Lentil and Veggie Spaghetti

I can't tell you how tempted I was to title this whole post "Long Live the Lentil!" or "Lentils for Life!" or some other Lentil-empowerment slogan (I am currently unaware of any lentil empowerment movements but, if there were one, they should use my slogans. They're good).

I love lentils. Lentils are versatile, nutritious, and even tasty. They have a nutrient profile much like a bean and cook faster than their bean cousins, making lentils ideal for quick weeknight meals. I love using lentils in place of meat, hence a lentil spaghetti was born. Then- as I often do-  I simply added whatever veggies were looking good that day and VOILA! You've got yourself a dish. Plus, think of all the ways you could use a lentil... I'm thinking lentil burgers, lentil sloppy joes, lentil soups and salads... my mind is going lentil. (OMG it rhymes with mental. I am realizing this as I type. A.MAZED.)

I absolutely loved this; Kris was not as big a fan, but he didn't hate it either. I sprinkled mine with a combo of feta and goat cheese, which sounds strange...and yet was SO awesome. I ate this for lunch AND dinner the next few days.

All hail the great Lentil!

<3 Rachelle

Lentil- Veggie Spaghetti

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

1 large zucchini, chopped

half an onion, sliced into thin half moons

1/2 cup dry lentils (I used regular brown lentils- use a lentil that holds shape when cooked)

water, as needed

1 hefty tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon dry basil

1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Spaghetti, cooked according to package

Goat and Feta cheese (optional)

Sauté carrot, zucchini and onion in oil over medium-high until onions begin to look translucent. Add crushed tomatoes and cook a few minutes. Add lentils (be sure to pick through them first) and extra water if needed (I used about 1 1/2 cups). Stir in seasonings and simmer with lid on until lentils are very tender (about 35 minutes for me). In the mean time, cook pasta. Serve hot with a generous sprinkle of cheese, if desired.