This recipe was inspired by a recipe in Robin Robertson's "Vegan Planet" (an excellent cookbook for Vegans and Veggie lovers alike).  I make it with whole wheat spaghetti (though any wholesome pasta variety will do) and throw in lots of luscious, green kale for good measure.  The pureed beans have a slightly creamy texture which makes the sauce taste rich without adding any cream, cheese or butter. 

The other marvelous thing about this recipe is, it's cheap to make!  I buy dried white beans in bulk.  They are less convenient to use, but you save a lot of money versus buying cooked beans in a can (not to mention there's far less packaging involved, so it is better for the environment).  I also think dried beans taste a little better since canned beans tend to have that slightly "tinny" flavor.  Don't bother soaking beans overnight, especially if you have a pressure cooker.  Many people might tell you otherwise, but I literally never pre-soak my beans (and, BTW, Rick Bayless also recommends skipping this step!) because I try to eliminate uneccessarily time-consuming steps whenever possible.  If you don't have a pressure cooker, I would strongly recommend buying one.  It will be your new favorite cooking instrument!

Spaghetti with White Bean Sauce and Crispy Kale
Serves 6

3 T olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cooked white beans
2 T chopped sage
1/2 tsp white pepper
4 cups vegetable stock or water
2 T white balsamic vinegar (optional)
1 lb. whole wheat spaghetti
6 cups chopped kale, stems removed

Preheat oven to 350.  Toss kale with 1 T olive oil and a sprinkling of salt.  Arrange on a large baking sheet in a single layer, then bake until crispy, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil.  In a large saucepan, heat the rest of the olive oil on medium.  Add onions and garlic and saute until soft, about 7 minutes.  Add beans and sage and stir to combine.  Add stock, turn up heat to high and bring mixture to a boil for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces slightly.  Reduce heat and puree with a hand blender until smooth.  Keep heat on low and allow to thicken until it reaches desired consistency, at least 10 minutes.

Cook spaghetti in pot of boiling water according to package instructions.  Drain in a colander and add to pot of bean sauce.  Add balsamic vinegar and toss well.  Serve spaghetti with a handful or crispy kale on top.