I’ve mentioned before that I’m growing weary of meat substitutes. Although I love that there are so many available on the market, at times, I worry that making these the center of my diet is taking me away from one of the very reasons I chose to go vegan in the first place: eating healthy. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy these products, and I absolutely think that they serve a valuable purpose, especially as a bridge to help transition from omnivore to vegan. It’s just that from time to time, it’s nice to remind myself of the value of legumes in their natural state as a wonderful, versatile protein source.
Lentils are packed with fiber and protein, and their texture resembles ground meat, making it a perfect addition to pasta sauce. Compared to vegan meats on the market, they are dirt cheap! Lentils are super versatile and are often the center of curried dishes as well. Store brand organic canned lentils usually run about $1 per can, and dried lentils are even less expensive. Plus, even for Italian inspired dishes, you can spice them up however you like. Missing the taste of Italian sausage? Add some fennel seeds. Craving a more traditional Bolognese sauce? Add Italian seasoning. Want your sauce to have a kick? Add red pepper flakes. Feeling adventurous? Add them all.
Most of the items in this recipe are from your stash of pantry staples, so it makes it easy to throw together when you need a meal in a hurry! Here’s how to prepare it:
Vegan Lentil Pasta Sauce
- 1 small onion, diced
- ½ green pepper, diced, if desired
- 1 Dorot garlic cube OR minced garlic clove
- Olive oil for sautéing
- 1 jar of your favorite vegan pasta sauce
- Spices (1 tsp. fennel seeds for a sausage flavor, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, dash red pepper flakes for heat)
- 1 can lentils, drained and rinsed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium sized saucepan or covered skillet, warm 1-2 T olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion, peppers, and garlic, sautéing until onions are translucent.
- Add the lentils and desired spices and sauté until warm.
- Add the pre-made pasta sauce, stir, and cover, simmering over low heat to allow flavors to mingle, about 15-20 minutes.
- Salt and pepper to taste if needed.
- Serve over your favorite cooked pasta.
So there you have it! One super quick, easy meal for your busy weeknights. Enjoy!
If you try this dish, let me know! Post about it and tag me on Instagram @annecreates. As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.