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October 1, 2014

Pasta, Sweet Potato and White Bean Casserole

Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton

  • Thick and cheesy-looking without dairy or too much oil, this sauce works well in a baked pasta casserole. Meredith Lee/The HSUS

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, chopped roughly
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup (60ml) white wine (optional)
1 1/2 cups (340g) yellow-fleshed sweet potatoes, cooked
2 cups (450g) cooked navy or cannellini (white kidney) beans
1 cup (225ml) vegetable stock
1/2 to 3/4 cup (115ml to 170ml) water (to thin sauce, as desired)
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 to 1 pound (340g to 450g) whole-grain pasta of choice
Additional salt and pepper, to taste
1 to 2 teaspoons extra olive oil (optional)
1 cup (225g) bread crumbs (optional)
Plant-based parmesan (optional)

In a pot, combine the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper (to taste). Cook covered over low or medium-low heat for 4 to 6 minutes, to soften the garlic. Lower the heat if necessary—do not let the garlic brown or burn.

Remove the cover, add the wine, if using, turn the heat to high to bring the sauce to a boil, and let it bubble for a minute or two. Add the sweet potato, white beans (drained and rinsed), vegetable stock and 1/2 cup (115ml) of the water.

Turn off the heat, and with an immersion blender, puree the mixture in the pot until it is very smooth. Turn on the heat to medium again and cook the sauce again until heated through (for 7 to 10 minutes). Add the thyme, nutmeg and lemon juice and stir.

Add an extra 1/4 teaspoon or more of salt (to taste) to the sauce, and thin it with additional water as preferred.

While the sauce is cooking, begin cooking the pasta according to the package directions, and preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C).

Toss the sauce with the cooked pasta, add more salt and pepper if needed, and transfer it to a baking dish. For a richer flavor, top the casserole with bread crumbs, a teaspoon or two of oil, and a sprinkle of plant-based parmesan and bake in the preheated oven until the top is crispy.


  • This sauce can be partially or fully pre-made, and then reheated when you are ready to cook your pasta.
  • You can bake the sweet potato in advance: scrub the potato (leaving the peel intact), place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake at 400 F (204 C) for 45 to 60 minutes, until tender. Baking time depends on the size of the potato.
  • You can substitute orange-fleshed sweet potato in this recipe, but the yellow-fleshed kind is preferable. (Just don't substitute white potatoes.)
  • You can also layer this sauce with lasagna noodles and other fillings (e.g., cashew cheese or roasted vegetables).

Recipe adapted from "Let Them Eat Vegan" by Dreena Burton.


All figures are per serving (assumes 4 servings).

Calories: 762
Fat: 13 g 
Carbs: 136 g
Fiber: 24 g
Protein: 25 g
Sodium: 340 mg