Cheesy Vegan Pizza Beans (30 Minutes!)

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Spoon resting in an empty space of a pan of cheesy vegan pizza beans

Friends! We’re SO excited about this one. This dish is inspired by a recipe from the talented Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen. We’ve simplified and veganized her delicious recipe for the ultimate “cheesy” and saucy plant-based entrée!

This zippy and savory meal takes all the things you love about pizza and pasta and pairs them with fiber- and protein-rich beans! And (if you can believe it) it requires just 10 ingredients and 30 minutes. Yep, that’s including the homemade cheese sauce! Let us show you how it’s done!

Cashews, tomatoes, white beans, tapioca starch, olive oil, maple syrup, lemon, nutritional yeast, dried Italian herbs, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes

How to Make Vegan Pizza Beans

With a name like pizza beans, there are a few essential ingredients that we must include. First, garlic and red pepper flakes sauté in olive oil for a slightly spicy and super savory base.

Sautéing garlic and red pepper flakes in a cast iron pan

Next, we add more potent pizza-ness with crushed tomatoes and dried Italian herbs. Maple syrup adds an optional touch of sweetness and balance. Then we add the white beans, toss it all together, and let it simmer to soften the beans and meld the flavors!

Stirring cannellini beans into an Italian-seasoned tomato mixture

While the beans are getting saucy, it’s time to blend up our “cheese” sauce! We blend raw cashews with water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, tapioca starch, and salt. The result is a milky mixture that gets poured over the beans. This is the time to trust the process, friends! The “cheese” firms up by covering with a lid and steaming.

Pouring a creamy vegan sauce over a tomato bean mixture

Then after (optionally) broiling, the “cheese” becomes deliciously browned on top and perfectly creamy underneath. Yep, it’s pretty life changing!

Fresh basil leaves sprinkled on a pan of vegan pizza beans

We hope you LOVE these vegan pizza beans! They’re:

Cheesy
Saucy
Zippy
Savory
Herby
& SO easy!

They make a delicious dinner alongside salads, garlic bread, sautéed greens, or roasted vegetables. After that, the leftovers keep well in the refrigerator or freezer. Who doesn’t love meal-prepped pizza?! Count us in.

Love Beans? Try These Recipes Next:

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Slice of vegan garlic bread in a pan of pizza beans

Cheesy Vegan Pizza Beans (30 Minutes!)

Savory, saucy, and CHEESY white beans that taste like pizza! An easy, comforting, plant-based entrée with just 10 ingredients and 30 minutes required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Cast iron pan of cheesy vegan pizza beans topped with fresh basil
5 from 30 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 (Servings)
Course Entrée or Side
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Italian-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 3-4 Days

Ingredients

CHEESE SAUCE

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 ½ Tbsp nutritional yeast (for cheesiness)
  • 2 Tbsp tapioca starch (for stretchiness // also called tapioca flour)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

BEANS

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp dried Italian herbs*
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans white beans, drained and rinsed (we used cannellini // or ~3 ½ cups cooked homemade beans)

FOR SERVING optional

  • Freshly chopped basil

Instructions

  • CHEESE SAUCE: Add cashews to a heatproof bowl and cover with hot water by at least 1-2 inches. Let them soak while you get started on the beans.
  • BEANS: Heat a large stainless steel or enameled cast iron skillet (or other oven-safe skillet) over medium-low heat. Once hot, add olive oil and garlic and sauté until fragrant — about 1 minute. Add red pepper flakes (optional) and stir to infuse flavor. Turn down heat if cooking too quickly.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, 1/4 cup (60 ml) water, Italian herbs, maple syrup (optional), and salt. Stir to combine, then add the white beans and mix to evenly distribute. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, cover, and let cook for 15-20 minutes until the beans are tender and the sauce is bubbly.
  • CHEESE SAUCE: While the beans simmer, make your cheese sauce. Drain the cashews and add them to a high-speed blender along with 2/3 cup (160 ml) water, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, tapioca starch, and salt. Blend on high until very smooth and milky in texture, about 1 minute. Set aside.
  • Once the beans are tender, reduce the heat to low and carefully pour the cheese sauce over the beans in an even layer. Cover and steam for 2-3 minutes to encourage the cheese to firm up, then transfer to the oven to broil (optional) for another 2-3 minutes, or until the cheese is darkened in spots and dry to the touch. Optionally, garnish with fresh basil.
  • Serve warm with vegan garlic bread, sautéed greens, roasted vegetables, or alongside a salad. Leftovers keep for 3-4 days in the refrigerator or 1 month in the freezer.
  • Reheat leftovers in oven or microwave until warmed through.

