This pasta with white beans, arugula and lemon dish makes the perfect quick and easy weeknight dinner. And it only takes 20 minutes to prepare! Yes, it couldn’t be easier to pull together. All you need is a a couple pantry items and standard kitchen staples, plus some fresh arugula greens. There are only 8 ingredients (salt and pepper aside) and it is easy to adapt. I use butter beans as they are probably my favourite type of white beans, but you could also use cannellini beans. Or let’s face it, I’m pretty sure chickpeas would be a good choice here too. And because this is a light but satisfying pasta dish it’s one you can enjoy all year round. Making it the best kind of comfort food!
Choosing beans for this pasta with white beans recipe
If you are planning ahead dried beans are the way to go. They of course take longer to prepare (though speedier with a pressure cooker or trendy instant pot) but taste even better. I usually do a batch so that I have enough beans to use in 2 or 3 meals over the week, as they are also great added to soups and salads. But for spontaneous, or last-minute “what shall we eat for dinner tonight” decisions, canned beans are the way to go like the ones from la Bio Idea called Bianchi di Spagna (also called Riesenbohnen here in Germany) which can be found in your local organic store. White cannellini beans also work well for this pasta recipe.
What I love about this quick and easy pasta recipe:
- Less than 20 minutes to make
- Adds some delicious plant-based protein to your diet
- It’s soooo easy to make
- It’s adaptable – add your favourite type of white beans, or sub in spinach for arugula — even make it vegan!
- Perfect solution to a long day where want comfort food, but don’t want to spend a lot of time in kitchen
If you haven’t checked out my recipe for Giant White Beans with No-Cook Tomato Sauce, or Minestrone Soup with Rice and White Beans you should really take a look. Otherwise check my ingredients page for other ideas with white beans. I have loads of simple and easy chickpea recipes as well.
Pasta with White Beans, Arugula and Lemon
- 500 g dry pasta of choice (e.g. rigatoni, farfalle)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 x 400 g can organic butter beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth (250 ml)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons grated parmesan (or pecorino), plus more for serving
- 2-3 handfuls fresh arugula
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- About 1/4 cup or more reserved pasta cooking water (60-125 ml)
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
In a large deep-side non-stick skillet (or wok), heat the olive oil over medium to medium-high.
Add the garlic and beans, and sauté for about 2-3 minutes. Season with a few pinches of salt and some ground pepper.
Add the broth to the skillet with the beans and simmer for about 8-10 minutes or until a little of the broth has been absorbed and the liquid looks a slight bit thickener .
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package instructions, until al dente. When the pasta is finished cooking, reserve some of the pasta cooking water for the sauce, then drain.
Add the pasta to the skillet with the beans, then add the lemon juice, parmesan, arugula and red pepper flakes.
Toss to combine, then add a splash of the reserved pasta water at a time until it is nice and saucy. Let the arugula wilt.
Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Serve into bowls, along with extra parmesan on the side. Enjoy!
- A word about parmesan. Although I’d like to say this recipe is vegetarian, Parmigiano Reggiano is actually not vegetarian. Neither is Pecorino Romano. Both are made with animal rennet, one from a calf, the other with lamb. So if you are following a strict vegetarian diet, look for a vegetarian or vegan “parmesan” product at your local organic food store. Or simply replace the parmesan with nutritional yeast. This is my favourite vegan hack to replace that parmesan like flavour in recipes.
- I especially love the taste of peppery arugula with lemon and parmesan (those three things plus a splash of my favourite olive oil are a regular salad for me!) but spinach would also taste great here. And I find young arugula leaves less bitter, so often choose them for pasta recipes.
- As for leftovers of this pasta with white beans recipe, I sometimes simply make a pasta salad out of them add added a handful of rucola leaves, some roasted vegetables (a mix of sweet potato, parsnip, carrot and red onion tossed with my new favourite spice mix) plus a squeeze of lemon at the end.
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