Sophia's Lentil Pasta Sauce
*Student Guest Post*
As a nutrition student, I’m constantly reminded about the health benefits of pulses. They are a great source of fibre, protein, iron, zinc, magnesium, folate, and B vitamins.
Pulses have been shown to reduce risk of heart disease and improve digestive health, and the protein and fibre in pulses help with appetite management and weight loss. Yet, I have a secret - I don’t really like the taste of lentils! I really wanted to create a recipe with lentils, where I could hide the taste and texture, but still benefit from the health qualities of lentils. Too good to be true? I put it to the test!
I decided to try incorporating lentils into a basic pasta sauce with vegetables, herbs, and tomatoes. I pureed the sauce to cover up the lentil texture. I was impressed with my lentil sauce creation! It was not only better than any bottled tomato sauce I’ve tasted, but I felt good about the added nutritional value. Not only was this a great way to incorporate lentils for a beginner (and skeptical) lentil-user like me, but incorporating lentils also lowered the amount of saturated fat and overall calories per serving compared to traditional meat sauces.
This pasta sauce is a perfect dish for lentil newbies or those who may not enjoy lentils. If you’re as unsure about lentils as I was, I am confident this recipe will change your mind!
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- ½ onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- ½ red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 small zucchini, chopped
- 2 cups canned lentils OR 2 cups dried split red lentils (cooked as per directions on the back of the package - takes less than 10 minutes to cook!)
- 1 x 796ml can crushed tomatoes
- 1 x 156 ml cans of tomato paste
- ½ cup water
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Your favourite pasta or spaghetti (I used whole grain spaghetti)
- 1 tbsp. parmesan cheese
1) In a saucepan and on medium heat, sauté the onion in oil until soft and tender.
2) Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
3) Add the zucchini, red peppers, and celery. Saute until starting to soften.
4) Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, cooked lentils and water to the vegetables and stir well. Bring to a boil. Once bubbling, reduce heat to simmer.
5) Using an immersion hand mixer or a blender, puree the chunky tomato sauce into a smooth consistency.
6) Serve the sauce over your favourite pasta or spaghetti. Sprinkle with a little bit of parmesan cheese.
Makes ~ 6 servings
Submitted by Sophia Khan, Nutrition Student