How Deep (Dish) Is Your Love?

This pasta dish is getting a lot of love from the testers, so I figured it’d be good to switch from the usual baked goods and sugary things for something a bit more nutritious.

Consider using fresh chopped onion of any kind instead of granulated (1/4 cup [40 g], for the filling) and adding one chopped bell pepper of any color, cooking it all in a little bit of oil prior to adding to the filling, until translucent.

Also, if you want to keep the levels of sodium in check, choose reduced-sodium or sodium-free versions of all the store-bought stuff.

But most importantly: know how to love your beans, man.

Better Love Your Beans Bake:

For the topping:
1 can (15 ounces, or 425 g) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup (30 g) nutritional yeast
1 large clove garlic, grated
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1/2 cup (120 g) vegan sour cream
1/2 cup (120 ml) unsweetened nondairy milk
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Ground pepper, to taste

For the filling:
12 ounces (340 g) uncooked whole wheat, elbow-shaped macaroni pasta
1 can (15 ounces, or 425 g) black beans, drained and rinsed, mashed (you can leave them whole if you prefer)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (210 g) store-bought mild to medium salsa verde (use any salsa, if you cannot find salsa verde)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (90 g) store-bought or homemade guacamole
4 cloves garlic, grated
Juice 1 lemon
2 teaspoons hot sauce, such as Tapatio™, to taste
1 tablespoon (7 g) taco seasoning
1 tablespoon (7 g) granulated onion

To make the topping:
Combine all ingredients in a blender, and purée until smooth.

To make the filling:
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5).
Cook pasta following instructions on package, until just cooked: the pasta will keep on cooking as it bakes.
Combine the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well.
Stir pasta into sauce.
Place pasta mixture in a deep 9-inch (23-cm) square baking dish. Pour topping evenly on pasta mixture.
Bake for 20 minutes. Let rest 15 minutes before serving so that the portions don’t fall apart.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings