Creamy Vegan White Beans & Shells


Years ago, I found a recipe in the newspaper for a white bean, tangerine, and chard salad. I made it. I wasn’t a fan. But I learned a little about white beans: they’re super mild and they soften really easily.  So it occurred to me recently that I could mash these little beauties and make a really good alfredo-like sauce that’s lactose-friendly and vegan-friendly. Nutritionally speaking, when you combine any bean with a grain, you get sufficient quantities of the nine essential amino acids. Hooray! So this recipe not only skips the fat and lactose from the dairy, it also gives you amino acids (white beans + wheat pasta). Nicely done, vegan comfort food. Nicely done.

I love adding a little parmesan to a dish like this. Are there any vegans out there who have a replacement recommendation?


  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min or so
  • Serves: 2

What You Need

  • 1 can white beans (Cannellini or Great Northern)
  • 1/4+ cup almond or coconut milk (not vanilla or other flavors)
  • 4 oz small shell pasta
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 3/4 tsp garlic salt

What You Do

  1. Get that pasta rolling!
  2. While the pasta is cooking, drain the beans (leaving a little liquid) and cook on medium in a flat and wide sauce pan or a soup pot with the onion and garlic.
  3. The beans will soften quickly, which is why white beans are awesome.
  4. Add 1/8 cup of the almond milk, stir, then use a masher (or the bottoms of two water glasses) to mash the beans into a more or less even consistency.
  5. Add spices and salt.
  6. Add another 1/8 cup of almond milk, stir. Check for consistency. If you’d like it a little saucier, add more almond milk.
  7. At this point, the pasta should be ready, so drain it thoroughly, then pour it into the bean sauce and mix.
  8. Serve immediately with your favorite crusty bread and topped with parmesan (for the non-vegan folks).

4 thoughts on “Creamy Vegan White Beans & Shells

  1. Hi Anne, I just discovered your blog and am loving it! For vegan parmesan, an easy substitute is to just grind up blanched almonds in the food processor with a bit of salt. Or you could do a combination of nutritional yeast and almonds (cashews are good too) and maybe a bit of garlic powder.


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