I was wandering through the produce section at my local Walmart when a container of deeply red, shiny cherry tomatoes called to me. That night, this vegetarian pasta with burst cherry tomato sauce and white beans was born. A few days prior, I saw a private chef on Instagram making a tomato sauce with white beans, which I thought was interesting. The beans add a sweetness, varied texture, and a great source of protein to this pasta dish. You could, of course, add grilled chicken to this, but I like to have some vegetarian options for dinners. Meat is expensive these days, ya know? So, grab your cherry tomatoes and let’s do this!
Ingredients For Pasta With Burst Cherry Tomato Sauce And White Beans
The ingredients for this speedy dish are very simple. You will need:
- 1/2 pound pasta, such as rotini or cavatappi.
- extra virgin olive oil
- cherry tomatoes
- seasonings- salt, pepper, Tony Chachere’s No Salt Seasoning (optional), and granulated sugar.
- garnishes- grated parmesan cheese, additional cherry tomatoes, flat leaf parsley. All optional
During testing for this recipe, I had varied results depending on the tomatoes that I used.
In this case, I found the brand of cherry tomatoes really made a difference in the final sauce. If you have garden cherry tomatoes, that would be the very best. If you, like I, don’t have a vegetable garden, I highly recommend the NatureSweet Cherubs cherry tomatoes (not a sponsor or affiliate). I found that other brands, though cheaper, produced a more watery, much less flavorful cherry tomato sauce.
Please note that this recipe as written only calls for 1/2 pound of pasta! I wrote it this way to preserve the pasta-to-sauce-ratio while using just one pound of cherry tomatoes. There are few things worse than too much pasta for too little sauce. If you are feeding more than 3 or 4 adults, I recommend doubling the recipe. My kids (7, 4, and 1), my husband, and I all eat our fill with about one serving left over, but my kids each eat a fairly small portion.
For pasta with burst cherry tomato sauce and white beans you will need:
- A 10 or 12 inch skillet. I prefer stainless steel. Here is a link to my favorite 10 inch skillet.
- A pot for cooking the pasta.
- Chef’s knife
- Cutting board
- Blender – DO NOT use an immersion blender for this recipe. The sauce is not deep enough in the pan to cover the immersion blender head. As you blend, the sauce will squirt out the sides of the blender head, because it is not completely submerged. This could give you a very, very bad burn. To avoid this, just ladle the sauce into a countertop blender.
How To Make Pasta With Burst Cherry Tomato Sauce And White Beans
This is a very simple and quick recipe to make. The full instructions are in the recipe card at the end of this post, but here is a summary.
- Cook pasta until almost al dente. Reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta water (you may or may not need it), and drain.
- Saute onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add cherry tomatoes. When about half of the tomatoes have burst, transfer the mixture to a countertop blender, and blend for about 15 seconds.
- Season with salt, pepper, Tony Chachere’s (if using), and sugar.
- Add one can of drained white beans. Great northern or cannellini beans are great.
- Add pasta, and stir to combine. Finish cooking the pasta in the sauce for a few minutes.
- Serve with parmesan cheese, additional cherry tomatoes, and Italian parsley.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Use Other Kinds Of Tomatoes?
Yes! I tested cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and Roma tomatoes. Both the cherry and grape tomatoes worked great. The Roma tomatoes produced a slightly more watery sauce, but it was still very good in the flavor department. I imagine heirloom tomatoes would also work, but I did not test them. You want to use the best tomatoes that are available to you for the most flavorful sauce possible.
Beans In Pasta?
Yes! The white beans in this recipe add a pleasant variance in texture, as well as serve as a great source of protein. You can leave them out if you really want to, but they are a really great addition. I have a bean loving baby who was thrilled that there were noodles AND beans in her dinner! What luck!
Could I Add Meat To this Pasta?
Sure thing! Grilled chicken would be very tasty in this dish.
Why Can’t I Use An Immersion Blender?
As we discussed earlier, you could get a severe burn from trying to blend this sauce with an immersion blender. I tested the immersion blender, and because the sauce does not completely submerge the head of the blender, sauce came rocketing out from the pan and burned my arm. Thankfully, I did not get a very bad burn, but you absolutely could. Please, for the sake of your beautiful skin, use a countertop blender.
Why Does This Recipe Only Call For 1/2 Pound Of Pasta?
I know we talked about this earlier too, but I just don’t want you to make this recipe thinking that it will feed a family of 6. It can feed a family of 6, you just need to double the recipe! If you try to stretch this cherry tomato sauce over too much pasta, the flavor will be too diluted, and you will be sad. I want you to be happy. Double the sauce if you want to make a full pound of pasta. Pretty please.
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This pasta with burst cherry tomato sauce and white beans is such an easy weeknight dinner win. I know you’re going to love it as much as I do. Would you please share this post on your social media accounts so that your friends can get in on this love fest too? You’re the best.
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Vegetarian Pasta With Burst Cherry Tomato Sauce And White Beans
- 1 10 or 12 inch skillet with a lid
- 1 pot for cooking pasta
- 1 chef's knife
- 1 cutting board
- 1 ladle
- 1 blender do not use an immersion blender. See note.
- 1/2 pound pasta I like rotini or cavatappi. Anything that will hold onto a lot of sauce. Also, please note that this recipe is for 1/2 pound of pasta. See note.
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion diced
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes use the best ones you can find. I recommend the NatureSweet Cherubs brand.
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon Tony Chachere's No Salt Seasoning optional
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 can cannellini or great northern beans
- grated parmesan cheese
- additional halved cherry tomatoes
- flat leaf parsley chopped
- Cook pasta using the package directions until they are just under al dente. It will finish cooking in the sauce. Reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta water. Drain the pasta and set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, dice the onion and mince the garlic. Preheat your skillet over medium heat, add a Tablespoon or two of olive oil, and sauce the onions and garlic until soft and fragrant. Add a pinch of salt and a little bit of pepper to the onions and garlic as they cook. This builds a layer of flavor.
- Wash the cherry tomatoes and add them straight to the pan. Cook until about half of the tomatoes burst, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Smush the tomatoes a little bit as they burst to deglaze the pan.
- Carefully ladle the tomatoes, onions and garlic into a blender. Cover and blend for about 15 seconds. Return the sauce to the skillet. DO NOT use an immersion blender. See note.
- Bring the sauce back to a simmer, and season with salt, pepper, Tony Chachere's (optional), and sugar. Sugar helps balance the acidity of the tomatoes.
- Add one drained can of either cannellini or great northern beans to the sauce. Stir to combine. Return the sauce to a simmer.
- Add the pasta to the simmering sauce. Stir to combine. Cover and let cook until the pasta reaches your desired doneness, probably 3 minutes or so. You can add a bit of pasta water if needed, but be careful not to dilute the sauce. Serve with grated parmesan cheese, additional halved cherry tomatoes, and parsley, if desired.
- There is not enough sauce to fully cover the head of the immersion blender, so if you use one the sauce will shoot out the holes in the sides, potentially giving you a very bad burn. Please use a countertop blender for your safety.
- The quality of the tomatoes really matters in this sauce. I used some cheaper tomatoes and they were much waterier than the Cherub branded ones. I seldom recommend a produce brand, but they were the most flavorful and consistent in testing.
- Please note that this recipe is for 1/2 pound of pasta and serves 2-3 adults. If you are feeding a larger group or family, please double the recipe.