South-American inspired bean and broccoli pasta

Nutritionist Laury Seller shares her take on vegan pasta con broccoli.

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Cheers to nutritionist, Laury Seller, aka @TheFrenchNutritionist for this cheeky little vegan dinner. (It has a spice in it that I'd never heard of - but made me giggle, and sent me into a very weird google rabbit hole.)

Why is this recipe good for my brain?

A range of different types of beans

B, is for beans. And brain. And also for B vitamins. (Oh yeah, they're in Heights .) B vitamins are key for the function of your nervous system, and for enabling you to understand your own genetic code. Beans are full of them, and a great veggie/vegan source of B vitamins that can be tricky to find on a meat-free diet. Broccoli is the other brain-star here, with it's high levels of vitamin K and choline helping with memory and cognitive ability. Wrap it all up with some healthy glugs of EVOO , and you've got yourself a neurotrition feast.

This hearty recipe is full of flavours and perfect for a pasta night at home. Merkén gives a mild spicy kick to the dish, and the toasted pine nuts seal the deal! In addition to providing 2 of your 5 a day, this meal will also give you a boost of polyphenols from the beans and folate from the broccoli, two nutrients associated with improved cognitive function and brain health.


For 2 people (preparation time: 25 min)

  • 120g cooked wholewheat pasta

  • 1 can of cannellini beans (250g)

  • 1 medium broccoli head, chopped into florets

  • 1 medium red onion, chopped

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 handful of toasted pine nuts

  • 2 tbsp of merkén spice

  • 2 tbsp of mixed herbs (oregano, thyme, parsley, sage)

  • 2 tbsp of garlic powder


  1. Cook the pasta according to package instruction until al dente.

  2. While pasta is cooking, boil or steam the broccoli florets for 6-7 minutes.

  3. In a large pan, heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, stirring regularly until translucent.

  4. Add the merkén, mixed herbs and garlic. Add the broccoli, stir for 2 minutes, then add the cannellini beans. Salt to taste.

  5. Toss the cooked pasta into the pan, adding 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to help combine the ingredients together.

  6. Before serving, sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and a pinch of merkén spice. Enjoy straight away!

For another delicious plant-based recipe, try our high protein summer salad.

About the author:
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Laura Sugden

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