Test Kitchen Tuesday: Bean Bolognese

While neither of us are big fans of Beef Bolognese, I thought this spin on it with beans sounded pretty good when I came across it over the weekend, and it would be a good Test Kitchen recipe. I kept it a secret as long as I could, until 2Chili picked me up from a client meeting on Tuesday. He had me cornered with the “what’s for dinner?” question.


When I told him we were having “Bean Bolognese,” 2Chili was less than excited. He pointed out that he doesn’t like Beef Bolognese, and would prefer just straight up tomato sauce. I reminded him that’s why I try not to tell him what he’s getting ahead of time – his general response to things he has never heard of is pretty much always “yuck.”

I knew it would be better than he thought, though!

And, when he came up from his office in the basement for dinner, he even noted how good it smelled and was surprised to not see some blended up bean mixture in tomato sauce. Maybe that is fair, with my penchant for blending, but, when is he going to learn? Like Charlie Sheen, I have a plan! Though my plan is slightly less crazy and I don’t get paid $2 million to do anything. (Uh oh, there I go trying to be relevant with the pop culture references again…)

Moving along, here are this week’s results.


Bean Bolognese

Original Recipe: Eating Well

I made this exactly as written, with three exceptions: I substituted dried parsley for fresh because I didn’t have fresh and it seemed silly to buy for one recipe, I used 1/2 cup veggie broth instead of white wine – I didn’t want to open a bottle of wine to use 1/2 cup, and I used mozzarella cheese instead of parmesan because we didn’t have any parm!

Time Required:

  • The recipe says 40 minutes, but I was done start-to-finish in 25

Skill Level: Plate

2Chili’s Taster Rating (Out of 5):StarStarStar

He liked the sauce fine, but his complaint was the fettuccine noodles, and has asked next time to have the sauce on a fusilli, penne, or smaller pasta because he felt the sauce didn’t cling well to the fettuccine.

The Cook’s Taster Rating (Out of 5):StarStarStarStar

The noodle issue didn’t really bother me, but I did feel something was missing. Not meat, necessarily, just something. Maybe cayenne pepper? Not sure.


From the original recipe source, based on four servings:

  • 443 calories
  • 11 g fat ( 3 g sat , 6 g mono )
  • 9 mg cholesterol
  • 67 g carbohydrates
  • 19 g protein
  • 14 g fiber
  • 707 mg sodium
  • 281 mg potassium.
  • Vitamin A (70% daily value)
  • Vitamin C (25% DV)
  • Magnesium (24% DV)
  • Calcium (20% DV)

The Verdict:

I typically wouldn’t add the salt to a recipe like this, but did this time, since I thought the unsalted tomatoes I used might need it. After doing that, I really don’t think 1/2 t is necessary – 1/4 t would be just fine, which would bring down the sodium count dramatically in this recipe. Otherwise, the nutritional profile is pretty good, so I will probably make this again. 2Chili said he would eat it again, as long as I served it on a different type of pasta. I will say, both our plates were clean as a whistle when we were done, so that is saying something…

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