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A white plate with gnocchi pasta in a miso sauce with cannellini beans, golden brown leek rounds and fresh rosemary on top. Fork resting into the pasta.

Miso Pasta Sauce with Cannellini Beans and Leeks

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5 from 5 reviews

  • Author: Emilie Pullar
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 people
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This miso pasta sauce with cannellini beans and leeks is THE most delicious meal EVER. It is the dreamiest combination of textures and the umami flavor of miso paste adds a huge flavor bomb.


30 grams butter (2 tablespoons)

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1 big or two small leeks, cut into 1cm rounds and rinsed

1/2 a yellow or brown onion, finely diced

4 garlic cloves, finely diced

1 x 400 gram can of cannellini beans, plus the liquid in the can

1 1/2 tablespoons white miso paste

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, plus the zest to serve

1/2 tablespoon (heaped) fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped, plus extra to serve

1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Freshly grated parmesan to serve

Pasta of your choice, 200 grams dried or 300 grams fresh


  1. Cook your pasta in a pot of well salted boiling water, reserving a cup of the pasta water. I try and time the cooking of the pasta so that I can transfer the pasta straight from the water into the sauce.
  2. Heat the butter and olive oil over a medium heat in a large skillet that is big enough to fit all the pasta in at the end.
  3. Fry the leek rounds for 4 - 5 minutes, turning once half way until both sides are golden brown. Be gentle when flipping them but it doesn't matter at all if they come apart.
  4. Remove from the pan and then fry the onion gently for 3 - 4 minutes until translucent and softened. Add a drizzle of olive oil if it gets too dry.
  5. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
  6. Add the beans and their liquid into the pan and bring to a very gentle simmer.
  7. Add the miso paste (you can mix it first with a couple of tablespoons of water to make it easier to mix in).
  8. Add the lemon juice and rosemary, black pepper and mix well then let it gently simmer for a couple of minutes.
  9. Taste for seasoning and add a good few cracks of black pepper and salt if needed.
  10. Add your cooked pasta straight into the sauce with 1/4 cup of pasta water and mix.
  11. Add the leek rounds in and gently mix through and let it all very gently bubble away for a minute. Add a splash more pasta water if you need. 
  12. Feel free to finish the sauce with a tablespoon of butter.
  13. Serve with freshly grated parmesan, extra rosemary and lemon zest.


Make sure you check out the step by step photos above the recipe card!

Portion size - this is pretty generous and could probably stretch to 3 people.

Onion - Our onions our much smaller here so if you are in the USA maybe only use 1/4! Up to you!

Cannellini beans - don't drain them! The liquid in the can forms the basis of the sauce. I try and look for a can that says 'no salt' added as the brine they are in sometimes is quite salty. If you can't find that a regular brine is fine just be cautious about adding any additional salt and you might want to use slightly less miso. Just taste and see.

Miso paste - White miso paste is actually brown in colour so a little confusing. It is pretty widely available at supermarkets and often comes in a little square tub. If you are unsure about using so much then just use 1 tablespoon first. If you are using beans in a salty brine you might want to use less. My amount is just to my preference so adjust as you need.

Leeks - If your leeks come apart out of their rounds when mixing in don't even worry! 

Make it vegan - Just use a vegan butter to fry the leeks (or just 2 tbsp of olive oil) and omit the parmesan to serve.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Vegetarian
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian Inspired