The reason it’s sexy is because it’s VEGAN (with vegetarian options), it’s YUMMY, and there’s NO TOFU INVOLVED, and, still, it offers a nourishing, satisfying amount of protein, fiber and nutrients. Black beans make a WONDROUS, whole-food alternative to ground meats.

I had the vegan version of the dish, and my kids and Josh-O enjoyed a little organic cheddar cheese grated on top. I don’t do soy cheese because I can’t find a brand that I like (and I’m not a believer in fake anything); so, I can tell you the dish was still delicious sans any cheese. If you’re really LAZY, you could sprinkle parmesan on top. But, this is Mexican we’re talking about here — which means GRATED cheddar. Besides, let’s face it, the big parmesan brands that you buy in the grocery store, are, well, pretty-much fake and laden with salt and chemicals…. Blech.

You can add any vegetable you want to this. But, if you’re dealing with picky children, sometimes a purée is best. Because I’m the Cheatiest cook in the West…, I added a spinach purée to it, which I’ll include in the recipe. Spinach is one of those super-healthy leafy greens that is a MUST in the diet, and it offers good calcium and iron for vegans (especially when combined with the vitamin-C in the tomato sauce).

Okay, so CHECK IT! Oh, and by the way, I’m putting vague amounts here, because they really vary, depending on how many people you’re serving, how much pasta you’re using, etc.. You’ll see….

INGREDIENTS

1/2 jar tomato sauce (any variety)
1/2 jar mild salsa
1 can black beans
1 cup spinach (to be purée in 1/4 cup water) (optional)
1 cup grated soy or organic cheddar cheese (optional)
Cooked pasta (or rice)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Pour all the ingredients over hot cooked pasta (or rice)!
2. Grate your cheese on top (in front of the kids, if possible, because they find it thoroughly entertaining — think making-spaghetti-with-play-dough…).
3. Stir it up!
4. ENJOY!

P.S.: This dish keeps really well in the fridge for a good 3-5 days. Or, freeze for later!