Sunday, November 04, 2012

Recipe for Meatless Penne Pasta with White Beans, Roasted Tomatoes, and Herbs

Meatless Penne Pasta with White Beans, Roasted Tomatoes, and Herbs
A delicious meatless sauce for penne pasta with white beans, roasted tomatoes, and herbs.

(Updated with new photos and better instructions, November 2012.)  The longer you've been food blogging, the more certain it is is that you have some wonderful recipes back in the archives with really ghastly photos.  When I spotted this recipe from 2007 for Penne Pasta with White Beans, Roasted Tomatoes, and Rosemary, I remembered it had been good, but I knew I had to take new photos if I was going to entice anyone to try this for a Meatless Monday dinner.  Luckily,  I had slow roasted tomatoes in the freezer and fresh rosemary and basil in the garden, and although re-taking old photos can sometimes seem like an endless job, eating the food again is definitely one of the best perks of blogging.  (Scroll down past the step-by-step photos to see the picture from 2007.)

The recipe is from a cookbook called 50 Great Pasta Sauces that I received as a review copy (back when I accepted products to review.) The recipe in the book called for soaking white beans and cooking them in lots of stock, which I'm sure would be great, but I made this on day I didn't plan ahead and the sauce was wonderful even with canned beans.  I used chicken stock, but if you make this with vegetable stock and skip the Parmesan, this pasta dish would be vegan.  (You can find more meatless recipes by using the label Meatless Monday or checking Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index, and I'm also doing a meatless slow cooker recipe each Monday on Slow Cooker from Scratch.  For more Meatless Monday ideas from other bloggers check Meatless Monday at BlogHer, where I write a weekly post spotlighting one of the fabulous meatless recipe ideas I find around the web or visit my Meatless Monday Pinterest board.)

If you don't have slow roasted tomatoes in the freezer, you can start with some fresh tomatoes and roast them for a few hours in the oven.  

The original recipe had celery and carrots, but this time I increased the tomatoes and used plenty of chopped red onion, minced garlic, and fresh rosemary.  (If you only have dried rosemary, I would grind it  or mash in a mortar and pestle.)

Heat 2 T olive oil in a large pan; saute the red onion and then the garlic.

Add the chicken or vegetable broth with the cooked (or canned) beans, and simmer about 10 minutes. 

Then add the chopped fresh rosemary and simmer about 10 minutes more.  (Start the pasta water boiling when you add the rosemary, and add the salt and pasta when the water boils.)

Cook the pasta until it's just al dente, according to package directions.  Drain the pasta well, saving about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water in case you want to add it.

By now the sauce has cooked down so it's fairly thick like this.  Add the tomatoes and cook about 5-10 minutes more.

I made this when I still had fresh basil, so I added 1/4 cup to the sauce at this point.  (If you don't have basil you could add a few tablespoons of pesto, or just skip the basil.)

Then add the drained pasta and stir gently to combine.  If you think it looks dry, add some of the pasta cooking water.  Serve hot, with freshly grated Parmesan if desired.

And as promised, here is the original photo from 2007.  (Yikes.)

Meatless Penne Pasta with White Beans, Roasted Tomatoes, and Herbs
(Makes 4 servings, recipe adapted from 50 Great Pasta Sauces.)

Sauce Ingredients:
10-12 small tomatoes, roasted (or use 1 cup slow roasted tomatoes)
2 T olive oil
1/2 cup diced red onion (1 small onion)
1/4 cup minced garlic (or less, but this was great with all the garlic)
2 cups homemade chicken stock or vegetable stock (or 1 can broth plus a little water)
1 can (15 oz) white beans with juice (or use 2 cups pre-cooked white beans)
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (or 2-3 T basil pesto), optional
1/2 cup reserved pasta cooking water

3 cups (uncooked) Dreamfields Penne or other pasta of your choice (Use Dreamfields or whole wheat pasta for South Beach Diet)
1 tsp. salt, for pasta cooking water
1/2 cup or more coarsely grated fresh Parmesan cheese (optional)

If you need to roast the tomatoes, preheat oven to 250 F.  Cut tomatoes in fourths lengthwise, sprinkle with sea salt and roast 2 hours on a cookie sheet that's covered with foil.

When tomatoes are nearly done roasting, chop onion, and rosemary and mince the garlic.  Heat olive oil in heavy frying pan, then add onions and saute about 5 minutes, until just starting to brown.  Add the garlic and cook about 2 minutes more.

Add chicken stock and canned beans, turn heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes. Add the chopped rosemary and cook about 10 minutes more. Then add the roasted tomatoes and cook 5-10 minutes more.  Stir in the chopped basil or pesto if using and turn off the heat.

While sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add pasta, and cook until al dente, about 9 minutes for Dreamfields. Drain well, saving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water.

