Creamy Spinach Cannellini Pasta with almond parmesan and crispy beets


This pasta dish is a simple, creamy, high protein and high fibre weeknight dinner. It's great warm or cold; I often have this for lunch the next day straight from the fridge. Cannellini beans make the base for the pasta sauce, so it is completely dairy-free (of course) yet rich and satisfying without the usual 'pasta hangover'. Crispy fried beet slices are a unique and delicious textural accompaniment to this dish.
Course Main Course
Keyword Pasta
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 people


For the Pasta & Sauce

  • 280 g about 2 cups dried brown rice or whole grain pasta
  • 2 cups cooked cannellini beans canned or from dry
  • 1 cup fresh spinach tightly packed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
  • sea salt & pepper to taste

Almond Parmesan

  • 1/2 cup raw almonds unsalted
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews unsalted
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • heaping 1/2 tsp sea salt

Crispy Beets

  • 1 large beet thinly sliced on a mandolin (washed and unpeeled)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch of ground cumin
  • sea salt & pepper


  • Fresh chopped parsley or pea shoots for additional garnish


Make the Almond Parmesan:

  1. Combine the almonds, cashews, nutritional yeast and salt in a high powered blender or food processor. Pulse just until fine grounds form (don't over process or you'll end up with nut butter). Store in a reusable container fitted with a lid and place in the fridge until ready to use.

Make the pasta sauce:

  1. To a food processor, add the cannellini beans, spinach, olive oil, nutritional yeast, garlic, lemon juice, vegetable stock and coconut milk. Process until the mixture is smooth and even. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Cook the Pasta & make the Beet Chips:

  1. In a large pot, cook the pasta as per the package directions. While the pasta is cooking, make the beet chips.
  2. In a medium fry pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Carefully add the thinly sliced beets in a single layer, season with sea salt, pepper and a light dusting of cumin. Fry three minutes a side or just until crispy. Remove from the pan and place on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb any excess olive oil.
  3. The pasta should be cooked to al dente now; strain and place back in the cooking pot.


  1. Pour the pasta sauce over the cooked noodles and stir until evenly distributed. The heat of the cooked noodles should warm the pasta sauce, or simply stir the coated pasta over medium-low until heated through. Plate and top with 1-2 tbsp of almond 'parmesan', several beet chips, and chopped parsley/pea shoots (if desired).

Recipe Notes

this recipe makes enough almond 'Parmesan' to last you quite a while. If you've made any of my other recipes, you may still have some on hand. Keep any leftover 'Parmesan' in an airtight container in the fridge.