Sometimes it can be a struggle to keep vegetarian dishes interesting if you’re not vegetarian. We never want to feel trapped by our same old go to dishes, so it was time to mix it up! We wanted a “stick to your bones” type of dish that still felt light. How did we do this? With our “Beefed Up” Meatless Pasta! The “beef” comes from the addition of hearty lentils and earthy mushrooms. These are two ingredients that will definitely warm you up on the inside. Nutritious and delicious! Don’t worry if mushrooms aren’t your fav. You can omit them if you must and it will still taste good ;-)

“Beefed Up” Meatless Pasta

1 pkg fresh linguine noodles

1 red bell pepper, quartered

1 pint grape tomatoes

4 cloves garlic

½ large red onion, chopped in med size squares

4-5 cremini mushrooms, sliced

2 carrots, sliced in thinly (so that you have little circles)

8-10 oz baby spinach

1 cup green lentils, cooked until tender but with a little bite

1 tsp cumin

½ tsp garlic powder

1 ½ tsp Italian seasoning

Salt

Pepper

1 Tbls Olive Oil plus more for cooking

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400. In a bowl, combine tomatoes, bell pepper and garlic with salt, pepper and the tablespoon of olive oil. Use your hand to mix the combo until well incorporated. Pour onto a sheet tray and roast for about 20 mins, or until veggies have softened.

While the veggies are roasting, cook your pasta according to package and drain. Also, add a bit of olive oil to a large sauté pan or skillet, and then add carrots. Cook for about a minute and then add onions. Cook for about a minute more before adding the mushrooms and sauté, adding just a little salt and pepper. Set aside.

Once veggies are done roasting, add them to a blender or food processor and blend on low until desired texture is reached (I like my sauce a bit chunky, but smooth is great too!). You can add a bit of olive oil to the sauce during this step if you wish, or skip this step.

Pour the veggie blend into the skillet with the mushrooms and onions and stir. Next, add the lentils, cumin, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and a bit more salt and pepper. Over low heat, simmer this mixture for at least 10 minutes (or longer if you choose), stirring periodically. Taste to see if you would like to add a bit more of the seasonings. During the last minute or so, add the baby spinach. Stir and cover to wilt. Once wilted, either incorporate your noodles into the sauce, or ladle the sauce over a bed of noodles. Serve with garlic bread. Enjoy!

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