Video

Notes

*If you don’t have an Italian herb blend, you can substitute 2 tsp dried basil, 3/4 tsp dried oregano, and 1/4 tsp dried thyme.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 387 Carbohydrates: 47.5 g Protein: 17.5 g Fat: 16.1 g Saturated Fat: 2.3 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.1 g Monounsaturated Fat: 8.9 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 853 mg Potassium: 958 mg Fiber: 12.3 g Sugar: 7.5 g Vitamin A: 307 IU Vitamin C: 12 mg Calcium: 131 mg Iron: 6 mg

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  1. Sofia says

    Looks amazing!
    What can I use instead of the tomatoes?!
    My wife and toddler are a bit sensitive to the acidity of the tomato.

    Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Sofia, we haven’t tried this recipe without tomatoes and it probably won’t be “pizza-y” without them, but you could possibly try some finely diced red bell pepper and/or eggplant sautéed with a bit of water or broth? You want it to be saucy. Let us know if you try any subs!

  2. Val says

    What a delightful dish that feels like you’re being bad when you’re not!I doubled the cheese sauce and added a few tablespoons of vegan cream cheese to it. I also added sautéed baby bellas, yellow onion, spinach and arugula before pouring the cheese sauce. My husband, who humors me with my vegan eating, keeps raving about this dish! What a win! We used semolina bread as spoons and it was delish!

  3. Becca says

    I have made this 4 times in the past month! We all love it but my one year old loves it so much we now endearingly call him “Pizza Bean”. A perfect, comforting, healthy and EASY recipe!

  4. Nicole says

    We added fake meat Italian sausages to this and it made the recipe even better. So good. This will be a regular in our house!!

  5. Kelli says

    Absolutely delicious dinner and so easy to make for a weeknight meal. We ate as is, with some bread to dip in.

    Thank you for the recipe. Followed the exact ingredients and steps and chefs kiss

  6. Robin Halley Roden says

    Cheesy Vegan Pizza Beans
    Absolutely delicious and tastes so much like pizza that your unhealthy pizza craving is gone! This recipe will be repeated often in our kitchen. Thank you!

  7. Jenn says

    This is so good and comes together easily on a weeknight. I love all the flavors of the beans and the cheese and it bakes up so pretty.

    Thank you so much!

  8. Tess says

    Made this for dinner after work. I used potato starch (as I did not have tapioca). It was delicious!!! I appreciate how it came together quickly and is really delicious and filling!! I will definitely make again!! Yummm!!!

  9. marissa hewko says

    This was SO GOOD. I love smitten kitchen, and I love minimalist baker so I had high hopes and this came through!
    I also didn’t have tapioca flour so I subbed corn starch and while it wasnt “stretchy” it was still super delicious. My husband and I finished the entire pot and just kept saying “this is so good.” Definitely cozy and putting this on the fall/winter rotation

  10. Amanda Guerin says

    Wow!! So good!!! And easy. My family
    Loved it. We also tried this vegetarian style with gluten free cheese sauce. Excellent!

  11. Anne E says

    This was surprisingly tasty and quick to make! I didn’t have tapioca starch, so I subbed about the same amount of ground chia seeds, which gave the “cheese” a nice bound consistency and the topping still got bubbly and crispy on top under the boiler. Thanks! Will make again.

  12. Cara says

    This dish has absolutely rocked my world! : ) There is something about cold weather that makes my body crave CHEESE and this totally hit the spot. Also easy and not very time consuming. I am thrilled to have this on my meal rotation!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Cara. We are so glad you enjoyed them! Next time, would you mind leaving a star rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! xo

  13. Barbara says

    This was a terrific easy recipe – I rely on Minimalist Baker for so many great vegan cooking ideas, and I really appreciate how many new recipes appear all the time! This one taught me how to make a cheesy cashew-based almost-crust for a wide range of dishes, especially in the Italian food category. Thank you for all you do.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Barbara. We are so glad you enjoyed them! Next time, would you mind leaving a star rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! xo

  14. Ruth says

    This was a nice simple Sunday night dinner, served with homemade focaccia bread. I used corn starch instead of the tapioca and tomato sauce instead of crushed tomatoes. Next time I’ll add a side salad too. Any thoughts on doubling the ‘cheese’ sauce? I think I might try that next time.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yay! Thanks for the great review and for sharing your modifications, Ruth. More “cheese” is always better in our opinion ;) let us know how it goes!

