When I had to re-vamp my diet and lifestyle, my recipe arsenal also had to under-go a dramatic makeover. I had to learn about new foods and how to cook them in a healthy way, but, at the same time , not compromise on flavor. It was a challenge for a while, my tastebuds definitely had to adjust to the healthier, unprocessed foods, and I think that is why so many people quit on their diets. They begin to miss and crave the foods that they once loved because they don't know how to make a nutritious and low-calorie meal taste just as good as its decadent counterpart.
A lot of the recipes I use or come up with are just me experimenting and hoping for the best. If you there are healthy foods out there that you love, all you have to do is think of the best way to incorporate the ingredients so that the flavors sing in perfect harmony with one another.
Like I said, mac 'n' cheese use to be my best friend (and my thighs' worst enemy), but so was all pasta. Personally, I think carbs get a pretty bad rap when it comes to dieting, but whole-wheat and whole-grain breads and pastas are very healthy for you, in moderation. The recipe I'm going to share with you today is a recipe makeover for pasta with meat sauce. Lentils are so much healthier and provide a lot of protein, so this meal is not only wholesome, but satisfying.
Spaghetti with Tomato and Spinach, Lentil "Meat" Sauce
- 1/4 c. Dry lentils (I used red)
- 2 oz. Dry Barilla Plus Thin Spaghetti
- 1/2 of 1 Large, red tomato, or 2 small roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 c. Spinach
- 1/2 c. Mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 1/4 c. Onion, chopped
- 1/2 c. Grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 Garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp EVVO
- Splash of white cooking wine
- Salt and pepper to taste
2. Bring a pot of water to a boil for the spaghetti. Break the Spaghetti in half and scatter in pot when water begins to boil. Keep the heat medium-low because the pasta will cook quickly.
3. Add the chopped tomatoes and spinach to a food processor (or blender) and give it a few pulses, until ingredients have pureed.
4. In a medium-sized skillet, on medium heat, add EVVO, garlic, onions, and mushrooms. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Sauté until tender.
5. When lentils are done cooking (They usually take about 15 minutes), add to skillet and stir. Add the tomato and spinach puree to the skillet, as well as the splash of wine. Reduce to low-heat and little the sauce simmer.
6. When spaghetti is al dente, drain and add to the skillet. Toss in the grape tomatoes and stir until pasta is coated in sauce. Simmer for a minute or two. (This would also be a great time to cover the skillet and make a quick tossed salad!)
7. Turn off the heat and plate the pasta, trying to keep many of the lentils on top of the spaghetti. Mangia!
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Nutrition: (Serves one) Calories: 500, Total fat: 7g, Sat. fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 253mg, Total carbs: 77g, Fiber: 10g, Sugars: 10g, Protein: 27g