"Where do you get your protein?"
I get that question a lot. It's certainly a valid question and one that I'm sure most plant based eaters have been asked. While I don't get my protein in the "traditional" sense (from meat and animal sources), I make an effort to ensure I am getting the protein my body needs from plant sources.
Which brings me to this recipe.
I recently got a vegetable spiralizer and it has quickly become my new favorite toy. I have been experimenting making noodles out of as many different veggies as I can think of. The only problem with veggie noodles is that it doesn't provide much substance. If I were to just eat spiralized veggies with a light, simple sauce, I would be hungry again in no time. Most of the time, I am looking for a more complete meal.
Enter this incredible red lentil veggie marinara. It is loaded with nourishing veggies and provides a healthy punch of plant protein. Lentils are one of my favorite foods. Not only are they delicious and filling but they are packed with fiber, iron, and folate. One cup of lentils provides a whopping 18 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber! This hearty sauce is the perfect pair for light zucchini noodles and for traditional pasta dishes as well. Traditional pasta (sans meatballs) is usually lacking in protein and fiber so if you are looking for an extra punch of nutrition, this sauce is the answer to your problems.
If you have never tried zoodles (zucchini noodles), I strongly urge you to try! Having a veggie spiralizer makes the job easy, but if you don't have one, a mandolin will work just fine.
Just saying the word "zoodles" should be incentive enough to try this dish ;)
Zucchini Noodles with Red Lentil Veggie Marinara
|Sauce makes 8 servings|
- 2 medium zucchini
- 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium green pepper, diced
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 (8oz) package of white button mushrooms, chopped
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp salt
- black pepper to taste
- 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 can tomato paste
- 1/4 cup white wine (optional)
- 1 cup red lentils
- Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, green pepper, and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft (around 5 minutes). Add the mushroom and cook for another 5-8 minutes.
- Add the oregano, thyme, parsley, salt, and pepper and stir until combined and vegetables are coated.
- Add the canned tomatoes, vegetable broth, tomato paste, white wine if using, and lentils. Stir to combine.
- Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the lentils are tender and the sauce thickens up a bit (about 25 minutes).
- While the sauce is simmering, prepare your zucchini noodles using a spiralizer or mandolin. If you like your noodles to be warm, saute zoodles in a skillet with a bit of olive oil on medium high heat until slightly soft.
*This sauce makes a large portion. I like to freeze my extra sauce for future use, but feel free to half the recipe if you wish.