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Bean Bolognese

WebMD Recipe from

Total Time: 40 mins

Bean Bolognese

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. To make the perfect meal, serve with a peppery arugula salad and warm, crusty Italian bread.


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


Step 1
Put a large pot of water on to boil. Mash 1/2 cup beans in a small bowl with a fork.
Step 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.
Step 3
Meanwhile, cook pasta in the boiling water until just tender, about 9 minutes or according to package directions. Drain.
Step 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.


A can of salad beans, a mixture of chickpeas, kidney and pinto beans, adds depth and variety to this recipe. Look for it in the natural-foods section of larger supermarkets or natural-foods stores. If you can’t find it, substitute a can of your favorite beans.

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