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Fresh Cranberry Beans with Pasta and Greens (Vegan)

Sharon Palmer

If you are lucky enough to spy fresh pulses, like these gorgeous cranberry beans, in your farmers market, snatch them up! About the only other way you can find this delicacy is to grow it yourself! Most of us enjoy pulses (beans, peas, lentils) in their dried form, but you can also harvest them and eat them before they are dried—fresh out of their shell. They retain a fresh, crunchy taste and color, and nutrient-packed, protein-rich profile. I spied these fresh cranberry beans at my local farmers market, and the farmer was happy to split open the pretty, mottled pink and white shells to show me those white and pink gems inside. My mother always grew fresh beans in her vegetable garden, and now I grow them in mine too. I love watching the vines trail up the side of my garden, with the beans hanging down like earrings among the green leaves.

Fresh cranberry beans, before they are dried and shucked.
The farmer at the farmers market split open his cranberry beans to give me a peek!

My favorite way to serve fresh beans is sautéed with pasta, as in this dish. You can get this recipe for Fresh Cranberry Beans with Pasta and Greens on the table in 30 minutes, too. With only 8 ingredients (not including pantry staples), this is an easy, rustic, one-dish meal. If you want to fill in your menu, just serve it with a side of crusty, whole grain bread, and a bowl of vegetable soup to make it more complete. 

This recipe is 100% plant-based (vegan) and packed with nutrients, thanks to the pasta, greens, and beans. Many Italian pasta dishes call upon this simple trio of ingredients to make up rustic, nutritious, delicious dishes that are naturally plant-based. With the addition of tomatoes, onions, garlic, lemon and basil, the dish really sings with flavor, nutrition, and aroma. It is also delicious the next day warmed up for lunch—or even served cold as a pasta salad.

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Fresh Cranberry Beans with Pasta and Greens (Vegan)

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  • Author: The Plant-Powered Dietitian
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


  • 8 ounces fresh cranberry beans in the shell
  • 1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 8 ounces pasta, dried
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bunch (about 8 ounces) greens (i.e., collard, kale, chard), chopped
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • Salt (optional) and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil


  1. Shell the cranberry beans.
  2. Heat a sauté pan and add oil. Sauté’ cranberry beans for 2 minutes.
  3. Add water and cook for 10 minutes, sautéing.
  4. Add onion and garlic, and sauté for an additional 8 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, heat a small pot with water to cook pasta. Add pasta, and cook according to package directions to al dente stage. Drain, and set aside.
  6. Add tomatoes to beans in sauté pan, and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Test beans for doneness—they should be tender yet firm with a bit of crunch.
  7. Add greens and lemon juice, and cook for an additional 2 minutes, until greens are soft but still bright green.
  8. Add pasta to the sauté pan and heat through. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
  9. Garnish with fresh basil and serve.


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 363
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Sodium: 37 mg
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 60 g
  • Fiber: 16 g
  • Protein: 19 g

For other favorite, plant-based pasta dishes, check out these:

Baked Mediterranean Lasagna
Golden Beets and Red Chard with White Beans and Penne
Mushroom Bomb Lentil Pasta

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