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Chickpea ‘Meat’ Sauce Over Pasta Shells [Vegan]

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This recipe is the next best thing next to simmered-all-day pasta sauce. You'll have all your family and friends guessing how you managed to juggle your day while making such a fabulous meaty sauce – hey, we won't tell them it was super easy if you don't!

Chickpea "Meat" Sauce Over Pasta Shells [Vegan]


  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • A dash of red pepper flakes
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon red miso paste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 tablespoon pure maple syrup, or to taste
  • 13 ounces gluten-free or whole wheat pasta shells
  • Vegan Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)
  • Chopped fresh basil, for garnish (optional)


  1. Heat a large skillet to medium-high, add a splash of water or vegetable broth, and sauté the chopped onion and carrot for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté an additional minute.
  2. 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.
  3. Stir the herbs and spices into the onion/carrot mixture and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the chickpeas and sauté for about 5 minutes, letting them brown a bit.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes, miso, tomato paste, and maple syrup, 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. If you have one of those mesh screens, this is the time to use it.
  5. 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).
  6. 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 copious amounts of vegan Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

Nutritional Information

Total Calories: 2255 | Total Carbs: 443 g | Total Fat: 22 g | Total Protein: 77 g | Total Sodium: 3327 g | Total Sugar: 67 g





I was into my 30s before I began running and working out, but I was still missing something: diet.  The animal products I was consuming were undoing the benefits of all of that physical activity.  Today my body runs on a plant-based, low-fat, low sugar diet that keeps me healthy and strong. I’m sharing – via An Unrefined Vegan - what I've learned by offering simple, delicious and nutritious recipes that nurture body, soul and conscience.



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72 comments on “Chickpea ‘Meat’ Sauce Over Pasta Shells [Vegan]”

Click to add comment
Vinnie Moore
5 Months Ago

This was so so amazing, love love!!!

David Bausch
2 Years Ago

My favorite, Tofu, miso, the three sisters, garlic onions peppers and brown sugar tomato sauce and goes good with macaroni

Logan Isaman
2 Years Ago

Hilary Layne Johnson Maybe I can trick them with this

Lo Dameron
2 Years Ago

Virginia Harrison Dameron

Karma Bing
2 Years Ago

Cat...this looks yummy!

Sibby Hamilton
2 Years Ago

Jennifer Dickert Hamilton

Jennifer Dickert Hamilton
09 Jan 2016


Jessica Medlock
2 Years Ago

Megan Medlin Tommy Wayne Smith

Megan Medlin
10 Jan 2016


Dave Schwerdt
2 Years Ago

Looks Great !!!

Sarah Southerington
2 Years Ago

Ian South

Casey Delano Thrift
2 Years Ago

Candy Davis Phelps

Candy Davis Phelps
09 Jan 2016


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