When I get really into a certain meal I will eat it until I can barely stand the sight of it any longer.
My current dish of choice is a really delicious and hearty pasta and lentil plate with enough protein in it to keep those counting macros happy. Perfect for evenings when you’re really hungry, this is a massive serving size – you can easily portion down if you want.
It is essentially a basic meat sauce-type affair but substituting the red meat for lentils. I have never loved pulses – I find the flavour can be bland, and the texture can be powdery. In this meal though, they are really delicious, and certainly add a bit of heft to an otherwise carb-heavy dinner.
This works really well with any kind of pasta (spaghetti, linguine, or macaroni are especially good) but I’ve been using Evexia Chickpea Fusili, which has a lower carb count, and a higher protein and fibre count, than traditional durum wheat pasta.
To be honest, when I cook gravy (or sauce) for pasta, I am never particularly specific with regards to quantities or timing. You can generally tell from when it ‘looks’ ready – or tastes right. So I can work out nutritional information I have given quantities here, but it’s entirely up to you really. If you want to chuck in more veg, go for it. Love garlic – chuck in a bit more. Fancy a richer, more oily sauce? Add a splash more olive oil. And if you want the whole thing to be a bit more decadent, add a good glug of decent red wine.
A little note: I have a long commute and it’s quite late when I get home, so to save time I use those pouched of pre-cooked lentils. I like the Merchant Gourmand Puy ones, but you can use whichever you fancy, or even boil some yourself before following the steps below.
Hearty tomato and lentil gravy
- 1 celery stick
- 1 carrot
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ tbsp good olive oil
- 2/3 a pouch pre-cooked lentils
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 200ml vegetable stock
- 200g Evexia chickpea pasta (or 200g durum wheat pasta of your choice)
- Good sprinkle nutritional yeast to serve (optional)
- If you have a food processor, make a sofrito* by blitzing the onion, carrot and celery together until very finely sliced. If not, you can prepare by hand by mincing the onion and celery with a sharp knife, and grating the carrot.
- Gently saute the garlic and olive oil over a medium heat. Be very careful the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the sofrito and cook until softened – this could be around 10 minutes or more.
- Add the lentils and mix well. Then add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, and vegetable stock.
- Bring to a boil, then immediately bring down to a simmer. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t stick, and keep stirring it. Reduce heat if necessary.
- Generally, the longer you cook it for the better, but you might get away with leaving it for only 20 minutes or so. Once you are happy with the taste start preparing the pasta. Make sure you do not overcook it.
- When your pasta is cooked, drain it, then add it in to the pan with the gravy. Keep the heat going and stir the pasta well to coat it thoroughly.
- Portion into bowls and top with nutritional yeast (if using)
(per serving, using Evexia pasta)
*A sofrito is a sauce used as a base in some cuisines. The combination of equal quantities of carrot, celery and onion is what’s used in Italian cooking.