Creamy White Bean Pasta with Mushrooms & Sage

Creamy White Bean Pasta with Mushrooms & Sage

It’s Bonfire night! Since the 5th is a weekday this year, most of the fireworks displays took place over the weekend when it was, predictably, raining.

Bonfire night always seems to signal the real start of Autumn weather and indeed the temperature has certainly dropped these last couple of days. I’m back on porridge for breakfast and looking for warming meals to fill my tummy after coming in from the cold.

Creamy White Bean Pasta with Mushrooms & Sage

I don’t eat pasta all that often these days. I think maybe I had my fill of it when I was younger when plain pasta was one of the few meals fussy little me liked. I tend to think of it as boring and not particularly nutritious, but I’m realizing that it doesn’t have to be so. Add some beans, greens and wintry herbs and you’ve got a tasty, healthy, and satisfying meal.

I know this dish doesn’t look terribly inspiring but I promise it tastes a lot better than it looks. The creamy sauce is made from white beans and packs a punch of protein as well as bringing the herby mushrooms, pasta and kale together nicely.

Creamy White Bean Pasta with Mushrooms & Sage

Creamy White Bean Pasta with Mushrooms & Sage:

Pasta for 4 people (I like Dove’s Farm Brown Rice Pasta)

1/2T Olive Oil
1 Small Onion
2 Cloves of Garlic
1C White Beans
1T White Miso
1T Lemon Juice
1 1/2C Vegetable Broth
1/2T Olive Oil
250g/8oz Mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced thickly
2T Minced Fresh Sage
Salt & Pepper
A few large handfuls of kale or other greens, chopped

Make the white bean sauce first. Sauté onion over medium heat for 5 minutes in the olive oil, add the garlic and continue to cook for a further couple of minutes.

If you have an immersion blender add the beans, broth, miso and lemon juice to the pot and blend until smooth. Alternatively, transfer onion mixture to a blender, add the other ingredients and blend until smooth. Return to pot and heat gently until warmed through. Add more broth if you prefer a thinner sauce.

Cook pasta according to packet directions.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the remaining olive oil in a pan and sauté mushrooms along with the sage for approx 5 minutes, or until they’ve released their juices. Season with salt and pepper.

Steam greens.

Either add everything to the pasta and mix well to coat with the sauce or layer the separate components on individual plates.

Serves 4

Creamy White Bean Pasta with Mushrooms & Sage

I’ve got so much I want to share with you but am lacking the time to post it at the moment. I hope you’ll all bear with me!

What are your favourite pasta-dishes?

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Leek, Sun-dried Tomato + White Bean “Risotto”

I’m back! Did you miss me?! I doubt anyone actually noticed I was away, it was only 2 days off blogging after all, but having got into the habit of posting every day it felt strange not to publish a post for a couple of days…

Leek, Sun-dried Tomato + White Bean "Risotto" (Cauilfower Rice)

Most vegans, myself included, go vegetarian for a time before moving to vegan, and in that period, whenever I ate out, the typical restaurant menu offering was risotto (usually “wild mushroom” ! ).

This unfortunately wasn’t to my liking, not just because I would have liked to see a bit more creativity, but what came out of the kitchen was always a plate full of stodge. Pretty much just rice, lots of cream and butter and maybe the odd piece of vegetable if you were lucky. Too rich for my tastes and not heavy enough on the veg!

Maybe I shouldn’t complain, at least there was something vegetarian available, not usually the case with vegan meals….

Leek, Sun-dried Tomato + White Bean "Risotto" (Cauilfower Rice)

I’m not against rice in any way and have made pleasant enough vegan risottos at home using it in the past, but wanted to try something a little different this time.

If you’ve been reading a while you may remember my Cauliflower Fried Rice with Grilled Asian Tofu. A dish I really enjoyed, so along the same lines, I decided on cauliflower as the rice component in my risotto!

I used a white bean purée to give the dish some creaminess and studded it with rich sun-dried tomatoes and sautéed leeks for a good punch of flavour.

I loved that this dish was substantial but not heavy and think it would be a great base for all sorts of flavour combinations. A Spanish paella with tomatoes, brightly coloured peppers and olives would be scrummy I’m sure, or how about adding chunks of sweet potato and spinach? You could also add some nutritional yeast for cheesiness.

Oh, and there’s none of that standing over the stove and stirring endlessly that traditional risotto involves here.

