Zucchini, Fennel & White Bean Pasta

Zucchini, Fennel & White Bean Pasta

5 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine September/October 2009

Turn humble pasta and beans gourmet by adding roasted vegetables, fresh mint and tangy, salty aged goat cheese. When making a pasta dish with beans, you can use some of the bean-cooking liquid to give the sauce silky body and help it cling to the pasta. If you're using canned beans, use some of the pasta-cooking liquid or just water.

Ingredients 4 servings

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  • 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) whole-wheat penne or similar short pasta
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cooked cannellini beans, plus 1/2 cup bean-cooking liquid, pasta-cooking liquid or water (see Tip)
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 3/4 cup crumbled hard, aged goat cheese, or fresh goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Preheat oven to 400 °F.
  2. Cut fennel bulb in half lengthwise and then slice lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick wedges. Quarter zucchini lengthwise. Toss the fennel and zucchini with 1 tablespoon oil and salt. Arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Roast, turning once, until soft and beginning to brown, about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions.
  4. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat.
  5. When the vegetables are cool enough to handle, coarsely chop. Add the vegetables, beans and bean-cooking liquid (or other liquid) to the pan with the garlic and place over medium-low heat. Drain the pasta and immediately add it to the pan. Toss thoroughly and add tomatoes; toss until just warm. Remove from the heat and stir in cheese and mint. Season with pepper.
  • Tip: How to Cook a Pot of Beans
  • 1. Pick over 1 pound dry beans to remove any pebbles or broken beans and rinse well under cold water. Place in a large bowl, cover with 3 inches of cold water and soak for 4 to 24 hours. 2. When you're ready to cook the beans, heat 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 small chopped onion, 2 to 3 chopped garlic cloves and 1 chopped celery stalk (optional). Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are beginning to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the beans and add to the pan. Add enough cold water to cover the beans by 1 inch. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Lower the heat to a bare simmer, partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 20 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the freshness of the beans. If at any time the liquid level drops below the beans, add 1 cup hot water. When the beans are nearly soft, stir in 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. (Do not drain: beans are best stored in their cooking liquid and the li
  • Makes about 6 cups.
  • Cut Down on Dishes: A rimmed baking sheet is great for everything from roasting to catching accidental drips and spills. For effortless cleanup and to keep your baking sheets in tip-top shape, line them with a layer of foil before each use.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: about 2 1/4 cups
  • Per serving: 511 calories; 22 g fat(7 g sat); 12 g fiber; 61 g carbohydrates; 20 g protein; 107 mcg folate; 22 mg cholesterol; 8 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 1548 IU vitamin A; 29 mg vitamin C; 280 mg calcium; 5 mg iron; 364 mg sodium; 981 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (50% daily value), Calcium, Folate & Potassium (28% dv), Iron (26% dv), Vitamin A (25% dv), Magnesium (16% dv).
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 4
  • Exchanges: 3 starch, 2 vegetable, 1 1/2 medium fat meat, 2 fat

Reviews 5

July 14, 2013
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By: hetty_ford
excellent A hearty and nutritious pasta dish. I substituted parmesan for the goat cheese and parsley for the mint. Loved it! Pros: filling and nutritious Cons: a salad on the side would make this perfect.
March 15, 2012
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By: EatingWell User
Great use of fennel This is a favorite at our house! I leave out the beans because I dislike them, but make the rest as written. Stirring in the goat cheese on medium heat not only evenly distributes the flavor, but makes everything hold together a little better.
September 06, 2010
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By: Blondie
Very nice recipe. I was a little concerned that it might be bland since there isn't really any seasoning to speak of except for a little pepper at the end, however it turned out to be quite flavorful and filling. I do not care for goat cheese so I substituted feta instead but otherwise made the recipe as written. I also forgot to save some of the pasta cooking water until most of it was already down the drain but I used the little I did save plus more from the tap and it turned out great.
August 09, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
Wow, this recipe is pretty simple but tastes like something you would get in an Italian restaurant. I would cut the fennel smaller next time as it roasted much slower than the zucchini. The goat cheese really pulls all the flavors together. Since I used canned white beans I used the pasta cooking liquid. This will be on my list of favorite pasta dishes.
July 19, 2010
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By: bhuvy
This recipe turned out really well! I made a few edits, including the addition of some celery since I didn't have enough fennel. I also added some veggie broth since I used canned beans and frozen leftover pasta so I didn't have bean or pasta cooking water. I also added some fresh chopped basil and grated pecorino on top since I didn't have mint or goat cheese. It was a hit with some picky eaters and a great way to use some fresh CSA produce! I will definitely be making this recipe again.