Bean Bolognese

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Fiber-rich beans stand in for the beef and pork in this surprisingly rich-tasting vegetarian take on pasta Bolognese. Without the meat, the dish has only a third of the fat and 80 percent less saturated fat. This cannellini bean bolognese is a lighter, more time-friendly vegetarian take on classic bolognese. But it is just as hearty and filling. It is chock full of veggies–carrots, celery, and onion–and gets its thickness from the addition of mashed cannellini beans, in addition to whole.

Bolognese is traditionally cooked with ground beef or other ground meats, however, bean bolognese is a vegetarian or vegan variation of the popular Italian dish. When making a bean bolognese, the meat is swapped out for beans, like cannellini, chickpeas, or lentils, and the sauce is frequently created with a mixture of tomatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, celery, and different herbs and spices. It can be used as a topping for pizza or served with pasta dishes like spaghetti.

Serve this with some broiled Cheesy Garlic Bread, homemade Ciabatta Bread or some crusty French Bread. To make the perfect meal, serve with a peppery arugula salad.

Cannellini beans, also known as white kidney beans, are a healthy food choice. They are a good source of protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals, such as iron and folate. They also contain antioxidants, which can help to protect against cell damage and chronic diseases.


Bean Bolognese


Fiber-rich beans stand in for the beef and pork in this surprisingly rich-tasting vegetarian take on pasta Bolognese.

  • Author: Eating Well
  • Prep Time: :26
  • Cook Time: :24
  • Total Time: :50
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Italian


Units Scale
  • 1 14ounce can salad beans, or cannellini beans, rinsed, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 14ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat fettuccine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Put a large pot of water on to boil. Mash 1/2 cup beans in a small bowl with a fork.
  2. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and salt; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and bay leaf; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Add wine; increase heat to high and boil until most of the liquid evaporates, 3 to 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and their juices, 2 tablespoons parsley and the mashed beans. Bring to a lively simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 6 minutes. Add the remaining whole beans; cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes more.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta in the boiling water until just tender, about 9 minutes or according to package directions. Drain.
  4. Divide the pasta among 4 bowls. Discard the bay leaf and top the pasta with the sauce; sprinkle with Parmesan and the remaining parsley.


  • Per serving: 443 calories; 11 g fat (3 g sat, 6 g mono); 9 mg cholesterol; 67 g carbohydrates; 19 g protein; 14 g fiber; 707 mg sodium; 281 mg potassium.
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