Pasta Shells with Chickpea "Meat" Sauce


1 large onion, chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
Dash red pepper flakes
2 (15-oz.) cans tomato sauce
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
16-oz. whole wheat/grain pasta shells
Nutritional yeast, for garnish (optional)
Chopped fresh basil, for garnish (optional)

Heat a large skillet to medium-high; add a splash of water or
low sodium vegetable broth, and saute the chopped onion and
carrot for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute an
additional minute.

While the carrots and onion cook, put the chickpeas in the bowl
of a food processor and pulse to break them down. You don't want
hummus but you also don't want any whole chickpeas remaining.
Set aside.

Stir the herbs and spices into the onion/carrot mixture and
cook for about 30 seconds. Add the chickpeas and saute for about
5 minutes, letting them brown a bit.

Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste, scraping up the yummy
browned bits and stirring well to combine. Turn down the heat to
low and let the sauce bubble for about 30 minutes.

Stir the sauce occasionally, adding broth or water if it
becomes too thick. While it cooks, get the pasta water going and
cook according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/4-1/2
cup of the pasta water, if desired (you can use this to further
thin the sauce, if necessary).

When the sauce is done, taste and adjust the seasonings. Pour
the pasta into the sauce and stir well, making sure to coat each
and every tender shell. Serve with nutritional yeast and fresh
basil.

Makes 6 servings.