Fettuccine Alfredo with Cannellini Beans

Fettuccine Alfredo with cannellini beans is an incredible version of a classic. A vegan sauce replaces heavy cream with puréed white beans without sacrificing anything at all. Nutritional yeast kicks the umami up a notch, too. Healthy yet utterly satisfying and tasty.

Fettuccine Alfredo with cannellini beans in a large white bowl with a fork, beside a striped cloth.

Adapted from Andrea Soranidis | The Vegan Bean Cookbook | Page Street Publishing, 2021

You’ll be amazed by how many things you can do with beans, those tiny little powerhouses. If you’ve ever thought that beans are boring, I’m here to change your mind with a vegan bean recipe for a creamy, lemony, umami-filled pasta dish. Beans are inexpensive, easy to find, and loaded with plant-based protein and lots of other healthy goodness. I mean, what’s not to love?—Andrea Soranidis

WHAT IS #LC HUMP DAY PASTA?

We’re glad you asked. LC Hump Day Pasta (#LCHumpDayPasta) is a little something we cooked up to help you on the night of the week that you feel least like cooking. Wednesday was traditionally Prince Spaghetti Day (for those of you old enough to remember). We’ve revamped and updated that to Hump Day and included every type of pasta there is.

Fettuccine Alfredo with Cannellini Beans FAQs

What’s nutritional yeast? Do I need to use it in this sauce?

Umami-rich nutritional yeast is a key ingredient in the sauce, as it provides a cheesy flavor, so it’s worth picking up even if it’s not one of your pantry staples.

Can I use dry beans here?

If you have time, using dry beans is a very convenient and inexpensive solution, but there’s a tiny thing to note. When you cook dry beans, you might notice that they’re still pretty hard even after cooking them for hours. That probably means the beans are too old. If that’s the case, unfortunately, they won’t get more tender as they cook, and there’s not much you can do to salvage them.

Fettuccine Alfredo with Cannellini Beans

Fettuccine Alfredo with cannellini beans in a large white bowl with a fork, beside a striped cloth.
Who would have ever guessed that you can turn a can of white beans into a delicious and creamy alfredo sauce? This vegan take on the classic American favorite is healthy, speedy, nutritious, and totally guilt-free!
Andrea Soranidis

Prep 15 mins
Cook 30 mins
Total 45 mins
Entree
American
4 servings
514 kcal
No ratings yet
Print RecipeBuy the The Vegan Bean Cookbook cookbook

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Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 (2 oz) yellow onion minced
  • 2 garlic cloves finely sliced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • One (15.5 oz) can cannellini beans navy beans, or Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon preferably organic
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup hot store-bought or homemade vegetable stock
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 13 ounces fettuccine or other long pasta
  • 1 handful fresh parsley leaves finely chopped

Directions
 

  • In a large skillet over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until just soft, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, pepper flakes, and beans and continue to cook until the vegetables have softened, adding a splash of water if necessary, about 5 minutes more.
  • Transfer the sautéed bean mixture to a food processor. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and the nutritional yeast, and pulse until it reaches a chunky consistency.
  • Set the food processor on slow speed and gently pour in the stock, a little at a time, and continue to blend until the sauce becomes creamy. You may not need all of the stock. Season with a generous pinch of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Taste and add more lemon juice, salt, and pepper, if desired.
  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, and as soon as the water boils, fold in the pasta and cook until al dente, according to package instructions.
  • Reserve 1/2 cup (118 ml) of the pasta cooking water from the pot and drain the pasta in a colander. Return the pasta to the pot, stir in the vegan alfredo sauce and toss gently to combine all the ingredients, adding a little of the reserved pasta water, if needed, to reach a velvety sauce consistency.
  • Top the fettuccine with lemon zest, chopped parsley, and freshly cracked black pepper, and serve.
Print RecipeBuy the The Vegan Bean Cookbook cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Show Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 514kcal (26%)Carbohydrates: 86g (29%)Protein: 20g (40%)Fat: 11g (17%)Saturated Fat: 2g (13%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 77mg (26%)Sodium: 500mg (22%)Potassium: 300mg (9%)Fiber: 9g (38%)Sugar: 3g (3%)Vitamin A: 352IU (7%)Vitamin C: 2mg (2%)Calcium: 106mg (11%)Iron: 4mg (22%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This fettuccine alfredo with cannellini beans recipe was a pleasant surprise. I normally love a rich creamy sauce made from traditional heavy cream. However, this dish exceeded my expectations and can serve as a great substitute.

The bean mixture created a creamy texture that held onto the pasta. Sautéing the beans with the garlic, onions, and red pepper flakes gave the resulting velvety mixture great flavor. Some cooks don’t like to take the time to season certain ingredients. However, this vital step is highlighted in this recipe and the result proves its importance.

Overall, this recipe is one for the books. It’s simple and easy to follow. If a tweak were to be made, I wouldn’t add water in step one if the ingredients started to stick to the skillet. Instead, I’d use the flavorful vegetable stock that’s called for in other portions of the recipe, so keep a little extra laying around your pantry. Adding vegetable stock won’t dilute the flavors you worked hard to create but will enhance them.

Alfredo is one of my favourite pasta dishes and while I’m not sure I’d call this an alfredo, it’s a lovely pasta that’s creamy without being heavy.

I made the sauce early so this dish came together in the time that it took to cook the pasta. The heat from the pepper flakes was quite pronounced from sitting and although not usually included in alfredo, we really enjoyed it. I’d slowly add the lemon juice to suit your taste. I found adding 1.5 teaspoons was enough to brighten the flavour for us. I also left the zest on the side for people to add themselves.

If you slice your garlic on the thick side, then add a splash of water and cover the pan to steam the garlic until soft. Next time I’ll increase the nutritional yeast slightly. I think the heat level may have taken away a bit of the flavour. We’ll definitely be making this again.

This fettuccine alfredo with cannellini beans was delicious but it wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought this would be more like an actual alfredo sauce – creamy with just a touch of garlic. This was more like a creamy version of Aglio e Olio. My sister-in-law is vegan, so I had her come over for a taste. She agreed that it tasted wonderful, but that the texture/mouth-feel wasn’t quite right. The addition of some soaked raw cashews would give it a silkier texture and cutting down on the lemon and reducing (or eliminating) the red pepper flakes would make it more alfredo-like.

Originally published December 22, 2021

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Comments

    1. Nutritional yeast is a deactivated form of yeast. Because this is a vegan recipe, it’s used here as a cheese substitute. It has a strong flavor that some call cheesy or nutty. You can leave it out and go for plain ole parmesan cheese.

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