Garlicky White Bean Pasta “Faux-Fredo” with Kale Pesto (V, DF)

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It has been soooooo long since I’ve had a nice creamy pasta alfredo. You know, the traditional kind made with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and butter and maybe a little milk or cream. I salivate at the thought. Pasta alfredo was my all-time time favorite pasta dish as a child, a teen, and a young adult, so it goes without saying (but I’m going to say it anyways) that I’ve had more than my fair share of alfredo sauce throughout my life. But, sadly, my days of shoveling down heaping bowls of creamy white sauce seems like a lifetime ago. Until now.

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After a few years of harboring a deep desire for pasta alfredo but knowing I can’t justify the awful heavy belly feeling that will ultimately strike with a vengeance after I polish off my plate, I decided it was high time I joined the “faux-fredo” club. Of course, over the past few years, I’ve semi-faked out a creamy pasta dish with a mix of goat cheese and soy milk or cauliflower and cheese, but I’ve never gone so far as to try to do a real faux-fredo with no dairy at all. It just seemed, to me, gross and unnecessary — like those fake cheese slices at the grocery store. Shudder. If you can’t have the real thing or close to the real thing, what’s the point in faking it? Plus, in the past, I felt like I was doing enough by at least cutting down on the dairy, but lately my body has been telling me that I need to cut down even more to, like, zero.

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At first I was all, thanks a lot body. But, then, I remembered my new bestie – the white bean. And, I was all, heeeyyyy friend. Come on over. Yep, jump into this pan with that pasta and make some alfredo babies. How YOU doing? And, you know what? For a brief moment in time, I was like cheese who? I didn’t really miss it. Because I had garlic, I had creamy white beans and I had a bright kale pesto to ramp up the flavor to a place I never knew faux-fredo could go. That would be food heaven.

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SO GOOD and SO CREAMY. And I can’t stress enough just how delicious and fiberlicious this dish is. Yep, with the beans, the whole-wheat pasta, and the kale you are definitely getting your fair share of fiber for the day. If you have gluten issues, feel free to swap the whole-wheat pasta for brown rice or quinoa. You could also use rice or potatoes. Really this sauce would taste awesome dumped on pretty much anything. I’m thinking white bean sauce lasagna, white bean sauce casseroles, the sky is the limit. If only there were more hours in the day, I would spend just about ALL of them eating this sauce, thinking about this sauce, dreaming about this sauce. *Sigh* White beans, will you marry me?

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5.0 from 2 reviews
Garlicky White Bean Pasta Faux-Fredo with Kale Pesto
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4
  • 3 cups kale (fresh with tough stems removed or frozen)
  • ¼ cup raw walnuts
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt & black pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup vegan margarine
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups canned white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened soy milk
  • Coarse salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound whole wheat penne pasta
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving
  2. Transfer the kale, walnuts and garlic to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream and process to a coarse purée.
  4. Cook pasta according to package. Drain and keep warm, retaining one tablespoon pasta water.
  5. In a large sauté pan over low heat, melt the margarine. Add the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  6. Transfer the margarine mixture to a blender or food processor, and add the white beans, vegetable broth, soy milk and pasta water. Blend until completely smooth.
  7. Pour the sauce back into the pan over low heat, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the sauce is warm.
  8. Add the sauce to the pasta, and mix until all the noodles are covered in sauce. Divide pasta among 4 bowls. Top each bowl with 2-3 tablespoons kale pesto and some olive oil.
  9. NOTE: At first, it may seem like you have too much sauce for the pasta, but the noodles quickly soak up all that sauce. To reheat leftovers, I like to slowly warm the pasta on the stove and add ¼ cup broth to help loosen up the sauce.


  1. Lisa says

    this recipe is wonderful! i just tried it with some modifications: i cooked two big cloves of garlic with the noodles (left the pasta in the sieve to drain) and put them in the mixer with 1can borlotti beans, 2tsp tapioca, cooking water+soymilk till everything measured 2c, blended the mix and seasoned it with salt, pepper, parsley, thyme and nutmeg. then i heated some coconut oil in the pasta pot, added the pasta and sauce to heat it through. eating this right now with finely chopped chives and some more sea salt sprinkled on top. thanks for bringing pasta back to me!

  2. says

    I’ve just discovered the wonders of white beans as a dairy substitute and made a lasagna with them last night! That pesto looks divine — perfect for the springtime Winter weather.

    • healthyrecipeecstasy says

      Thanks!! I am currently obsessed with white beans. I have to stop myself from making every new blog about white beans. I haven’t tried them in lasagna yet. I’ll have to add that to my list. :)

    • healthyrecipeecstasy says

      BTW – just went on your blog. Love it! My husband and I would love to be global travelers covering eats around the world. Best job ever!

  3. Kelsey says

    Just wondeing what would be a good
    sub for walnuts? Maybe cashews? I have an allergy to walnuts but this recipe sounds great!

  4. Solipsis says

    The fauxfredo was great! Truly the best non-dairy, non-tomato pasta sauce I’ve tried so far (better than the carrot/beet puree I usually use).

    For the pesto, I used cashews and added a bunch of basil. It was okay, but tasted a little too much like yard clippings for me :)

    • healthyrecipeecstasy says

      Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed the sauce! Yeah, the pesto is an acquired taste if you’re not big into bitter greens. :)

  5. Felicia says

    This looks so good! I prefer sauces without nutritional yeast (1/4+ cups seems like a lot to me, and it’s okay but not great as far as taste), and without cashews (which I hate the taste of, and the BF is allergic).

    I’m so excited to try this! I love beans, and this will add more protein to the meal, which’ll probably make it even more filling. :)

    Could I make this sauce ahead of time and just warm it up to put on pasta? That would be awesome.

    • healthyrecipeecstasy says

      Thanks Felicia! I love beans too, and it’s a really filling pasta. :) I think you could definitely make the sauce ahead of time. That will probably work better than making a big batch ahead of time because the sauce really sticks to the pasta once you mix it together. Keeping it and heating it separate would probably help the sauce stay creamy.

  6. Felicia says

    Also, do you think this would be good without the pesto and maybe with roasted veggies instead?

    • healthyrecipeecstasy says

      Absolutely! It definitely needs something otherwise the flavor will be too bland, and I think roasted veggies could work if you’re not feeling the pesto.

  7. Alice says

    Really, really good. Why don’t we see beans as a blended ingredient more often?! I love how this recipe is kind of a blank slate and gladly takes on a variety flavors. I added about 1/4 nutritional yeast, 2-3 Tbsp red wine vinegar, and 1.5 tsp dried sage to the white bean sauce. Not a drastic difference but pretty delicious.

  8. Sherry Ann Allen says

    Do you have a newsletter? I looked but did not see a place to subscribe. If you do have a newsletter, please add my name to your distribution list!

    Thank you!

  9. Trish says

    This is wonderful and I’ve made it twice in less than a week. First time I followed directions exactly and tossed in with some soy noodles and last night I just made the sauce and tossed it in with mashed potatoes to make the mash extra creamy and delicious (this will be how I make my mash potatoes from now on!). The second time I cooked the garlic in a little olive oil instead of vegan butter. I think it was slightly better with oil and probably a tad healthier. Thanks!

  10. Samreen says

    this looks amazing! Is it okay if I use the home cooked white beans instead of the canned ones?

  11. Trena says

    just made this recipe tonight for dinner and it was amazing…i have made a lot of different white sauces with all different ingredients – cashews, soy milk, almond milk, nutritional yeast, tahini paste, squash, but never with white beans.. love it, thank you for sharing;)


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