Cavatappi with Garlic & Oil, Sauteed Spinach & Cannellini Beans

Sooo, I just came back from a lovely and relaxing week in Nicaragua. I love escaping to Central America for its obvious beauty, but also because the way of life there is totally and completely different from what I’m used to in New York. It’s always bittersweet leaving because the people are such beautiful, happy beings, it is teeming with all sorts of life, and my mind quiets from walking on the beach, swimming in the sea, and hanging in hammocks. Coming back home allows me to reflect as well, and understand the many blessings I have.

Me at pie de gigante
Me at pie de gigante






Justin surfing Popoyo
Justin surfing Popoyo


So when I got in last night around midnight, I went to sleep, got up and went to work, and came home today to a very sad and empty refrigerator. I wasn’t about to go food shopping this evening since Roscoe has been greatly missed and needed a much deserved walk on the beach where he could play with all of his dog friends. No need to fret however, since I am quite apt at making a meal in a cinch with what little I have to work with. Since I always have pasta on hand, this is usually an obvious choice for me. Depending on what other ingredients I have plays a role in the type of sauce I can whip up. In this case, apart from the few yellow onions, half of an old avocado, and side door full of condiments, I had one bulb of garlic in my fridge. LIke I said in my Pantry Essential post, I almost always have beans, olive oil, and frozen spinach on hand, and so I blended them together to make a super quick – I mean suuuper quick – and simple sauce for my pasta (or macaroni as I tend to call any kind of pasta).


I had no intention of creating a post about this dish, but as I was chopping the garlic, I decided the simplicity of it must be shared for those busy bees out there! I should also add that since I make this quite often, I’ve come to my own conclusion that white beans are the absolute best in this dish. The texture works better in this recipe than chickpeas, and its flavor pairs wonderfully with the garlic and oil. As for the spinach, I’ve also used fresh in the past, but tonight’s dinner did not have that option as frozen was all I had.



  • 1 box (12 ounces) of cavatappi or pasta of your choice (if you use a 16 ounce box, you may want to increase the oil amount)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsp minced/finely chopped garlic (about 1 bulb)
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) cannellini beans
  • 1 box (10 ounces) frozen, chopped spinach
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste



  1. Bring 3 to 4 quarts of salted water to a boil, or enough to cover the pasta.
  2. Add the pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, finely chop the garlic.
  4. Add the extra virgin olive oil to a pan on medium high heat.
  5. Once the oil has heated for about 2 minutes, add the garlic. (You can test the heat of the oil by adding one chopped piece of garlic. It’s hot enough if the oil reacts/sizzles.)
  6. Continue to stir for about 20 seconds before adding the beans, stirring for another 20 seconds before adding the defrosted, wrung out spinach.
  7. Gently sautee for about 2 minutes, before adding crushed red pepper, salt & pepper.
  8. Add a couple of tablespoons of the pasta water to the sauce and stir once.
  9. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce, continuing to cook for one minute before removing pan from heat.



Author: Balanced Bella

Hi, I'm Jaime and I am the recipe tester, photographer, and writer at balanced bella! All my recipes are vegan, gluten free, and 100% delicious!

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