Thick and Hearty Red Lentil Spaghetti Sauce

Lentil Spaghetti Sauce

I am going to go right ahead and admit that this is yet another Josh creation that I can take very little credit for. Broken record and a half. But the lentils were all me. I HAVE IDEAS TOO. ha.

This is just one of those staple recipes that I know I’ll be making for the rest of my life. It is quick, wholesome, versatile and so tasty. If I were to just see the ingredient list out of context, I have a feeling I would wonder if it were particularly flavourful. But wherever the flavour comes from, it’s there, alright.

DSC_1074

Let’s talk lentils for a minute. This is a great way to give these little guys another shot if you’ve tried them in the past and not been a huge fan. They blend in beautifully and rather inconspicuously (to the palate more so than to the eyes) and add such a nutritional punch. My eyes seriously bug out of my head a little bit when I look at their nutrition facts. Protein, iron and fibre like whoa.

DSC_1086

I’ve had this sauce with pasta and on pizza and even just alone as a chili of sorts. As I mention below, feel free to just throw in whatever veggies you have on hand that need using up. Also, you’ll see that I give the tomatoes a quick whirl with the immersion blender. I just find that this makes for a perfectly not-blobby-but-not-too-smooth texture, but you could certainly forego that step if you so desire!

DSC_1089


Quick and Hearty Lentil Spaghetti Sauce

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 32 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1 cup water
  • Optional: 1-2 cups chopped veggies of choice (carrot, bell pepper, zucchini, mushroom and celery all work well!)

Directions: 

  • Pour entire can of diced tomatoes into a small pot and blend a little bit with am immersion blender*.
  • Add all remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer to thicken.
  • Simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until it starts sticking to the pot when stirred, lentils are tender and desired thickness is reached (20-30 minutes).

*If you don’t have an immersion blender, you could give it a few quick pulses in the food processor or not blend it at all! I just prefer a slightly smoother texture.

Lentil Spaghetti Sauce

Hope you love this sauce if you give it a try. Be sure to let me know if you do! 

Have a FAB weekend friends.  

“The World is Your Oyster” Pan-Fried Black Beans and Quinoa

DSC_0300

I seem to have acquired the notion over time that for a recipe to be “worthy of sharing”, it has to be elaborate, pretty, innovate and just generally make you want to sing from mountaintops.

And fried black beans don’t QUITE fit that bill, if you hear what I’m saying. But what I also realized recently is that my kitchen will probably see more batches of these beans during the upcoming school year than anything else (okay, besides oatmeal) for many a reason:

  • They’re done in less than 20 minutes
  • They’re easy on my student budget
  • They’re nutritionally sound (#allthefiber #alltheprotein #alltheiron #holla)
  • They’re crazy customizable
  • They’re just plain tasty

So “worthy of sharing”, I have deemed these beans.

DSC_0315

I remember being sort of floored when I first discovered the extent of the transformation that occurs when black beans get a quick frying. I’ve got nothing against them straight from the can, but heat removes a lot of the earthiness that I think turns many people away from beans and imparts a slightly crispy texture that is a game-changer.

I have the process down pretty down pat: I put on a pot of quinoa and let it do its thing while I chop some garlic and onion and throw them into a pan with the black beans and olive oil. The two finish at just about the same time and BAM. I’ve got three meals on my hands that I can dress up any which way I like.

DSC_0259

A few ideas for serving:

  • Mixed with salsa and avocado
  • With a squeeze of soy sauce or hot sauce or lemon juice
  • Cooked in a spice blend
  • As a taco filling
  • Topped with a drippy egg
  • Mixed with fresh or stir-fried veggies

DSC_0318

DSC_0151

RECIPE
(makes about three portions)

For The Quinoa*

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp Water
For the Beans
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion (red or yellow is fine)
  • 1 19 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/8 tsp salt

1. Combine quinoa and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Let boil for 30 seconds or so and then cover, reducing heat to low for 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat oil on medium in a large frying pan.
4. Add onion and garlic and sauté for a few minutes (they don’t have to be completely done – they’ll keep cooking with the beans).
5. Add beans and stir occasionally until slightly shrivelled and a bit crispy, about 10 minutes. Stir in salt.
6. When quinoa is done cooking, remove from heat and let stand a few minutes before fluffing with a fork.

*The beans are also great atop couscous and rice. Quinoa is just what I usually have on hand!

DSC_0291

If beans aren’t part of your life or have fallen to the wayside, I hope I’ve encouraged you to give them a chance at being on your roster. And go to TOWN discovering how you like them best. The beans want to see your wild side, people.

Hope you have a beautiful Wednesday!

Do you like beans? And if so, what’s your favourite way to eat them? 