  15. Sheila says

    Made this for dinner tonight after a week on the road with work. I was craving something healthy, comforting and delicious and this dish checked all the boxes! So easy and SO delicious! This one will be on repeat for sure, thank you for another great recipe!!!

  16. Kate says

    Dang, this was even better than I expected. My cheese sauce kinda mixed into the bean mixture rather than sitting on top like it did in the recipe video, but it still worked out great. Adding this to the meal plan rotation. It was perfect for dinner with MB’s garlic bread recipe, and will be just as good for work lunches!

  17. K says

    Loved this! Used chickpeas instead of cannellini and cornstarch instead of tapioca starch (same amount). So rich and creamy, very good pizza vibes. This’ll be entering my rotation for sure!

  18. Rachel says

    I made this for the first time tonight, following the recipe exactly as written, and actually had enough time to get it ready on a weeknight. Plus my kids really liked it! This will definitely make it in to the rotation. I hadn’t used tapioca starch in a plant-based cheese recipe before and it was DEFINITELY worth going out to buy it.

  19. Elisa says

    I used freshly chopped tomatoes and some tomato puree instead of canned tomatoes and didn’t have tapioca flour so I used cornflour instead. I guess the “cheese” would work out better with tapioca flour but it was absolutely delicious.

    Thank you for the recipe 🙏

  20. Heather says

    This was delicious, and so easy. Pantry staples plus fresh basil. It really did have the flavor of pizza. I made it for myself and my kids, and the kids liked it too. I served it with vegan garlic bread and scooped the bean mixture on top. You could totally add “toppings” to the skillet right before broiling: dollops of pesto, artichoke hearts, broccoli (broiled? yum!), olives, etc. or put them on the table. I added some chopped artichoke hearts to mine and it was quite nice.
    I’m not always a fan of the “cheesy” vegan sauces, nor are my kids. This was just the right amount to add texture and interest but not dominate the recipe. I will totally make this again. It would be a fun hot appetizer for a party with crostini too.

  21. Lauren Rollins says

    Absolutely delicious. I ate mine over some oven broiled rustic toast. This is making it into a regular rotation. Fantastic way to get some plant based protein in a very filling meal.

  22. Maire-Therese says

    Delish!!! This is a fab invention. I could serve this to anyone, already thinking of it as a huge dipping pot in the centre of friends with nachos and bread. Brilliant. Thank you 😁
    One note: used Dove Freee plain white flour as it contains tapioca and I couldn’t find the real thing here in Ireland. Worked perfectly.

  23. Steve says

    It looks like you have modified the cheese recipe a bit and it doesn’t include carrots and now has lemon juice. Is this an evolution of your cheese recipe or was the other the new one? Or, is it modified to fit this recipe better?

  24. Lindsay says

    I would love to make this but I have an unusual allergy to white beans

    Thoughts on whether to go with light red kidney, chickpeas or pinto beans? Looking for the best flavor option!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We think kidney beans would have the closest texture but would taste slightly different. If you can have butter beans, they would be a great option. Chickpeas would have a bit more texture but still taste delicious!

      • Lindsay says

        Made this using pinto beans. Absolutely delicious! The flavor of the sauce has a lot of depth and broiling the dish before serving was the cherry on top.

        Thank you for a flavorful, satisfying meal, Dana!

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          Yum! So glad you enjoyed, Lindsay, thanks so much for the great review and for sharing your modifications!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi L J we haven’t tried this recipe with cornstarch but we think it could work! Let us know if you try it!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Michelle the tapioca starch is what gives the cashew cheese it’s stretchiness. You could try substituting cornstarch but it will give you slightly different results!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Lise, any white bean should work well in this recipe. We haven’t tried it with black beans, pinto beans, or chickpeas and while they would technically work we don’t think their flavor would be as good as white beans. Hope this helps!

  25. Amanda Guerin says

    Hello! This sounds and looks amazing. Question for you. Could I replace the tapioca starch for arrowroot or potato starch?
    Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Amanda, we haven’t tried this recipe with arrowroot or potato starch but we think arrowroot would do fairly well in place on tapioca. Let us know how it goes!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Paula, depending on how much you’ll be freezing, you can broil before freezing (we tested it this way with individual servings). If you freeze the whole batch, you can reheat in the oven and broil when you’re ready to serve!

  26. Kat says

    I’m so excited to try this! The OG version is one of my favorite “I baked you a casserole” casseroles. Now I can bring it to my friends who are plant-based eaters, too! I do wonder, would it freeze well? I haven’t tried freezing recipes with vegan cheese or cheese sauce before.