Beans Are The Key For A Filling Vegetarian Pasta

Whether you are a long-time vegetarian or simply looking to incorporate more meatless meals into your dinner routine, pasta is an easy and delicious choice. Many classic pasta dishes, such as Pasta e Fagioli, are naturally vegetarian; however, for a truly hearty and filling meal, consider adding beans. Beans not only boost the protein and fiber content but also add a satisfying texture that makes this dish even more substantial and nutritious.

Beans come in a plethora of varieties, each offering its own unique flavor and texture. They are incredibly versatile and can be incorporated into nearly any vegetarian pasta dish. You can also substitute beans in pasta dishes that conventionally contain meat. For example, try swapping meat with beans in classics like spaghetti Bolognese, lasagna, or carbonara. Beans can be pureed into sauces, mixed into pasta whole, or even roasted for a crunchy topping. Cannellini beans or pinto beans can bring a creamy richness to the table, whereas garbanzo beans or black beans add a firm bite and nutty flavor. 

Top tips for adding beans to pasta

Proper preparation is the key to making the perfect vegetarian bean pasta. Be sure to rinse and drain canned beans to remove excess sodium and starch. While opinions vary, many experts agree that soaking dried beans can, at the very least, help speed up the cooking process.

To make the perfect creamy bean sauce for your pasta, blend the beans in a food processor or blender until nice and smooth. Enhance the sauce by incorporating your favorite herbs and spices. For a thinner sauce, add a splash of water or vegetable stock. When adding beans whole, toss them with the pasta and sauce just before serving to ensure they don't break down during the cooking process, resulting in mushy beans.

For a delectably crunchy finishing touch, roast canned or cooked beans that have been patted dry in the oven until crisp and golden. Note: Do not let the crunchy beans sit for too long, or they'll lose their signature crispy texture.