An Ode to Overnight Oats + 2 Recipes

DSC_0639

I very distinctly remember the first time I tried overnight oats and the feeling of “HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS?” that came with it. A few reasons that I am so head-over-heels:

a) They take a few minutes to prepare before bed and zero in the morning
b) They travel really well and require nothing but a spoon
c) They’re nourishing to boot
d) They taste really dreamy

DSC_0661

Just in case you’re in the dark about the overnight oats trend like I was, it’s really just oatmeal that you let sit for a few hours or overnight instead of cooking. I always put chia seeds in mine, which soak up the liquid like nobody’s business while also packing a serious punch of omega-3s.

Here are two recipe variations I’m a fan of but I can’t encourage you enough to play around and have fun coming up with combos you love! I must admit that I’m partial to the first recipe because um CHOCOLATE, but the second is a nice change and great for times when you don’t have a ripe banana lying around.

DSC_0646

Vegan Chocolate Cake Batter Oats

  • 1 medium banana
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp sun butter or nut butter of choice
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • big pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (you can add more to thin out if desired)

Mash the banana in a bowl or tupperware. Add all remaining ingredients and stir together until well-combined. Refrigerate until ready to eat (at least a few hours).

DSC_0651

High-Protein Tangy Strawberry Overnight Oats
(17 g protein/serving when made with 1% milk) 

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp strawberry jam (more for topping if desired)
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup milk (you can add more to thin out if desired)

Stir all ingredients together until well-combined and then refrigerate until ready to eat (at least a few hours).


If you happen to be wondering, I put more oats in the second recipe simply because it has no banana and ends up being about the same volume! And lastly, the two recipes have very different textures; the first is light and airy while the second is much denser and more stick-to-your-ribs. All to say that if you’re not a fan of one, definitely consider giving the other a try before you throw out the idea of overnight oats for good!

Have you ever tried overnight oats? How do you prepare yours? 

Not Yo Gramma’s Prune Balls

DSC_0032

So my brothers have a bit of a love affair with prunes. For months I’ve been calling them “grandma Justin” and “grandma Joel” because what person under 100 years old actually really likes prunes?! But then recently, I needed a quick snack and found myself dipping a prune into peanut butter and I … loved it. Whoops. So I guess we’re just one big happy family of grandmas.

IMG_3561

DSC_0044

When I first made these, I just sort of threw things in my food processor and wasn’t sure if they were worthy of sharing. But I seem to reach for one every time I open the fridge and when I had a friend try one she asked for the recipe, which was all the confirmation I needed.

DSC_0040

They are just about as easy as it gets, healthy enough to grab for breakfast and pretty darn good. Especially if you’re part of the grandma club.

RECIPE
Makes about 20 balls

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup prunes
  • 1/2 Peanut Butter (Sunbutter works too!)
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Optional: 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup

1. Put oats into a food processor and grind until quite fine (they don’t have to be a flour, just sandy).
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until everything is broken brown and pebbly, and a little piece sticks between your fingers when pressed.
3. Have a taste and decide whether you think they’re sweet enough as is or need maple syrup.
4. Roll into balls (mine were a bit smaller than golf balls).

HAPPY SNACKING!

DSC_0049
How do you feel about prunes? Please feel free to talk to me in the comments section… I love hearing from you! 

Healthy(er) Nutella Spread (Nut-Free)

DSC_0941

I don’t feel the need to do much talking about this one. But I’ll just give you a few reasons that it’s the chocolate spread of my dreams:

– It takes about a minute and a half to prepare
– I almost always have all the ingredients on hand
– It’s a solid source of omega-3s
– It has that dangerously good ratio of salty and sweet
– Unlike Nutella, vegans and people with nut allergies can eat it up

DSC_0985
I slather it on banana slices, pancakes, crepes, oatmeal, my index finger. No shame.

It’s probably a good time to quickly declare my love of Sunbutter since it’s the base of this recipe. It’s a brand of sunflower seed butter that’s made in a peanut- and tree nut-free facility. As a former nut butter ADDICT, it’s been a godsend since I started dating someone with a nut allergy. And it is 10 on 10 delicious. But peanut or almond butter can be used in this recipe if nuts aren’t an issue for you!

DSC_0957

RECIPE
1/4 cup Sunflower seed butter (can use almond or peanut butter)
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
2 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp sea salt

– Combine all ingredients in a small bowl or glass container
– Microwave in 10 second bursts until combined and smooth (usually 30 seconds for me)
– Alternatively, put into a small pot and stir often over low-medium heat until combined and smooth.
– Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.

Note: It gets a bit thicker as it cools because the coconut oil solidifies at room temperature. It remains spreadable but just pop it into the microwave quickly to thin it out before using if desired.

DSC_0966