One Pot Creamy Kale, White Bean and Pesto Pasta is an easy, vegetarian dinner that’s perfect for weeknights and fancy enough for a special occasion.
We’re still dealing with snow and cold weather this week in Colorado, but I’m hoping it will be out of here by the weekend. I don’t know about you, but I get a major craving for carbs when the weather is like this. Nothing hits the spot on a snowy day like a plate of pasta and this week I’m making this One Pot Creamy Kale, White Bean and Pesto Pasta.
This vegetarian pasta is a great option if you’re cutting back on meat or don’t eat it all together. It’s completely filling and has a bit of protein in it thanks to the beans. My favorite part about this pasta recipe is that it’s all made in one pot. No need to boil the pasta separately.
What Do I Need to Make the Pasta?
- Kale, I used lacinato (Tuscan/dinosaur) kale, but curly kale works too
- Cannellini beans
- Pasta, I like fusilli because it holds the sauce nicely
- Pesto (dairy free if needed)
- Coconut milk (canned and full fat) or cream
- Dill, fresh if possible
- Parmesan cheese (omit if you’re making this dairy free)
Like the recipe title says, this is a creamy pasta. However, you can absolutely make this dairy free and still have it be creamy. Whenever you make a one pot pasta it will generally have a more creamy consistency than if you were to cook the pasta separately. That’s because you’re retaining all of the starch that the pasta releases rather than dumping it out with the pasta water.
How Can I Make This Dairy Free?
To make this one pot pasta dairy free you’ll make several adjustments. First you’ll want to use a dairy free pesto. You can make you’re own, I suggest this Easy Vegan Pesto or there are several store bought brands available as well. You will also want to use canned full fat coconut milk versus cream and skip the Parmesan cheese. You could add in vegan cheese if that’s important to you, but it isn’t necessary.
Can I Make This with Gluten Free Pasta?
I was skeptical that a one pot gluten free pasta would work, however, I tested it and had success. I will note that if you do make this with gluten free pasta that you use the same brand that I used, which was Jovial Foods Gluten Free Brown Rice Fusilli. While researching if gluten free pasta would work for a one pot recipe, I saw many reviews saying the pasta fell apart or was gummy. As you can see from the photos, I didn’t have that issue with the Jovial Foods brand.
Making one pot pasta is easy, it just requires getting all the prep done before you start cooking. You’ll want to use a large heavy bottomed pot to make this pasta. Start by sautéing the shallots until they’re soft and then add in the garlic, lemon zest and red pepper flakes. Sauté another minute and then the kale, pasta and water. The water will barely cover all the ingredients at this point, but once the kale wilts and pasta starts to soften everything will settle down.
The pasta will cook uncovered in the pot and you will need to stir it frequently to keep it from sticking together and to evenly cook. After the pasta is al dente, about 10 minutes or so, add in the beans, coconut milk (or heavy cream), pesto. Cook for several more minutes so the pasta is warmed through and gets creamy.
The final step is to add in fresh dill and lemon juice. These ingredients help brighten up the whole dish. Serve the pasta topped with extra Parmesan cheese and dill if you’ll like. This hearty vegetarian pasta is perfect to make when you’re craving healthy comfort food!
More One Pot Pasta Recipes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
- 1 teaspoon grated or minced garlic
- Zest of a lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 12 ounces uncooked fussili or similar size pasta (see above on gluten free pasta)
- 4 cups water
- 14.5 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/3 cup canned full fat coconut milk or heavy cream
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 heaping tablespoons pesto, plus extra for topping the pasta
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- Juice of a lemon
- In a large, heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the shallots and sauté for 2 minutes or until softened. Add in the garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, salt and pepper and sauté another 30 seconds.
- Add in the kale, pasta, water and season with salt and pepper. Stir, then bring to a boil. Cook for approximately 10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Stir frequently. Most of the water should be absorbed at this point.
- Stir in the beans, coconut milk or cream, Parmesan cheese and pesto. Continue to cook until the pasta is creamy and warmed through, taste for seasoning. Finish the pasta by squeezing in the juice of a lemon and adding in the dill. Stir to combine and then serve topped with extra pesto, Parmesan cheese and dill if desired.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 466Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 386mgCarbohydrates: 77gFiber: 8gSugar: 10gProtein: 17g