- 1 large spaghetti squash (or 2 small)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4-6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 can (156ml) tomato paste
- 1 can (28oz/796ml) diced tomatoes
- 4 cups water (or vegetable broth)
- 2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped *optional but recommended
- pepper to taste
- SPAGHETTI SQUASH
- Preheat oven to 375-400 F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Smear or spray the halved squash with olive oil or coconut oil, salt and pepper. Add garlic, onion or your favourite seasoning for extra flavour.
- Place the squash flesh side down and bake for 25-30 minutes. Rotate the squash and bake for another 20 minutes or until the shell feels soft. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Once the squash has cooled enough to work with, take a fork through the fresh and portion out the "noodles" into plates or bowls for serving.
- MARINARA SAUCE
- In a medium pot or saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and saute until browned, around 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, around 1 minute more. Add the tomato paste and cook through.
- Stir in the can of diced tomatoes, water/broth, nutritional yeast, basil and salt. Stir in the red lentils, making sure they are not clumping together. Raise the heat to high, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, red the heat, and allow to simmer for 20 minutes, or until the lentils have cooked through. Add more water if you think the sauce is too thick for your liking.
- Once the lentils are cooked through, stir in the balsamic vinegar and fresh basil. Season with salt, pepper or nutritional yeast (to taste).
- Serve over top of your cooked spaghetti squash.
The sauce is a great medium to use up any other vegetables that you may have on hand. Feel free to add eggplant, zucchini, leafy greens, celery or peppers into the mix.
I’ve been encouraging more of my clients to try at least one plant-based or meat-less meal per week. Red lentils are very approachable as a first step as they don’t require any soaking and can be easily added to familiar ingredients such as marinara sauce.
High in iron, magnesium, protein, fibre and B vitamins – red lentils will not only add texture and flavour, but will also boost the nutritional content of your pasta sauce. This recipe is quick and fairly easy to put together.
I have used spaghetti squash as a base here to keep the carbohydrate and calories lower than if using traditional pasta noodles. However, you’re a pasta-noodle lover, feel free to top your favourite noodle with this sauce – it literally goes with everything.
If you’re short on time, try spiralizing zucchini to make “zoodles” or try a konjac or shirataki noodle instead.Consider baking more than one spaghetti squash at a time to make things more efficient for a future lunch or dinner.Add some greens and garnish with your cheese of choice Alternatively, serve the sauce inside the halved squash to make a boat and allow your guests to scrape the noodles themselves!No matter how you serve it, I promise that you’ll enjoy it and I hope it makes it into your regular meal rotation.