Easy Pasta Dinner | foodsciencenerd.com

Another Easy Pasta Dinner and some science

Posted on Posted in Culinary Science, Nutrition Information, Recipes

Yesterday’s post was awkwardly short, so I’m following up here with another awkwardly short post.  This one also uses those little tomatoes I had to get rid of before they got all squishy.  And leftover spaghetti, whole wheat, of course.  And basil. And romano.  I’m sensing a pattern here.

Anyway, what better to make for dinner than a super fast, nutritious meal that is vegetarian (aka cheap!) and still provides complete proteins?Easy Pasta Dinner | foodsciencenerd.com(Just in case I haven’t said it before, a complete protein is a food that contains the full set of essential amino acids [aka amino acids that the body cannot make] in high enough amounts to meet human needs.  The easiest place to find complete proteins is in animal products like meat, dairy, and eggs.  Few vegetarian foods, like quinoa, amaranth, and soybeans, are also complete proteins.  However, some “complementary” foods can also be paired to provide a full set of amino acids.  For example, some foods are higher in lysine and lower in methionine, so if you pair it with a food high in methionine and low in lysine.  The general rule is to pair a grain with a nut, bean, or legume to get a complete protein profile.  That’s the scientific reasoning behind why rice and beans works as the base of so many culture’s meals.)

This meal was super simple.  I pan-roasted a bunch of grape tomatoes with garlic over high heat until they were nice and brown on all sides and some of the tomatoes had burst.  Then, I dumped in a can of cannellini beans (not drained, the starchy liquid makes a good sauce) and some leftover spaghetti.  I grated in some fresh romano, heated the beans and spaghetti through, and that was dinner!  I topped with some fresh basil for color and a nice balance of flavors.  It was pretty delicious, but doesn’t do well as leftovers since the beans get mushy.

Easy Vegetarian Pasta Dinner

Easy Vegetarian Pasta Dinner


  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 container cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 of 15 oz can of cannellini beans
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pasta, cooked
  • Salt and pepper
  • Basil and freshly grated Parmesan


  1. Saute the cherry tomatoes in the olive oil over high heat until charred and some of them have burst.
  2. Add the cannellini beans and let the liquid reduce.
  3. Add the pasta and season to taste. Top with basil and Parmesan.


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