Veggie-Powered Pasta Sauce with Lentils: a Delicious Meatless Meal
Spaghetti and meat sauce has been a favorite in my house since my girls were old enough to eat solid food. Over the years, we’ve all embraced more plant-centric meals. This creation of pasta sauce with lentils brings favorite flavors together for a delicious spaghetti dinner without the meat. It’s loaded with health-boosting veggies and, of course, lentils. Though it’s a bit more labor intensive to cut the vegetables and cook the lentils, the result is worth it – for the taste, your health and the health of our planet. Feel free to make this recipe your own by swapping any of the vegetables or simply adding another favorite.Lentils and veggies and pasta, oh my! Delicious plant-based comfort food.Click To Tweet
Veggie-Powered Pasta Sauce with Lentils
- 3/4 cup green lentils
- 3 cups water
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 8 ounces baby bella (or favorite) mushroom, sliced thickly
- 1 large zucchini, sliced into quarters lengthwise and then chopped
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasonings
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can no salt added petite diced tomatoes
- 4 fluid ounces dry red wine
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 (6-ounce) bag baby spinach
- Parmesan cheese, grated, optional (I use about 1 tablespoon per serving)
- Fresh herbs or cherry tomatoes for garnish, optional
- Prepare the lentils in water, according to package directions. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan or skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and zucchini and cook another 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, Italian seasonings, black pepper and garlic. Mix well.
- Add the tomato sauce, tomatoes, red wine and balsamic vinegar. Stir. Increase the heat to bring the contents of the pan to a boil. Add the reserved lentils and spinach. Mix well.
- Reduce the heat to simmer. Cover and simmer 20 to 30 minutes.
- Serve over whole wheat spaghetti or spiralized zucchini. Garnish with Parmesan cheese, fresh tomatoes and/or fresh herbs.
Please share your favorite healthful take on traditional spaghetti and meat sauce.
Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, CHWC, FAND, is a Nutrition, Culinary & Diabetes Expert, Wellcoach®-certified health and wellness coach, Freelance Writer, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's also the author of four books, including a best-seller. She's a nationally-recognized media expert in high demand for print and online interviews, as well as corporate and one-on-one nutritional counseling. Jill's philosophy is that nutrition science should be understandable, realistic and oh so delicious.
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Like most of my patients and clients, I lead a busy life. You probably do too. Fortunately, you don’t need weeks, days or even hours to start living better and healthier. This blog offers timesaving strategies and bite-sized nutrition and health information. Come by often for tips and inspiration to healthy living – no matter how busy you are. I am a registered dietitian nutritionist offering credible, practical nutrition advice to keep busy people healthy. Yes indeed, we can be both busy and healthy.