Spaghetti with Beans and Greens: #88 of 1000 Sustainable Food Experiments

When I don’t know what to make for dinner, I usually throw together some kind of pasta dish. Here we have a lovely garlicky tomato sauce with pinto beans and chopped up greens (baby kale, chard, and spinach), topped with pecorino romano cheese. Most folks went back for seconds!

This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours.

Ingredients ($9.50 total)

2 tbsp olive oil – $0.50
4 cloves garlic, minced – $0.15
2 (15 oz) cans of tomato puree – $1.33
3-4 cups cooked beans (I soaked and boiled dry beans but you could also use two cans) – $0.30
1 bag baby spinach, kale, and chard – $1.99
1 pound of spaghetti – $2.99
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese (or nutritional yeast for a non-dairy version) – $2.00
Oregano, salt and pepper to taste


1. In a medium pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat, then add the garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the garlic starts to brown, then add in the tomato puree.

2. If you’re using dry beans, bring 2 cups of dry beans in plenty of water to a boil, then simmer for 2-3 hours until the beans are tender, then drain and rinse the beans. Add the beans and chopped up greens to the tomato sauce and mix well.

3. Cook pasta according to package directions, and serve topped with sauce and grated cheese or nutritional yeast. Comforting and delicious!

Sustainability Score (explained here)

  • Time to make: 1 = >3 hours
  • Servings:  3 = lots of leftovers
  • Cost per person (prices based on Trader Joe’s/Costco): 3 = <$5
  • Deliciousness: 3 = when are we having this again?
  • Environmental impact: 3 = minimal damage
  • Nutritional value: 2 = healthy-ish
  • TOTAL: 15/18

If you tried it, please let me know how it came out for you. Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy day!

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