pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the soffritto mix (diced onion, carrots, and celery) and cook gently for about 5-7 minutes, stirring often.
  • The add garlic, oregano, chili flakes, herbs and cook for a further couple of minutes.
  • Add beans, tomato paste, and red wine, stir and cook for 1 minute until the alcohol smell evaporates.
  • Then add the rest of the ingredients, stir, bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes (with lid). Stir occasionally and try to smash the beans with a the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher.
  • Turn the heat off, taste and adjust the seasoning according to your taste.


  • Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente according to packet directions.
  • Drain pasta reserving a bit of cooking water (it might help to loosen up the sauce).
  • Add pasta into the black bean sauce and toss well over medium heat for about 30 seconds. Add a touch of reserved pasta cooking water to loosen up the sauce if needed.
  • Divide between plates and serve with parmesan cheese, black pepper, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and chopped parsley if you wish.


Onion: any color is fine.
Herbs:  you can replace fresh herbs with dried Italian herbs, 1 ½ tsp is fine.
Wine: you can replace red wine with white wine, it’s ok.
Canned tomatoes: go for high quality Italian diced tomatoes if possible, they’re less sour than average canned tomatoes. 
Storage: the black bean sauce keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days and it’s freezable.
Quantities:  the recipe yields 4 medium-sized servings
Nutrition: please note, the nutritional values are estimates only and are calculated for 1 serving.


Calories: 409kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 349mg | Potassium: 784mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2726IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 4mg


  1. 5 stars
    Very tasty, and comes off fancy.
    I did have to make some changes as I don´t live in an area that has canned tomatos.
    So, I used three fresh roma and corred them. Plus added a can of tomato chopped salsa (like pico de gallo) as there also isn’t any tomato paste where I live. I did use black beans I had made in the crock pot as well.
    Would definitely make it again for a healthy, non meat dish.

    1. Wonderful feedback, Jill! I’m so glad it turned great. : )
      Thanks so much for sharing. x

  2. This looks really good but I have a question. Do you drain and rinse the black beans or do you used the liquid in the can as well? Thanks!

    1. The beans are drained. Sorry for the late reply. x

  3. Hi! Making this dish now. Do you strain and rinse the beans???

    1. Hey Kelly, sorry for the late reply, I’m in the UK. The beans are drained.

  4. Janet Gritter says:

    5 stars
    I made this for dinner and it was absolutely fabulous! The level of spices was perfect.
    This tasted so much better without beef to me and my beef loving husband loved it too! I will be making this regularly from now on!

    1. You’ve made my day, Janet!
      I’m so happy to hear you both loved this meatless recipe, especially your beef loving husband. : )
      Thanks so much for sharing. x

  5. Cindy Deachman says:

    5 stars

    Made my Bolognese by cooking ¾ c. dried beans first. Used 2 tsp balsamic vinegar instead of wine (could have taken more, tho). Added the garlic at the end, a trick I learned from an old woman who came from Italy to Canada after the war. Mashed the sauce a little at the end. Ate it with soft polenta. Thoroughly satisfying.

    1. Amazing, Cindy! I’m so glad to hear it was delish, and I LOVE polenta on the side. Thanks for sharing! x

  6. 5 stars
    We made this dish last night and loved it. Doubled it so we could freeze half. And added some leftover veggies. Super easy!
    Did you add the pasta into your nutrition calculations?

    1. I’m so happy to hear that, Corinne! Thanks so much for sharing your feedback. : )
      Yes, pasta is included. But please note the recipe yields 4 servings and the nutritional values are per one serving only.
      Thanks again. x

  7. 5 stars
    Used a fresh chilli instead of flakes and a splash of wine vineger instead of red wine. A very quick and satisfying meal, smashing those beans really makes a difference!

    1. That sounds delicious! Thanks so much for sharing your lovely feedback, Gary. : )

  8. 5 stars
    Thank you I tried it and loved it
    I come from a Latin culture I had it with rice
    Instead of canned beans
    Are dry black beans recommendable?

    1. I’m so glad to hear that, Victor! : )
      Dried black beans are totally fine, but before you make the recipe you have to soak and cook them separately.
      Once they’re cooked and tender, drain them and follow the recipe.
      Have a great weekend! x

  9. 5 stars
    Beans are the new go to food for all people, vegan, vegetarian, plant based, or ‘humane’. Recipes like this one are hugely helpful to transition from red meat to a healthier living world. Thank you for this.

    1. Thanks so much for your feedback! x

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