Spaghetti with Meat & Lentils

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This is an easy meal that you can make quickly, in large quantities, and it tastes amazing. What’s even better is that this recipe can be easily tailored to vegetarian needs. I included some substitutions at the end of the recipe that I use at home.

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz Dried Whole Wheat Spaghetti
  • 1/4 lb brown lentils, dried
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped small
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped small
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped small
  • 4 oz mushrooms, chopped small
  • 1/2 lb ground beef (try to get at least 90%/10% fat)
  • 1 (15oz) can of Tomato Suce
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/8 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Preparation: (Total Time: 35 minutes)

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil and add lentils. Cook until lentils are tender (about 15 minutes). Remove lentils and reserve water. Set lentils aside.
  2. Add water back to pot. Add additional water if necessary to boil spaghetti. One water comes back to a boil, add spaghetti and cook spaghetti until al dente (about 8-10min). Once cooked, toss with 1/2 tsp of oil and set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a small pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion, garlic, celery, bell pepper and mushroom. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions are soft and caramelized slightly (about 5 minutes).
  4. Step for non-vegetarians: Add ground beef (or turkey breast) to the pot with all the vegetables.  Cook until the meat is no longer pink.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the spaghetti and bring to a simmer. Simmer about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Serve 3/4 cup of sauce over 3/4 cup of pasta.

This dish can be put into the refrigerator or even frozen for later meals. Personally, I freeze the pasta sauce in one bag and make the spaghetti when I plan on eating it.

Health benefits: The combination of meat and lentils does a great job of increasing your protein intake, which makes you feel full faster. The lentils are packed with vitamins and the meat sauce allows you to feel like you aren’t getting rid of your classic spaghetti and meat sauce flavor. Finally, the pasta is whole wheat (I didn’t notice a difference in the taste), which has fewer calories and way more fiber and vitamins.

Easy substitutions:

  • Use ground turkey breast in place of beef (I know people are hesitant about using turkey, but some participants at our Culinary Medicine community sessions tried it and they loved it!)
  • I use Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice & Quinoa Fusilli Pasta to boost my protein and fiber and it tastes delicious!

Serving size: 3/4 cup cooked pasta, 3/4 cup sauce

Servings created: 7

Spagheeti with Meat and Lentins Nutrition

Photo: The beautiful creation by my Culinary Medicine classmates

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