Leek, Sun-dried Tomato + White Bean "Risotto" (Cauilfower Rice)

Leek, Sundried Tomato & White Bean “Risotto”:

(Adapted from Fork and Beans)

1/2 Medium head of cauliflower (to yield approx 3C when chopped fine)
1/2T Olive oil + 1t (divided)
1/2 Onion, thinly sliced
2 Cloves of garlic, minced
3/4t Dried thyme or 1 sprig fresh thyme
1 1/2C/1 Can Cooked white beans
1C Vegetable broth
1 Large leek, trimmed and sliced into half-moons
1/3C Chopped sun-dried tomatoes (soft or rehydrated)
2T Pine nuts, toasted
Salt + Pepper
Squeeze of lemon (optional)

Place the cauliflower florets in a food processor and pulse until you get a coarse “rice” like texture. Be careful not to overprocess as you want some texture.

Heat 1/2T olive oil in a medium-size pan and sauté onion for a few minutes until soft. Add garlic and thyme and continue to cook for a minute, stirring. Add half the white beans and the vegetable broth. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Blend this mixture using an immersion blender  until a smooth purée.

Meanwhile, in another pan, sauté leeks for 10 minutes in remaining oil with a pinch of salt, for 10 minutes, or until soft.

Add the leeks, sun-dried tomatoes, remaining white beans and cauliflower rice to the white bean purée, season well with salt and pepper and stir. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes until everything is warmed through. Add a squeeze of lemon if you like.

Divide between 2 bowls, top with a few grinds of black pepper and toasted pine nuts.

Serves 2


I’m submitting this recipe to the weekly link party, Wellness Weekends, and Comfort Food Potluck Party over at Pure Ella.

What’s your experience of the typical veg meal on the menu?

Are you a risotto fan?

P is for…



I was a little confused about the difference between cornmeal and polenta and the line between the two does seem to be fairly blurred. This is one opinion from the Kitchn. I tend to think of polenta as medium or coarse cornmeal and use it mainly for making cornbread (!) and cornmeal pancakes.

This post from Little Vegan Bear reminded me that it’s great on it’s own too. You can eat it creamy and soft (I like it this way for breakfast as an alternative to porridge) or pour it into a dish, cool it, cut it into shapes and bake or pan-fry until crispy.

Many people seem to think they don’t like polenta but I’m convinced that’s because they haven’t had it cooked well. It is very bland so needs plenty of seasoning to make it taste good.

I stirred in some pesto and sundried tomatoes to really amp up the flavour here and served it with some simple balsamic white beans with tomatoes and basil which complemented the dish well.

Pesto Polenta Triangles, Balsamic White Beans with Cherry Tomatoes + Basil

Pesto Polenta Triangles:

2C Water
3/4C Polenta
1/2t Salt
1/4C Non-dairy Milk (unsweetened)
1T Nutritional yeast
1 1/2T Pesto
1/4C Sundried tomatoes (oil-packed or dried + reconstituted in hot water)

Bring the water to a boil in a medium-size pan. Add the polenta and salt and turn the heat down, it might splutter so be careful! It will start to thicken quickly so whisk vigorously to avoid lumps.

If you’re using regular polenta, stir to thicken for 5-10 minutes then add the remaining ingredients. If using instant polenta it will only need about 2 minutes to thicken up.

When all ingredients are incorporated and the mixture is very thick, pour into a lightly oiled container, smooth out top and leave to cool. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Cut polenta into 6 equal triangles (or shape of your choice). Heat a pan over high and add a drizzle of olive oil. Pan-fry polenta triangles for a approx 3 minutes on both sides until crisp.

Serves 2-3

Pesto Polenta Triangles, Balsamic White Beans with Cherry Tomatoes + Basil

I like to use larger white beans like butter beans here but cannellini would also work well. I love this bean dish. It’s sweet and syrupy from the balsamic and red onion, and the juicy cherry tomatoes, just beginning to collapse, burst in your mouth. Plenty of garlic and basil round everything out.

Balsamic White Beans w/Cherry Tomatoes + Basil:

1/2T Olive oil
1/2 Red onion, diced small
1 Clove of garlic, minced
1/4t Dried thyme (optional)
125g/4oz Cherry tomatoes
1 1/2C/1 Can cooked white beans
2T Balsamic vinegar
Salt + pepper

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high. Cook red onion for a few minutes until soft, add garlic and thyme and sauté for another minute. Add Cherry tomatoes and continue to cook until beginning to collapse. Finally add white beans and balsamic vinegar and cook until warm through and the balsamic has reduced.

