Creamy One-Pot Butternut Squash Pasta with White Beans and Kale

updated Oct 24, 2020
Easiest Fall Ever
Creamy One-Pot Butternut Squash Pasta with White Beans and Kale

This 30-minute, one-pot vegetarian dinner is packed with protein, thanks to a can of white beans and a dollop of Greek yogurt.


Prep15 minutes

Cook8 minutes to 13 minutes

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Credit: Shelly Westerhausen

Ever since I discovered the magic of one-pot pastas, I haven’t stopped experimenting. For those of you who don’t know, one-pot pastas are a way of cooking everything from the pasta to the sauce in one pot, and hinge on the technique of cooking pasta like a grain, so that you only add the water you need to cook the noodles and make the sauce.

The basic proportions remain constant: Combine 12 ounces linguine, 4 1/2 cups water, and some olive oil, salt, and pepper in a pot. Bring to a boil, and cook until the pasta is al dente and the water has nearly evaporated. The sauce you make is infinitely variable: Simply add different combinations of veggies, proteins, and herbs. It’s nearly impossible to mess up.

This particular recipe has been on repeat lately because it’s packed with protein — more than 20 grams per serving — and as a vegetarian, I’m always looking for more ways to add protein to my diet. Plus, it’s unbelievably creamy without actually containing any cream. That’s because as the water reduces, none of the creamy starch from the noodles is lost, so the sauce is luxurious and thick.

Credit: Shelly Westerhausen

Why You’ll Quickly Fall in Love with This One-Pot Pasta

There’s so much to love about this dish, beyond the easy cleanup (but that too). There’s plenty of sliced garlic, some butternut squash purée (sweet potato or pumpkin purée work too), and half a can of cannellini beans, infusing the dish with richness. Just before the pasta is done, you stir in several handfuls of baby kale. (I always like to work in leafy greens.) Off the heat, stir in fresh basil, a squeeze of lemon juice, a dollop of Greek yogurt, and the remaining beans. I reserve half the beans until the end because that way they retain some texture, while the beans that go in at the beginning break down and contribute to the pasta’s creaminess.

Just before serving, top each bowl with a mixture of toasted pumpkin seeds, lemon zest, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and chopped basil. And let me tell you: These additions are my favorite part of the dish. They add a little crunch, a little heat, and a lot of brightness.

Whether you eat plant-based full-time or want to go meat-free once a week, Tonight We Veg will bring you the feel-good vegetarian meals you crave. Twice a month, in addition to our existing lineup of great veggie recipes, we’ll share easy weeknight recipes that prove how diverse produce-forward food can be, each packed with smart tips we’ve picked up over the years. Cook along with us, and share your creations using #tonightweveg.

Creamy One-Pot Butternut Squash Pasta with White Beans and Kale

This 30-minute, one-pot vegetarian dinner is packed with protein, thanks to a can of white beans and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 8 minutes to 13 minutes

Serves 6

Nutritional Info


  • 1 1/2 cups

    loosely packed fresh basil leaves (about 1 ounce), divided

  • 1

    small lemon

  • 1/2 cup

    roasted pumpkin seeds (salted or unsalted is fine)

  • 3 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    red pepper flakes

  • 6 cloves


  • 1 (15-ounce) can

    cannellini beans

  • 12 ounces

    dried linguine

  • 1 cup

    canned butternut squash purée (can sub sweet potato or pumpkin purée)

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, plus more as needed

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 1/2 cups


  • 1/2 to 1 cup

    full-fat plain Greek yogurt

  • 3 cups

    loosely-packed baby kale (3 ounces, can sub baby spinach or a baby kale mix)

  • 1 ounce

    Parmesan cheese, shaved with a Y-peeler (about 1/4 cup)


  1. Finely chop 1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves and finely grate the zest of 1/2 small lemon. Transfer both to a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, season with salt as needed (this amount will vary depending on if your roasted pepitas were salted), and stir to combine; set aside. Halve the lemon and set aside.

  2. Thinly slice 6 garlic cloves and add to a large straight-sided skillet (we like this one) or Dutch oven. Drain and rinse 1 can cannellini beans. Add 1/2 the beans, the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, 12 ounces linguine, 1 cup canned butternut squash purée, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

  3. Add 4 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat (this will take about 5 minutes). Boil the mixture, stirring and turning the pasta with tongs to prevent sticking, until the pasta is al dente and almost all the liquid has evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes. In the last two minutes of cooking, add 3 cups baby kale.

  4. Remove from the heat. Stir in 1/2 cup of the plain Greek yogurt, the remaining beans, the juice from 1/2 the lemon, and the remaining 1 cup basil leaves (tear them as you add them). Toss with tongs, and taste, adding more lemon juice and salt as needed. If you prefer a creamier pasta, add the remaining 1/2 cup yogurt. Divide the pasta between 6 bowls and garnish each bowl with the pumpkin seed-basil mixture, shaved Parmesan cheese, and more black pepper.

Recipe Notes

Reheating: To reheat leftovers, warm in a skillet with a splash of water, tossing until the sauce loosens up and is creamy. Season with salt, to taste, and a squeeze of lemon juice.