Toss the pasta with the sauce, adding the reserved cooking water if needed.  Serve hot, topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

South Beach Suggestions:
Made with Dreamfields or whole wheat pasta, you could have a small serving of this for phase 2 of the South Beach Diet, or a larger serving for phase 3.  (I have recently learned that if Dreamfields pasta is cooked for a long time or reheated it increases the glycemic index, so this recipe is probably only for phase 3 if reheated.)

Nutritional Information? I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Meatless Pasta Recipes to try:
Pasta with Slow Roasted Tomatoes from The Perfect Pantry
Vegetarian Whole Wheat Pasta with Fried Kale, Tomato Sauce, and Goat Cheese from Kalyn's Kitchen
Mushroom Bolognese from The Italian Dish
Penne Pasta with Wilted Arugula, Basil, Ricotta, and Parmesan Sauce from Kalyn's Kitchen
Pasta with Roasted Vegetables from Apple a Day

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

This was originally posted as my contribution for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by The Chocolate Lady from In Mol Araan.
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More to Chew On:


  1. Looks fantastic. Roasted veggies in the oven is a great thing to do when it is too cold to go to the grill.

  2. I love tomatoes prepared all ways, but the roasting really brings out their flavor. Thanks for the healthful and delicious recipe.

  3. Oh, my heart be still. I really am in no hurry for the heat of summer, I'm happy by my warm fire. But I do miss the summer tomatoes. This is so what I love to eat I will be saving this for when I have those tomatoes again.

  4. Kalyn, I love tomatoes. They are in season now in AUstralia, and the flavour is just awesome. :) Thanks for the idea in your posts. I am trying to use more tomatoes now!

  5. Kalyn, I love that this receipe has beans in it. When I make pasta without meat, I always worry that my kids aren't getting enough protein. I can't wait for tomato season.

  6. Garden fresh tomatoes are the best reason I know of to have a garden. And when the season is nearing it's end, and you've got more tomatoes than time to eat them, roasting them (and every other vegetable, as well as garlic) is about the best thing I know of. Thanks for the reminder!

  7. Ih that looks good!

    Kalyn, I finally bought the SBD book - I plan to begin on Feb. 25 or 26.

    I will be here kukring a lot! Bless you!

  8. Thanks everyone. This was so simple but tasted so good. It wasn't just he roasted tomatoes, the veggies sauteed with the rosemary were also delicious.

    Mimi, good luck on South Beach. It's not that hard at all. I have a friend who's starting January 19 also. After you finish the first two weeks you'll be amazed at the weight you can lose in that short of time. Then when you hit phase two you can eat Dreamfield's pasta, whole wheat bread, Uncle Ben's rice, and starchy veggies again. You can do it.

  9. I finally (finally!) found Dreamfield's pasta for sale--and I just happened to buy penne. Now if I'd only roasted tomatoes last year, LOL. Next year! Thanks for all the extra roasted tomato links.

  10. Farmgirl, I think you're going to love Dreamfields pasta. Next year when your garden is bursting with tomatoes, be sure to roast some. (Save enough to make that great tomato pesto pie though.)

  11. I think I can, too, Kalyn.

    Thanks for the encouragement.

  12. Hi Kalyn,

    Well, I love the combination of tomatoes and white beans, and I love the combination of just about *anything* and pasta. I have not tried slow-roasting yet--Usually I don't want to have my oven on for two hours in the middle of summer--but perhaps the ideal opportunity will arise.
    Thanks for the chance to host whb--I am learning so much.

  13. Kalyn, I have one last batch of slow-roasted tomatoes in the freezer, and maybe this is the way to use matter what, I'm going to make many more batches of these next summer. I'm not going to short myself this time around!

  14. I've been using my 'summer' tomatoes, too. Aren't they wonderful?
    You're pasta looks wonderful, as well - anything with white beans!

  15. Haha let's not talk about ghastly photos...I have quite a few in my arsenal. I'm LOVING the sound of this dish and I'm so glad you reposted it! I wasn't blogging yet when you originally made it so I'm really excited to be introduced to it!

  16. This is loaded with so many fresh delicious flavors. My family would love it.

  17. Joanne, I haven't seen many bad photos from you!

    Barbara, thanks. Glad you like it!

  18. Well, let me tell you, your photos definitely make me want to make this. Roasted tomatoes always add such a wonderful layer of flavor to dishes.

  19. I still have rosemary, thyme and parsley in my garden, and this looks like just the kind of recipe that can accommodate all three. (And isn't it fun to update your photos? Makes this look like a completely new dish!)

  20. Thanks Dara. I love roasted tomatoes no matter how you use them!

    Lydia, I think all those herbs will work here. Yes, new photos are very satisfying.

  21. Except for soups, I've never mixed beans with pasta - sounds pretty nice and hearty, so I'll keep this in mind, Kalyn

  22. I've never tried pasta with beans except for in soup - this looks like a great meatless meal Kalyn (and I love the updated pictures).


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