Season with salt and pepper and serve

Serves 2-3


Pesto Polenta Triangles, Balsamic White Beans with Cherry Tomatoes + Basil

A few dishes using polenta that I’ve got my eye on…

This Polenta topping for fruit crumble from David Lebovitz sounds a lovely way to change up my favourite oaty version

This Sweet Potato & Coconut Polenta with Asian Vegetable Fricasée sounds absolutely delicious and is really different to any other polenta dishes I’ve seen.

These South-western Bean & Cornmeal Cakes- You knew I’d feature a patty recipe didn’t you?!

Over to you…

Have you had good experiences with polenta? What do you make with it?


Side Notes: Coconut and Berries now has a print recipe feature! Just click on the link “Print Recipe here” and you’ll be taken to a pdf showing only the recipe without the rest of the post and pictures, for easy printing. Hope it’s helpful for some of you.  

Radish, White Bean + Avocado Quinoa Salad

Poor radishes are definitely an under used vegetable in my kitchen. I’ve tended to think of them as Peter Rabbit food and un-enthusiastically eaten the few puny things I pulled out of the ground when I tried to grow them last year.  Seeing this beautiful bunch though, I immediately knew I needed to rethink my opinion on these baby roots, and certainly show them more respect than I had previously. Aren’t they pretty with their bright pink and little white tips? Especially when they’re still in a bunch with their leaves on.

Bunch of Radishes

It was one of those evenings when all ambitions to be good with meal-planning have gone out the window,  I’m sure familiar to everyone reading (or else you’re much more organized then me….). 7pm has rolled around already and you’ve done nothing about dinner preparations. Actually, I had already decided that I wanted something with white beans, soaked them overnight, set them to simmer earlier in the day…only to forget about them and end up with a pot of burned beans! Canned beans are perfect for such emergency situations!

I put on some quinoa to cook while I chopped up my radishes, washed and dried the radish tops, drained and rinsed the canned beans, quickly cooked up a few frozen green peas and whisked together a simple dressing. I spread out the quinoa to cool a little while finishing up watering the garden, picking up some fresh dill en route, then back to my kitchen where I mixed everything together, sliced some avocado for topping and voilà! A beautiful, no-fuss dinner was served.

Radish, White Bean + Avocado Quinoa Salad

Radish, White Bean + Avocado Quinoa Salad

(Inspired by A Couple Cooks)

For the salad:

1/2C Quinoa, uncooked OR 1 1/2 C Cooked quino
1/2 Can white beans, drained and rinsed OR 3/4C Cooked beans
1C Sliced radishes
1/2C Frozen peas (optional)
4-5 Sprigs of dill, roughly chopped

For the dressing:

1-2 Shallots, thinly sliced
1/2T Apple cider vinegar
1/2t Dijon mustard
1/2t Agave nectar
2T Lemon juice
1T Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

To serve:

Radish tops, julienned OR mild salad greens e.g. watercress/pea shoots
1 Medium Avocado, sliced thick

If you need to cook your quinoa, rinse well and drain. Place in a pot with 1C water and a large pinch of salt, bring to the boil and let simmer 10-15minutes, tightly covered, until water is all evaporated. When done leave to sit for a few minutes covered until completely dry. To cool, spread it out onto a plate or a flat dish while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Cook frozen peas if using, boil 2-3 minutes then rinse with cold water to keep them fresh. Set aside.

While quinoa is cooking/cooling put the sliced shallots in a little bowl with the apple cider vinegar for 10 minutes (this soaking them takes a little of the bite out of them). Whisk together remaining dressing ingredients.

In a large bowl mix together, quinoa, white beans, peas, dill and radishes. Pour over dressing, including shallots and their soaking vinegar and toss to combine. Season well with salt and pepper. Serve on a bed of salad greens and top with sliced avocado.

Serves 2

Radish, White Bean + Avocado Quinoa Salad

This kind of grain, bean, vegetable type of salad is ideal for quick meals and something I often make a larger quantity of and store in the fridge for lunches throughout the week. Add the avocado and salad greens fresh when serving.

How do you eat your radishes, if you like them?