This started out as a recipe that sounded like it was lacking a few things so I threw in a bunch of other things I found in the fridge/pantry and made it my own :) I think I remembered to write down everything I added!
I cheated and added some freshly-grated Parmesan to the end product making mine non-vegan. If you are actually serving vegan friends or just want to be adventurous (you only live once, right?) you can add some finely ground almonds to this dish. Sounds a bit odd but the almonds actually add a nice creaminess and work as a natural cheese substitute for vegan meals. A coffee grinder makes easy work of grinding up the nuts.
1/4 cup navy beans (I used dried beans that had been soaked/cooked. That measurement is after soaking/cooking the beans)
1/4 cup kidney beans (also dried. Use canned if you like).
1/2-3/4 cup (dry) small pasta shells
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 can tomatoes, drained and diced
1/4 cup mushrooms (any kind you like - button, cremini, or baby bellas work well), chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion (red or white)
1/2 cup chopped spinach
1/8 cup white wine (if you don't use alcohol, you can sub veggie broth for the wine)
1/2 tbsp. fresh thyme (remove the leaves from the stem)
1/2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tbsp. fresh rosemary, stems removed and needles/leaves chopped up a bit
1/4 tsp. dried oregano (or ~1/4 tbsp. fresh, leaves removed from stems)
1/4 tsp. dried basil (or ~1/4 tbsp. fresh, chopped)
Freshly ground black pepper
Additional fresh parsley to garnish
1. If you are using dried beans, remember you'll need to start hours in advance so they have time to soak. You can also quick-soak them by bringing them to a boil in enough water to cover them by 3-4 inches. Once they are boiling, immediately remove them from the heat and let them sit, covered, for 1 hour. Drain, rinse, and cook as usual.
2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and keep warm once it is done. While the pasta is cooking, saute the mushrooms, onion, and garlic in the olive oil until lightly browned.
3. Pour the tomatoes, spinach, wine or broth, black pepper, sea salt, and herbs into a medium-sized pot. Add in the mushroom and onion mixture. Bring this to a boil and then let it simmer until the sauce is thickened.
4. When the sauce is reduced, add the beans and pasta and carefully mix it all together. Let the beans and pasta get heated through then serve immediately. Sprinkle a little fresh parsley over the top as a garnish if desired.
Based on the Pasta e Fagioli recipe from Veganomicon.
I added the mushrooms, onion, spinach, basil, parsley, and rosemary. I also used dried beans instead of canned (and used two kinds instead of just one as suggested in the original recipe). Additionally, I subbed in canned tomatoes for fresh and used fresh thyme in place of the dry.