Pasta With White Beans and Kale

by lisa on February 11, 2013 · 16 comments

pasta twoToday I am going to give you a recipe that is easy to make but also nutritious and a great bang for the buck. Several months ago, Newark, NJ mayor ,Cory Booker, took on a food stamp challenge to spend under $30 for his weekly food intake. The average monthly food stamp benefit is about  $133  per person in New Jersey. That would be pretty tough to live on, wouldn’t you say?

When I heard about this challenge, it made me think about what meals I would prepare if I was in that situation. This pasta would definitely be one of them. A great benefit of this meal is that it’s quick and easy to make and the ingredients can be purchased almost anywhere. Here is the breakdown of my cost to feed 4 to 6 people:

  • 16 ounces dried pasta  $1.50
  • 15 ounce can of white beans $1.00
  • 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes $1.50
  • 3 cups of kale (or other greens) $1.50

The total came to $5.50 for a meal fit for a small family. I used some pantry ingredients such as olive oil, dried spices, garlic and grated cheese.  I know not everyone has the luxuries of a well stocked pantry like I do. But this recipe can be adapted to whatever you have on hand. Canola oil or butter can be substituted for the olive oil and spices such as onion powder, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, dried basil, and dried oregano are all good ingredients to spice up this dish. Any greens such as spinach or escarole could be substituted for the kale. Sometimes I will buy whatever is on sale.

We are constantly reminded during the holiday season but it is easy to forget at this time of year that there are so many families struggling to make ends meet and get enough food on their table. So why don’t you make a meal like this for your family but then donate a few bucks or some canned goods to your local food pantry?

Here are some places that could always use our help:

Food Bank of South Jersey

Community Food Bank of NJ

Share Our Strength

Feeding America

I will be posting more economical meals in the future. Whether you are struggling to pay bills or not, everyone loves a quick nutritious  meal. What are some of your favorites? Links in the comment box are always welcome.

pasta 4

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pasta With White Beans and Kale
Recipe type: pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 to 6
This quick and easy one dish meal is nutritious and economical.
  • 1 lb penne pasta (I used whole wheat)
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TBS chopped garlic
  • 3 cups kale, torn in pieces
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes(I used ones flavored with basil)
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 can (15 ounces) small white beans, rinsed and drained
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated Italian cheese if desired
  1. Cook pasta ala dente in a large pot of water according to package directions. Drain and keep warm but make sure to reserve ½ cup of the pasta water.
  2. In the meantime, heat oil on medium heat in a large frying pan . Add garlic and kale. Cook for about 5 minutes or until kale starts to wilt.
  3. Add tomatoes, onion powder, and basil. Sir, cover and cook on low for 15 minutes.
  4. Add beans, cooked pasta and reserved pasta water. Stir well and simmer for a few minutes or until sauce thickens and sticks to pasta.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cheese if desired.


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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

debbie February 11, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Pinning and making! Thanks Lisa!


Biz February 11, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Your dish is the perfect example of how to eat healthy on a budget – love it! Did you hear about a food pantry in Winnepeg that decided to shut its doors because it attracted poor people? So crazy!


manu February 11, 2013 at 7:09 pm

This looks really delicious. I love the mixture of ingredients you have used and I love how you show the prices of the ingredients. very smart!


Danielle February 11, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Delicious sounding and looking! I love beans but John not so much…I feel like I could get him to eat it if I added pasta and kale (2 of his favorite things) 🙂


Kate February 12, 2013 at 1:28 am

I have penne with kale on the menu for this week – but without the beans!


Ramona February 12, 2013 at 11:06 am

I like kale. This sounds interesting.


Pam February 12, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Healthy, hearty, and delicious.


teresa February 12, 2013 at 1:22 pm

what a great cause. it’s nice to know that it’s still possible to eat nutritiously and deliciously on a budget!


Katrina February 13, 2013 at 12:37 am

Mmm, that looks good. I want some. Not sure the rest of the fam would eat it. (Doesn’t stop me from making it.)


Aggie February 13, 2013 at 7:46 am

It’s always a good idea to really think about food costs, this is definitely a great meal for your buck like you said. I love this Lisa! Greens, beans & pasta are a favorite of mine.


patsy February 13, 2013 at 11:29 am

Great weeknight recipe idea! And you are so right… even more so after the holidays we need to remember that people are struggling every day to feed their families.


Mary@One Perfect Bite February 13, 2013 at 1:05 pm

This would fit nicely into SNAP challenge menus. It sounds delicious and provides significant nutrition for families that have limited food budgets. I hope your week is off to a good start. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary


Tawcan February 13, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Yea another way to use kale. My wife and I are always looking for recipes that utilize kale. Thanks for the recipe.


Sommer@ASpicyPerspective February 13, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Oh my goodness! I could eat this everyday. 🙂


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