Red Lentil Pasta Sauce

By • May 15, 2011 • 9 Comments

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Author Notes: As much as we love meat sauce for pasta, we often will do this meatless version - packed with protein and fiber, it's extremely inexpensive and carries a real punch. If you're not into a little spicy, omit the crushed red pepper in this one. We serve it over spaghetti with a side of spinach garlic bread (mom always told me to eat my spinach!). Blend it smooth and use it as a marinara sauce or add chicken or vegetable broth and make a great soup or gazpacho by adding some fresh veggies.inpatskitchen

Makes about 2 quarts

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 28 ounce can of good quality tomatoes, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 to 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 5 or 6 leaves sliced fresh basil
  • Cooked pasta
  • Parmesan or Feta for garnish (optional)
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling over each serving ( optional )
  1. Place the celery, carrot, onion, bell pepper and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture is pretty finely ground ( like a sofrito ).
  2. In a 4 to 5 quart pot heat the olive oil, add the processed mixture with the crushed red pepper, basil, oregano and fennel seed and saute for a few minutes until soft and fragrant.
  3. Add the tomatoes and lentils and stir.
  4. Add the salt and pepper and 3 cups of the water, bring up to the boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. If after the 30 minutes the sauce seems too thick, add another cup of water and continue to simmer another 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. If you like, blend the mixture a little with an immersion blender, just enough to thicken the sauce.
  7. Stir in the parsley and fresh basil just before serving over cooked pasta.

Tags: cheap, savory, spicy

Comments (9) Questions (0)

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Dsc_0048b

11 months ago healthierkitchen

I finally made this tonight and it was delicious! Both my meat ragu loving husband and vegetarian daughter ate it happily. Thanks!

Dscn3274

11 months ago inpatskitchen

So happy everyone enjoyed!!

6-14-4_053

about 1 year ago thirteenJ

Yum! I love using lentils in a tomato pasta sauce!
They also make great Sloppy Joes...er...um...Sloppy Lennies!
I'd rather get my greens via bread rather than salad,too!

Dscn3274

about 1 year ago inpatskitchen

Thanks so much thirteenJ!

Dsc_0048b

about 1 year ago healthierkitchen

Great idea, Pat! but I'm also intrigued by the idea of spinach garlic bread. do tell....

Dscn3274

about 1 year ago inpatskitchen

It's not really a recipe I've ever written down but I smash a lot of garlic in softened butter, spread on a sliced baguette (or something similar), top with steamed spinach, sprinkle with mozzarella and bake in a hot oven for 10 or 15 minutes. Pretty good with the pasta and we get our greens(LOL)! Thanks for asking!

Dsc_0048b

about 1 year ago healthierkitchen

sounds great!

Dscn3274

over 2 years ago inpatskitchen

Thanks so much susan g!! It's only been in the past year or two that I've used red lentils and I too find them visually appealing!

Scan0004

over 2 years ago susan g

This was our dinner tonight -- enjoyed, appreciated, and even a medium serving was pleasantly filling. I like the visual effect of the red lentils -- and the nutritional profile should be impressive. Comfort food!