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This quick white bean pasta makes a wonderful one-pot family meal ready in less than 15 minutes. It’s everything you want in a pasta dish: it’s comforting, packed with fresh ingredients, protein, veggies, and it’s no fuss.
I do love one pot pasta meals, they’re quick, easy, and pack a lot of flavor into only one pot. This white bean pasta recipe is not exception and makes a delicious balanced meal in no time.
In this recipe, I sauté garlic, paprika, and fluffy beans in olive oil (plenty of flavor!). Then I add water, pasta, and cook all together on medium-low heat until the pasta releases its starch. In the last minutes of cooking time, I stir in fresh spinach, cherry tomatoes, and I finish the dish with parmesan. Done, ready to serve and so delicious!
The mashed creamy cannellini beans, the starch and the melted cheese make the final dish mouthwatering, perfect as a meatless main meal or side dish. I promise, you’ll have everyone asking for seconds.
And if you dream of 15 minute dinner magic (I’m a big advocate of that! :), I’m sure you’ll love these yummy 13 QUICK pasta ideas, too.
What ingredients you need
- Pasta (short pasta shapes)
- Cannellini beans (or Great Northern beans)
- Baby spinach
- Cherry tomatoes
- Parmesan cheese, freshly grated!
- Chili flakes
- Olive oil or extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & Pepper
How to make white bean pasta
(Note: the full recipe is at the bottom of the page)
- Saute’ garlic in olive oil until fragrant
- Add spices, beans, black pepper and give a good stir
- Add hot water – or vegetable broth – salt, and bring to the boil
- Add pasta (the liquid is minimised, it’s fine)
- In the last minutes of cooking time, stir in spinach and tomatoes
- Add freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Give a good stir and serve!
RECIPE NOTES & TIPS
White bean pasta ingredients
- Pasta: any short pasta shapes such as penne, fusilli or bow ties are perfect for the recipe. Choose premium quality pasta, it’s more expensive than basic pasta, but it’s resilient and has a more robust texture.
- White beans: cannellini beans with their fluffy texture are my go-to white beans for any recipe, but Great Northern beans work just fine.
- Spinach: fresh washed spinach is the best: ready to use, perfect texture, and wilts quickly. You can swap swiss chard (cut and steams removed) for spinach, add it in the last 3-4 minutes of the cooking time.
- Cherry tomatoes: they add a lovely sweet flavor and make the final dish so inviting! But I leave them optional: if they’re not in season, flavorless or too pale, skip them.
- Extra flavor: give a good final stir with plenty of freshly grated parmesan, if you don’t keep it vegan, of course.
How to cook it
While you add pasta to the pot, you may think to yourself “there’s not enough liquid“, but I promise it will be fine: the liquid is minimized and the pasta absorbs it completely and releases its starch. And the more starch, the better!
But keep in mind a few tips:
- Cook on low-medium heat
- Cover with a lid
- Stir frequently
- Add a bit of liquid only if needed
MORE CANNELLINI BEAN RECIPES?
First of all, make sure you’ll have a look at this collection of scrumptious 15 cannellini bean recipes, you’ll find so many creative ways to turn you canned beans into something good!
I also list here a few tasty bean recipes that feature cannellini beans, some of my family favorites:
If you make white bean pasta recipe or if you have any questions, let me know! Leave a comment, send me a message, or rate it.
I would love to hear from you!
One-Pot White Bean Pasta
- 1 Tbsp olive oil or extra virgin olive oil, plus more to drizzle
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp paprika
- ¼ or ⅛ tsp chili flakes*
- 1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, or Great Northern beans
- ⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 ½ cups (600 ml) water or low sodium vegetable broth*
- ½ tsp fine salt, or according to taste
- 8 oz (220 grams) short pasta shapes (fusilli, penne, bow ties…)
- 4 oz (120 grams) baby spinach, washed
- 4 oz (120 grams) cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
- 2 oz (60 grams) freshly grated parmesan, plus more to serve
- Warm the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant and smells good, about 45 seconds.
- Add paprika, chili flakes, beans, black pepper, and give a good stir.
- Add hot water or low sodium vegetable broth, salt, turn to high heat and bring to the boil.
- Stir in pasta, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover with a lid and cook stirring frequently. The amount of liquid is enough to partially cover the pasta (but keep an eye on it to make sure the pasta doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot, and add a touch of water if needed).
- In the last 2 minutes of the pasta's cooking time, add fresh spinach, a handful at a time, and cherry tomatoes. Stir until the spinach is wilted, it takes a couple of minutes.
- Turn off the heat, finish the dish with freshly grated parmesan, and give a good stir until the cheese melts and the pasta looks well combined (taste and adjust the season according to your taste if needed).
- Serve immediately with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, more freshly ground black pepper and parmesan cheese if you like. Enjoy!