Easy and Hearty Dish for Fall: Pasta Bean Thingy!

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Years ago my then husband up and decided one day he was going to become a vegetarian. Heart disease ran in his family and his father had just had a defibrillator implanted -he already had a pacemaker and had endured many heart attacks.  My ex-husband was adamant about preventing heart disease so he would not meet the same fate. For him, the first step was changing his diet. I went along with it hoping for a healthier lifestyle. Still, I had no experience with cooking vegetarian so I did some research (wasn’t I a good wife?) and came up with a repertoire of about a dozen meals.

This dish was born out of pure frustration when the cupboards were almost bare and I needed to make dinner for my family fast that didn’t require any special ingredients or take over two hours to make. Searching through the pantry, I found a can of kidney beans, a can pinto beans and some penne pasta. I thought that was a start, but it certainly lacked zing. Another search through the fridge turned up some leftover salsa so I through that in too. I’m getting ahead of myself…here’s the easy recipe:

  • 1 cup salsa (I prefer non-chunky)
  • 2/3 cup uncooked penne pasta (or try bow-tie, shells, rotini)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder (or to taste)
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can pinto or black beans
  • 1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Heat all the ingredients except the cheese to boiling in a deep skillet; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes, stirring frequently until pasta just tender. Sprinkle with cheese. See easy-peasy! Serves 4. Can you believe this is only 280 per serving?

Oh, you’re probably wondering how Pasta Bean Thingy got it’s unusual name. Well,  I started just kind of throwing things in a skillet and never really though of it as a recipe until my daughter asked how to make it for her college friends. She asked to how to make that “Pasta Bean Thingy” and that moniker stuck.

Here in the Pacific Northwest it has finally cooled down. I’ve been longing for something other than a light meal or a summer salad–something a bit heartier and filling. This dish hits the spot. It’s so easy you only need one pan–a large, deep skillet! Served with a salad and garlic bread or biscuits, it makes a great meal the whole family will enjoy. Oh and college students like it too!

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What’s your favorite quick and easy Fall dish?

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  1. Allison @neversaydiebeauty says

    always good to have a recipe made with pantry ingredients 🙂

  2. Oh yum, this looks so good and is quite easy to make. Will defo try it out.

  3. I love beans in pasta salads so I assume this would be great!

  4. Aleya Bamdad says

    Looks like a nice warming dish to eat with a good movie and a blanket.

  5. This looks so delicious. I’d definitely consider making this!

  6. Lisa Marie Heath says

    This looks YUMMY!

  7. I love the name. That’s what we’d call something here too. Your then husband is missing out on having this dish again.

  8. Yum! Sounds delicious

  9. FabZilla_Kath says

    Vegetarian/ vegan meals are hard to prepare for me sometimes so I end up buying from a nearby health food place

  10. I love an easy, hearty dish. Seriously. Looks good.

  11. That looks good. I almost wished I cooked.

  12. Looks like the perfect comfort food 🙂

  13. I make something very similar. Sooo yummy!

  14. hahahah I love the name. It’s funny how we come up with the best recipes when it’s just a jumble of stuff we already had- that’s how I came up with my tried and true tuna casserole that everyone loves!