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 Serves: Four (or two people, two nights)

One package tri-color vegetable shells (can also use fusilli, rotelle, etc. - we like Eden Organic or bionaturae)

1 can pinto beans, cannellini/navy/other white beans, or combo (Westbrae Organic, Eden Organic, etc.)

1 pound firm tofu, diced

6-8 large shiitake mushrooms, sliced

2 green zucchini, sliced

1/2 leek, chopped

1 large carrot, diced very small

6 garlic cloves, minced fine

6 ounces grated mozzarella (Organic Valley, Horizon Organic, etc.)

6 ounce grated parmesan (we use Soya Kaas or Lite-N-Less grated parmesan alternative--both organic)

1/2 large jar favorite pasta sauce (we like Tomaso's or Rising Moon pinenut/parmesan--both organic)

Olive oil

Oregano, black pepper and salt to taste

Cook pasta, drain, rinse and set aside.
In original pasta-boiling pot (6- to 8-quart), heat 1 T. olive oil.
Sauté tofu, mushrooms and garlic till tofu is browned. (I also add garlic powder here.)
Add carrot, leek and zucchini. Sauté till vegetables just begin to soften.
Add pasta back into pot and add sauce (use enough to make mixture moist and creamy); heat through.
Add spices.
Add beans, stir in thoroughly and heat through.
Add cheeses and stir till cheese melts; entire mixture should be well-coated and "cheesy."
Serve and enjoy!

There are countless ways to vary this dish. I have substituted vegetarian Italian sausage instead of the tofu, or used neither and just relied on the cheese and beans for the protein. Using a variety of beans--both red and white--makes the dish rich and colorful. Topping with extra shavings of parmesan, a few slices of red onion, a handful of pine nuts, or a handful of shredded red cabbage also adds flair and flavor.

You can also stretch the dish a second day by adding more beans, cheese, and/or vegetables. Broccoli is also a nice addition.

Note: Because it's healthier for the environment as well as for people, we use only organically produced cheeses (Organic Valley and Horizon are two national brands; check for your own local brands), organically grown produce, and packaged products with organically grown ingredients. See Food Brand Recommendations for brand suggestions.

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