I have always loved spaghetti with meat sauce. It’s one of my favorite comfort foods, especially during winter when it’s cold and you need something warm and comforting. It’s also my favorite dish after a long day skiing in the alps – there is nothing that re-energizes you more, except for a green smoothie maybe. Ground meat, however, is something that even some meat lovers have difficulties eating because you just cannot be sure what you’re getting. That’s why spaghetti with plain tomato sauce is probably just as popular as it is with meat sauce. However, I think that plain tomato sauce can be quite boring that’s why have to spice it up a little so it tastes more special. This lentil bolognese with zucchini noodles has this little special touch. It is also packed with amazing goodness. The lentils give it a nice texture, as well as iron and protein. The red pepper provide a touch of vitamin C, and the basil lets it taste so fresh and delicious. The sauce is especially great over any kind of pasta, but I like to enjoy it over zucchini noodles which give me an extra serving of fresh veggies. The whole dish is also so great on the eyes – look how beautifully the colors compliment each other. Just try this recipe next time you are craving pasta – you will be amazed.
Health benefits in this lentil bolognese
– calcium (important for bone, teeth, muscle and nerve health)
– fiber (important for heart health, lowers cholesterol levels)
– folic acid (important for a healthy heart; prevents certain cancers)
– iron (important for healthy red blood cells that transport oxygen through your body)
– potassium (lowers cholesterol levels and blood pressure)
– protein (important for a healthy metabolism, immune system, production of enzymes)
– vitamin K (important for blood clotting and healthy bones)
– zinc (important for growth, skin, and a healthy immune system)
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 cans diced tomatoe
- 8 tbsp (200ml) tomato paste
- ½ cup (100g) uncooked red lentils
- 3 large handful of spinach, chopped
- 2 cups (about 10) sliced mushrooms
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 1 cup of fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp chili flakes (optional)
- 4 zucchini squash or whole-wheat (glutenfree) pasta
- ½ tsp salt
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the lentils according to the directions on the package. Red lentils should normally cook for no longer than 15-20 minutes or they will lose texture and fall apart.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and minced garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the mushrooms and red pepper and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook for about 5-10 minutes until the liquid released by the mushrooms has evaporated. Now add the spinach and cook for another 5 minutes or until the spinach has welted.
- Now add the basil, the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, oregano, and thyme. Stir everything well to combine. Then add the cooked red lentils, chili flakes and cayenne pepper, and stir to combine.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the sauce simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare the zucchini noodles by running them through a spiralizer. Heat the vegetable broth in a medium or large saucepan, and cook the zucchini noodles for about 3-4 minutes until they have heated up.
- Serve the sauce with the zucchini "zoodles" or with your favorite kind of pasta or rice.